What Is A Volunteer Tree?

What Is A Volunteer Tree

Have you ever heard of a volunteer tree? Don’t misjudge it by thinking of a specific type of species. It indicates unwanted trees that grow in different places unexpectedly. In this article, we are going to share “What is a volunteer tree?”.

You will be able to know about some common volunteer trees in the USA. Besides, you will also know how to get rid of those volunteer trees. Overall, this article is going to assist you from several perspectives. Let’s begin with its definition.

Definition Of Volunteer Trees

What Is A Volunteer Tree

A volunteer tree is a tree that has grown on its own without any intentional planting. These trees are also known as self-sown trees. Some people called them wildlings.

It is not a type of tree species. They can sprout up in unexpected places such as fields, gardens, forests, or even in the cracks of pavement.

How does a Volunteer Tree Grow?

What Is A Volunteer Tree

You might be wondering how those trees grow without planting. Well, it grows through the power of nature. Trees are a crucial part of the ecosystem. Their seeds can travel long distances through various means such as wind, water, or animal dispersal. Once a seed finds a suitable spot to grow, it will start its life as a sapling.

Volunteer trees have a great capability to adapt to their surroundings. Since they haven’t been intentionally planted, they must rely on their survival instincts. This can result in unique growth patterns. The tree can adjust to a challenging environment. Volunteer trees are a wonderful example of how nature can work on its own to create something beautiful and useful.

At this stage, you might be interested to know about some of the volunteer trees that are common in your state. Alright, we are going to inform you about the 7 most common volunteer trees found in the USA.

7 Common Volunteer Trees In The USA

What Is A Volunteer Tree

1. Eastern Red Cedar

The Eastern Red Cedar is a fast-growing tree that is native to the eastern United States. It can grow up to 50 feet tall. This tree is often used for windbreaks and erosion control. It’s also known for its fragrant wood. The wood is used to make cedar chests and other products.

 2. Black Cherry

The Black Cherry tree is a common volunteer tree that grows in the eastern United States. It can grow up to 80 feet tall. This tree is often used for its wood. The tree produces small black cherries. Those fruits are not too tasty to eat.

3. Eastern White Pine

The Eastern White Pine is a tall, straight tree that can grow up to 150 feet tall. It’s native to the eastern United States. People use this tree for lumber, paper, and Christmas trees. The tree has a characteristic bluish-green color. Therefore, it is easily identifiable by its long, soft needles.

4. Hackberry

The Hackberry tree is a common volunteer tree that grows throughout the eastern United States. It can grow up to 80 feet tall. It has got hard and durable wood. The tree produces small, orange berries that are a favorite food of birds.

5. Silver Maple

It’s a fast-growing tree that can grow up to 100 feet tall. It’s native to the eastern United States. It has soft wood. The tree produces winged seeds that are dispersed by the wind.

6. Tulip Poplar

This is another fast-growing tree that can grow up to 150 feet tall. It’s native to the eastern United States. This tree produces strong wood. The tree produces large, tulip-shaped flowers that are yellow-green.

7. Osage Orange

The Osage Orange is a thorny, deciduous tree that is native to the southern United States. It can grow up to 50 feet tall. The tree produces large, greenish-yellow fruit that is inedible. This fruit is often used for decoration.

As we know, trees are important for the environment to maintain the ecosystem. Do volunteer trees also play an important role? Let me give you the answer.  

What Are The Advantages Of Volunteer Trees?

What Is A Volunteer Tree

1. Environmental Benefits

At the very first, we have to mention their positive impact on the environment. Trees are crucial to the ecosystem. They play a vital role in producing oxygen, absorbing carbon dioxide, and providing habitat for wildlife. Volunteer trees can help to reduce air pollution. Also, they combat the effects of climate change.

2. Aesthetically Pleasing

Volunteer trees can also be visually appealing. They add natural beauty to urban or rural landscapes. They can grow in unexpected places, such as the side of a building or a crack in the pavement. It creates a beautiful sight.

3. Low-Maintenance

Volunteer trees require very little maintenance or care. Sometimes they do not need any type of maintenance. They don’t require watering, fertilizing, or pruning. They also do not require expensive landscaping or garden design services. Do you want to add trees to their property but do not have the time for the maintenance? A volunteer tree will be suitable for you.

4. Cost-Effective

Since volunteer trees grow on their own, they are a cost-effective way to add greenery to any environment. Planting a tree from a nursery can be expensive. There is always a risk that it may not survive. On the other hand, volunteer trees have already proven their ability to thrive in their particular environment.

5. Provides Shade

Volunteer trees can provide shade. That is particularly useful in urban areas where there is a lot of concrete and other heat-absorbing materials. Shade can help to reduce the urban heat island effect. It can also help to reduce energy costs by providing natural cooling to nearby homes.

