Avoid Planting These 4 Smelly Trees

white flowering pear trees beside a dirt road

One of the first things we recommend to everybody moving into a new home is planting trees as soon as possible. Trees on your property automatically increase your home value and up your curb appeal in a major way. Most trees take a long time to grow big and beautiful, so it helps to start planting your trees as soon as you possibly can. If we're making a list of outside projects to prioritize, trees make the top of the list.

When it comes to picking trees to plant in your yard there are a lot of things to consider. First, are you looking for trees to provide shade and a certain aesthetic? Or do you want trees that provide fruit or flowers? Narrowing this down will help you pick the right kind of tree for your house.

You also want to consider the area in which you live, because different trees grow well in different regions. You're not going to be able to plant a magnolia tree in Washington, and your blue spruce likely isn't going to do very well in Arizona.

A quick Google search or chat with a local nursery will help you determine which trees grow best in your area of the country and which trees will have the most success at thriving in your yard.

One thing people don't often remember to think about before they plant trees though is the smell. We don't typically associate trees with being very smelly plants, but there are a handful of trees that smell really bad when they're in bloom. Like really bad.

And even though these trees may be beautiful, this might be more than you can handle and you may end up regretting one of these stinky trees in the future.

So we rounded up a list of trees that stink just a little too much for us to ever plant on our own property.

1. Bradford Pear

white flowering bradford pear trees on a road

Bradford pear trees are a popular pick because they are certainly pretty, but when they bloom, they emit a foul odor that’s anything but pleasant. This tree is a popular choice for landscaping, especially in public areas, and even though the smell fades when the blossoms do—it's a stench that leaves an impression.

If you want one of these beautiful trees on your property, keep it far away from your house and your neighbors, and don't plant more than one.

Very similar to the Bradford Pear, the Callery Pear is an equally popular and stinky tree.

2. Chinese Chesnut

chestnut tree with spiky shells around nuts

If you're looking for a beautiful tree that also produces edible nuts, the Chinese Chestnut may be on your list. This tree, like the Bradford Pear, produces a strong odor when the flowers bloom.

Lucky for you, only the male flowers stink, so if you have your heart set on a Chinese chestnut tree, make sure you purchase a female tree to avoid the lingering odor that comes when the flowers bloom.

3. Tree of Heaven

tree of heaven with dense rows of long, thin leaves

Don't be fooled by the name or the beautiful foliage, because the Tree of Heaven emits a stench that's anything but holy. The yellow and green flowers on both the male and female versions of this tree are very smelly.

In fact, this tree is often called the stink tree. The male version of the stink tree produces many times the flowers that the female version does, so if you really love the look of this tree, you can plant a female for a slightly less-smelly option.

4. English Boxwood

English boxwood bushes

With beautiful white flowers, the English Boxwood is a really lovely tree with a less than lovely odor. Not as strong of a stink as some of the other trees on this list, you can definitely plan an English boxwood in your yard far away from your front door. Sometimes described as a ‘cat pee odor’ tree, the English Boxwood has a very distinct stink. On the other hand, its thick branches make it a great choice for pruning topiaries.

As you carefully select the trees for your yard, check with a local nursery about other trees common in your area that may come with an unexpected odor. You may be surprised which popular trees fill your yard with an uncomfortable aroma.