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  #1  
Old 06-27-2010, 06:04 PM
cainxinth cainxinth is offline
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Weeds the size of trees

I was helping a buddy clearing a lot and he told me some of the trees on it were actually massive weeds and were mostly hollow inside unlike regular trees. Others have confirmed that some weeds do grow to the size of trees, but I'm having trouble finding information about them. Can anyone point me in the right direction?
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  #2  
Old 06-27-2010, 06:07 PM
Contrapuntal Contrapuntal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cainxinth View Post
I was helping a buddy clearing a lot and he told me some of the trees on it were actually massive weeds and were mostly hollow inside unlike regular trees. Others have confirmed that some weeds do grow to the size of trees, but I'm having trouble finding information about them. Can anyone point me in the right direction?
Your first problem is that the definition of "weed" is entirely subjective. What kind of plants are you talking about, exactly?
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Old 06-27-2010, 06:07 PM
boytyperanma boytyperanma is offline
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Originally Posted by cainxinth View Post
I was helping a buddy clearing a lot and he told me some of the trees on it were actually massive weeds and were mostly hollow inside unlike regular trees. Others have confirmed that some weeds do grow to the size of trees, but I'm having trouble finding information about them. Can anyone point me in the right direction?
Bamboo. Different species can be found in the US and it is some of the worst plant life to be rid of. Killing in and making it go away forever is not a fun task.
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Old 06-27-2010, 06:14 PM
Contrapuntal Contrapuntal is offline
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Originally Posted by boytyperanma View Post
Bamboo. Different species can be found in the US and it is some of the worst plant life to be rid of. Killing in and making it go away forever is not a fun task.
Of course, bamboo isn't a weed when specifically planted in a garden, or when used as a privacy barrier, etc. I have oak seedlings sprouting in my yard. In that case, trees are the weeds.
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  #5  
Old 06-27-2010, 06:21 PM
Squink Squink is offline
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Originally Posted by Contrapuntal View Post
Your first problem is that the definition of "weed" is entirely subjective.
Nah, in botany 130, they taught me that a weed is "a plant out of place"

Castor beans'll grow to 15-20 feet, and have hollow stems. They're a problem in parts of the country that don't freeze in winter.
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  #6  
Old 06-27-2010, 06:29 PM
Hello Again Hello Again is offline
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People say this about Ailanthus -- that its a huge stem all the way up, not a real tree. But it is actually biologically a tree.
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  #7  
Old 06-27-2010, 06:32 PM
Contrapuntal Contrapuntal is offline
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Originally Posted by Squink View Post
Nah, in botany 130, they taught me that a weed is "a plant out of place"

Castor beans'll grow to 15-20 feet, and have hollow stems. They're a problem in parts of the country that don't freeze in winter.
You're making my point for me. "Out of place" is completely subjective.

I have castor beans planted in my yard. Are they weeds? If not, how exactly do they serve as an answer to the OP? How about the oak seedlings? Are they weeds? They are certainly "out of place." The OP seems to differentiate between weeds and trees, which therefore brings us to a logical contradiction.

Look, the whole point is that some plants are hollow and others aren't. Whether or not they are weeds has nothing to do with it.
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  #8  
Old 06-27-2010, 07:01 PM
Hermitian Hermitian is offline
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There is a particular plant that grows in the Southeast united states. It can grow tall (like 20' and 2' branches) and has large leaves that look a little bit like a yellow squash plant's leaves.

He may consider it a weed because it dies every year and comes back every year.

I do not know the name of it, but I would like to know.
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  #9  
Old 06-27-2010, 07:19 PM
blondebear blondebear is offline
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I hope it wasn't a giant hogweed. As you may know, it is immune to all our herbicidal battering.
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  #10  
Old 06-27-2010, 07:36 PM
dangermom dangermom is offline
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Pokeweed probably counts as what you're talking about.
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  #11  
Old 06-27-2010, 07:52 PM
Crafter_Man Crafter_Man is offline
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I have a lot of honeysuckle growing on my land. It gets so big that I have to use a chainsaw to clear it out.

Honeysuckle is everywhere around here. I hate it.
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  #12  
Old 06-27-2010, 07:53 PM
Blake Blake is offline
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Originally Posted by cainxinth View Post
Others have confirmed that some weeds do grow to the size of trees, but I'm having trouble finding information about them. Can anyone point me in the right direction?
Sure.
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  #13  
Old 06-27-2010, 09:36 PM
newme newme is offline
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Originally Posted by Hermitian View Post
There is a particular plant that grows in the Southeast united states. It can grow tall (like 20' and 2' branches) and has large leaves that look a little bit like a yellow squash plant's leaves.

He may consider it a weed because it dies every year and comes back every year.

I do not know the name of it, but I would like to know.
Maybe it is a Confederate Rose.
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  #14  
Old 06-28-2010, 05:12 AM
Oglomott Oglomott is offline
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Squink is right; any plant growing where it isn't wanted is a weed. So we generally consider it to be any variety of "nuisance" plants, but I guess rose bushes could be considered weeds if they're growing where you don't want them.
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  #15  
Old 06-28-2010, 09:33 AM
cwthree cwthree is offline
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Siberian Elm is sometimes promoted as a darn-near-instant "privacy screen." It grows very quickly and it hard to kill. In the upper Midwest, it can grow into a 70-foot tree.