6. Erosion Control

Volunteer trees can also help to prevent soil erosion. This is a significant problem in many parts of the world. The roots of trees help to hold soil in place and prevent it from washing away during heavy rains or floods. If the soil is prone to erosion, this can be particularly useful.

Those were some key advantages of volunteer trees. They also have some disadvantages. As they grow without planting seeds, those trees can grow in unexpected places and create inconvenience for the yard owner. Here are some of its disadvantages.

What Are The Disadvantages Of A Volunteer Tree?

What Is A Volunteer Tree

1. Interfering Species

Volunteer trees can sometimes be interfering species. An interfering species is a plant or animal that is not native to a particular area. That can cause harm to the ecosystem. When a volunteer tree grows in an area where it is not naturally found, it can become an interfering species. It crowds out native plants, disrupts the natural balance, and reduces biodiversity.

2. Location

Another disadvantage of volunteer trees is their location. They can grow in inconvenient places, such as on a building, in a gutter, or on a sidewalk. This can cause problems for people who need to use that space. That can also cause damage to the structure or pavement.

3. Structural Issues

Volunteer trees can also cause structural issues to buildings or other structures. If the tree grows too close to the building, it can damage the foundation, pipes, or roof. This can be expensive to repair. It can even sometimes create safety issues if the building becomes unstable.

4. Lack of Control

Volunteer trees grow on their own, without any human intervention or control. This lack of control can be problematic if the tree becomes too large. In these cases, it may be necessary to remove the tree. The tree removal process can be difficult and expensive.

5. Maintenance

While volunteer trees are generally low-maintenance, they still require some level of care. For example, if a volunteer tree grows too close to a building, it may need to be pruned regularly to prevent damage. This maintenance can be time-consuming.

Volunteer trees are a beautiful addition to any landscape. But sometimes they can grow in inconvenient locations and become a hazard to nearby structures. Are you looking for how to get rid of a volunteer tree? We will explore some of the most effective ways to remove a volunteer tree. Permit me to show you those methods.

How To Get Rid Of Volunteer Trees?

What Is A Volunteer Tree

1. Cutting and Digging Out the Tree

To remove a volunteer tree, you have to cut it down and dig out the root system. This method is best for smaller trees. When the tree is growing in an area where it’s safe to use heavy machinery, you should follow this method to remove it. Once the tree has been cut down, the root system can be dug out using a shovel or other digging tool. This method is time-consuming but can be effective in removing the entire tree.

2. Applying Herbicides To The Tree

Another option for removing a volunteer tree is to use chemical treatments. This method involves applying herbicides to the tree. It will eventually kill the tree. This method is best for larger trees. If the tree is growing in such an area where it’s not safe to use heavy machinery, you can apply this method to get rid of it. However, it’s important to note that this method can be harmful to the environment.

3. Smothering the Tree

This method is a bit different from the above one. If you’re not in a rush to remove the tree, you can also try smothering it. This method involves covering the tree with a tarp. That blocks out sunlight and air. Over time, this will cause the tree to die and decompose naturally. This method is best for smaller trees.

4. Professional Removal Services

If you’re not comfortable removing the tree yourself, you can hire a professional removal service to do it for you. A professional service will have the equipment and expertise necessary to safely remove the tree. They will also be able to dispose of the tree and root system properly. That is also important for preventing the spread of interfering species.

Final Thoughts

At this point, you have got an in-depth knowledge of volunteer trees. Also, you are well aware of their advantages and disadvantages. So, the next time you see a tree growing in an unexpected place, you can get rid of it using the tips that we have mentioned. But you should not remove the tree as long as it doesn’t create any inconvenience for you.


Are volunteer trees harmful?

Volunteer trees can be harmful if they grow in areas where they can become a hazard to nearby infrastructure. They can also compete with other plants for nutrients and resources.

How do I identify a volunteer tree?

Volunteer trees can be identified by their location and size. They are often found growing in unexpected areas, such as in the middle of a lawn or a flower bed.

How do I prevent volunteer trees from growing?

You have to remove any seedlings that appear in unwanted areas. You can also plant ground cover or mulch to help suppress new growth.

Can volunteer trees be beneficial?

Yes, volunteer trees can be beneficial in some cases. They can provide shade, improve air quality, and provide a habitat for wildlife.

Can I transplant a volunteer tree?

Yes, it’s possible to transplant a volunteer tree to a more suitable location. However, this should only be done if the tree is small enough to be safely transplanted.

How do I remove a volunteer tree?

Volunteer trees can be removed by cutting them down and digging out the root system. If that does not work properly, you can apply the chemical treatment.

How do I dispose of a volunteer tree?

You can cut it into small pieces and use it as firewood. Also, you can take it to a local composting facility. You should not dispose of the tree in a landfill.

Md Biajid

Meet Mia Biajid, a passionate nature lover. Particularly, he has a deep-rooted connection to the plant. Mia loves to spend time exploring forests and uncovering the secrets held within trees. He always inspires others to appreciate and protect our precious part of the ecosystem.

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