Over the years, nurserymen and arborists have found that some trees are not suitable for landscaping and urban uses. These include trees with weak, brittle wood that snaps easily under snow and ice loads, such as box elder (Acer negundo), cottonwood (Populus balsamifera), silver maple (Acer saccharinum), and Siberian elm (Ulmus pumila). These should not be planted close to buildings or where pedestrians are likely to venture. Other trees, such as Lombardy poplar (Populus nigra italica) and paper or white birches (Betula species), are highly vulnerable to pests such as borers. Some trees, such as sycamores (Platanus occidentalis) are messy, littering the yard with peeling bark strips all season as well as leaves and seed balls in the fall. The moral of the story is that if you are interested in a certain tree, remember to question the salesperson about its deficiencies.
People who live in areas where severe thunderstorms are frequent should be aware that certain trees are likely to attract lightning and should be avoided for that reason. According to the American Society of Consulting Arborists, these are: oaks; tulip trees; silver, sugar, and Norway maples; pines; and hickories. Beech, sweetgum, and many others are less likely to be affected.