I feel a little bad complaining about any tree here in Lubbock, Texas.

They provide beauty, shade, and homes for beautiful birds and other wildlife. Being a semi-arid climate, most trees we see here are the result of humans planting and caring for them.

However, some choices in trees are better than others. Some of the trees planted here are invasive, water unwise, or worst of all... really, really smelly. Like, rotten fish stinky.

There are two stinky tree culprits, and we will talk about what they are, and if there's any hope for them to lose that horrible stank.



Dogwoods are beautiful, blooming trees that have flowers that hold a spiritual significance for some, as the four petals of the flowers make a cross shape, with four dots reminiscent of nail holes. For this reason, Dogwoods are seen as an "Easter" tree.

Too bad they reek. And poor Dogwoods- it's not even their fault! Dogwoods stink because they are temperamental and sensitive to soil conditions. If they are perfectly cared for, they don't smell quite as bad.

Dogwood trees don’t grow well in arid or semi-arid areas, nor do they enjoy soggy or drenched soil. Instead, Dogwood trees require proper drainage. The available nutrients, sun, shade, and temperature can also affect smell.

Remember earlier when we said Lubbock is a semi-arid climate? Whoops. When properly cared for, Dogwoods are still "musty" as that smell attracts their pollinators: beetles and flies.

READ MORE: Will Lubbock Have Another Freeze This Winter? 

To reduce the smell, make sure your Dogwood is properly watered, but not left to sit in water. It's a delicate balance and of course, you can't do that for a stinky tree down the street. At least the stink window isn't too long:

The annual flowering (during which Dogwood trees are fragrant) lasts about two weeks, occurring sometime in early spring to mid-summer. Although two weeks is not a long time, Dogwood trees enjoy an average lifespan of 80 years.

Imagine 80 years of smelling like a dead aquatic animal. Poor Dogwoods.


Bradford Pear

If you are friends with an area horticulturalist or Master Gardener, a good way to make them hiss in disgust is to casually mention that you planted a Bradford Pear. Watch them recoil and reconsider your friendship.

Bradford Pears are an invasive species and are often confused with Dogwoods because they also have clumps of white blooms, although a Bradford Pear has blossoms with five petals.

READ MORE: Spring Is Comming- Here's A Look At Common Lubbock Allergens

Bradford Pear trees seem like a great idea. They are disease-resistant, grow fast, and love harsh conditions. Too bad they smell particularly rotten and are a bad idea for other reasons.

Bradford Pears, at best, have a lifespan of only 20 years and they produce 3-inch thorns. They also create hybrids with other pear varieties and create thorny, invasive little monster plants. Can you see why a plant expert would hate it?

So what's the best solution?

I think it's safe to say that other tree varieties are a better idea when you make landscaping decisions for your home or business. Click here for a Lubbock Master Gardners list of ideal trees for Lubbock.

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