I had one growing next to my house. When I brought a sample of my (then) mystery bush to a local plant expert, he looked at it and said "That's a Siberian Elm. It's what we call a 'weed Elm'," and described the plant's hardiness and potential for growth (and foundation damage).

So, there's a weed that can reach the size of a tree.
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  #16  
Old 06-28-2010, 09:40 AM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is offline
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fence hedge can turn into trees. I got one along my fence. It shoots out new plants several feet away. I cut one tree about 10 inches in diameter. Another is on the neighbors side.

Birds carry fence hedge seeds in their droppings. It will ruin a fence and take over quick.

I cut it back every darn year.
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  #17  
Old 06-28-2010, 09:44 AM
Triskadecamus Triskadecamus is offline
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A weed is any plant that is growing where a human does not want it to grow. It's not a biological classification.

If a Willow Tree grows in your yard, it's a tree, unless you have a septic tank, in which case it is a weed. If a Poplar tree grows in your yard, it's a tree, unless it gets shaded on one side, grows with a tilt and ends up hanging over your house after seventy years or so, after which, it is a weed. (Gonna cost you a fortune to remove, too, you betcha.)

Tris
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  #18  
Old 06-28-2010, 10:57 AM
yabob yabob is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triskadecamus View Post
A weed is any plant that is growing where a human does not want it to grow. It's not a biological classification.
...
Tris
In keeping with this, some people in CA and other places would suggest that the eucalyptus, in particular the Australian blue gum, is "the world's largest weed". The things have been a subject for debate among CA conservationists for the last century, with both virulent detractors, and people pointing out that they are so well-established by now that trying to eradicate them would cause far more harm than good. One opinion:

http://www.wrm.org.uy/bulletin/54/USA.html
Quote:
Blue gum eucalyptus doesn't just burn, it explodes, sending firebrands and seeds shooting hundreds of feet in all directions. Living next to one of these trees is like living next to a fireworks factory staffed by chain-smokers.
Heh.
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  #19  
Old 06-28-2010, 11:14 AM
Contrapuntal Contrapuntal is offline
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Are any of you even reading the responses in this thread?
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  #20  
Old 06-28-2010, 11:59 AM
Frodo Frodo is offline
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Well, in the pampas we have the Ombú

Rumors that these vast featureless expanses of grass, cows and soy beans only have THE (only one) ombú are slightly exaggerated, I've seen at least 2, I think.

Last edited by Frodo; 06-28-2010 at 12:00 PM..
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  #21  
Old 06-28-2010, 04:02 PM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Japanese knotweed is an invasive herbaceous plant that may grow 8ft tall or more (comparable to the size of saplings) - and has hollow stems.

Alternatively, Elder (Sambucus spp) is a tree in the proper (common) sense, but has stems that may be hollow or filled with soft pith. Actually, there are quite a few plants that might reasonably grow to something called a tree, and might have hollow-ish stems. Forsythia and philadelphus are another couple.

Last edited by Mangetout; 06-28-2010 at 04:02 PM..
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  #22  
Old 06-28-2010, 05:32 PM
Spoke Spoke is offline
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Several of y'all seem to be ignoring the "hollow stem" part of the OP.

Just how tall were these tree-like weeds? Also, where were they, geographically? Jimson weed has a hollow stem and can get to be pretty dang tall. The aforementioned pokeweed also grows pretty tall. It has a stem with a spongy center.

Last edited by Spoke; 06-28-2010 at 05:33 PM..
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  #23  
Old 06-28-2010, 10:34 PM
cainxinth cainxinth is offline
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Originally Posted by spoke- View Post
Several of y'all seem to be ignoring the "hollow stem" part of the OP.

Just how tall were these tree-like weeds? Also, where were they, geographically?
I couldn't say how tall they were, looked like 50 feet at least. Geographically, they were growing in a vacant lot in north Philadelphia.
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  #24  
Old 06-29-2010, 04:34 PM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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50ft?!

I withdraw everything I suggested.
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  #25  
Old 06-29-2010, 04:40 PM
Squink Squink is offline
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Originally Posted by Mangetout View Post
50ft?!

I withdraw everything I suggested.
Yes, that's pretty sizeable for a hollow stem. However:
Quote:
Many prehistoric bamboos exceeded heights of 85 metres (279 ft) [citation needed]. Primarily growing in regions of warmer climates during the Cretaceous period, vast fields existed in what is now Asia.
Perhaps some sort of temporal rift has opened...
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  #26  
Old 06-29-2010, 04:43 PM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Sure, even extant bamboos can get pretty big, but it just doesn't seem all that likely someone would describe them as weeds that look like trees.
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  #27  
Old 06-29-2010, 07:14 PM
elelle elelle is offline
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In common use, "weeds" refer to herbaceous plants, but, as said, any nuisance plant can be considered a weed. The better term for an out of control tree would be "invasive". Here's a site from Penn State that details invasive plants, with plenty of links. Maybe you can find the "tree" you're looking for there. If you can describe the leaves, trunk, and perhaps flowers, I can probably help you narrow down the ID.
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  #28  
Old 06-29-2010, 09:28 PM
Hello Again Hello Again is offline
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If its as big as all that, it's almost definitely an Ailanthus. A true, and disturbingly hardy, tree. I was looking up ways to kill it and found this link:
http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/fact/aial1.htm
which among other things, suggests powerful herbicides mixed with fuel oil, gasoline, or diesel. Yikes.

Last edited by Hello Again; 06-29-2010 at 09:28 PM..
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