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Houston, Texas...Need help identifying this tree!!! [Archive] - Arbor Day Forum

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triplethreat
03-03-2006, 04:14 PM
Greetings! I hope that someone can help me here!!!

We live in Houston, Texas. My wife's father has this VERY large tree in his backyard that he has no idea where it's from or what it is. It's about 15 feet high now, and in the summer, is VERY thick with foliage. He finds new ones all over his yard from time to time, and we put 2 of them in a large pot, and then replanted them in our yard when they got big enough.

Problem is...I have NO idea what kind of tree this is!!! I just know that I see them around town, and they are very pretty.

saccharum
03-03-2006, 09:29 PM
I'm about 90% sure that it's a chinaberry, Melia azedarach. Very common and unfortunately invasive in many areas.

triplethreat
03-03-2006, 10:31 PM
I think you are right...

I'm now worried about how poisonous it appears to be to pets. I'm wondering if I should pull them out. I don't know if they are poisonous to humans, but the berries are toxic to dogs and cats, according to the ASPCA's website.

I really like this tree, and the shade that it provides, but it is quite invasive. We are in our 3rd year for them, and my Father in law told me today that in the 3rd year, his grew 10 feet. He is constantly pulling new seedlings from the yard.

In the summer, you can sit under it, and be COMPLETELY in shade...this tree gets VERY thick in the summertime.

Some tough decisions have to be made now...Thanks for the info! I'm glad I found this site and posted this today. I really appreciate your response!

saccharum
03-04-2006, 06:25 AM
I'm glad to see that you seem to be giving this tree serious thought... I have strong opinions about invasive plants, although I try not to be too confrontational about it in forums these days (the ensuing arguments take up a lot of time).

The tree is indeed toxic to humans as well as other animals... eating as few as six berries can be lethal. Something to keep in mind if you have pets or children.

triplethreat
03-04-2006, 10:13 AM
I'll share with you what your information has done for us...

My wife and I spent several hours last night researching chinaberry trees, and I am going to make 100% certain that is what they are...but once I am certain...we are going to pull them up out of our yard. It's a tough decision...mainly because we have been in love with these trees for many years now. We took these saplings, and nurtured them in large pots, then planted them in our yard when we built our new home. They were going to be the trees that we hung hammocks from...built swingsets around...etc...the focal point of our backyard if you will. These trees can get to well over 12 ft in less than 3 years, so we weren't going to have to wait to put this together.

While we are both quite disturbed by the decision that we are facing...we can not / will not take the risk of our children eating the berries off of a mature chinaberry tree. I think the real emotion we are feeling is a little bit of embarrassment that we did not research this sooner. My wife has long been researching, and keeping a list of poisonous plants, and we have successfully avoided planting them in our yard and around our children. Now we find out this information, and feel quite sheepish.

I don't want to get all emotional, blow this all out of proportion, and make it something that it isn't...but your information could have indirectly saved lives...either a pet, or a child, and I can't thank you enough for sharing your knowledge, and your quick response.

I'll post here again once we have completed our research and made final decisions...I'll even post pics of what we wind up replacing these trees with!!!

Have a great weekend!

saccharum
03-04-2006, 01:51 PM
Wow... that made my day! :)

I wish everybody put the same level of thought into their tree choices. Good luck and keep us posted!

Newt
04-14-2006, 07:39 PM
Hi Triplethreat,

Wow, again! You made my day too! It's heartwarming to know that others care about the environment, their children and pets as much as I've read here! Hooray! I hope you find wonderful trees that embrace you and your family in your hammock!

Newt