Asked on Jul 15, 2013

Weed Or Priceless Plant?

I have this thing growing in my flower bed that I've never seen before. It just sort of popped up out of nowhere. I was going to cut it down, but it sort of looks like it might be some kind of bush. Any ideas what it is or is it just a fancy looking weed that I've been watering for the last few months?
The leaves are serrated and about 4-5 inches long
The baby leaves are sort of curled and straighten out when they get larger
Right now it's about five feet tall and growing almost straight up. The "limbs" are fairly strong and woody.
  78 answers
  • Marilyn Highley Marilyn Highley on Jul 15, 2013
    It looks like a mulberry to me.
  • Kelley Aho Phillips Kelley Aho Phillips on Jul 15, 2013
    I was thinking Eupatory lol. *shrug* Or Lambsquarter?
  • Linda Hopper Linda Hopper on Jul 15, 2013
    I agree with Marilyn Highley...looks like a mulberry. If so, a little birdie most likely planted the seed. We have two of these messy trees on our property. I love the shade but NOT the berries! I am glad our trees are not close to the house.
  • Marilyn Highley Marilyn Highley on Jul 15, 2013
    That's funny, Linda. I almost made the same comment about the mulberry being the result of a bird fly-over.
  • Larose LoganOakes Larose LoganOakes on Jul 15, 2013
    It looks like a Mulberry to me. It is very stubborn and it will come back every year if you don't dig up the roots. It is listed as one of the 12 trees that you don't want growing in your yard. As long as it isn't in a bad spot and you don't let it get too big it is ok to have but otherwise it can be a nuisance. I love the berries but when the birds eat them they leave you a nice mess all over your cars. Also you don't want to have to park your cars underneath them. You will be washing your car every day.Good luck!:)
  • Maggie Lais Maggie Lais on Jul 16, 2013
    My neighbors have mulberries, and they have male trees, since the problems we have are with huge amounts of 'catkins' full of pollen. So after the pollen is done causing post nasal drip, then the catkins start falling, and then in teh early winter here 3500 feet in AZ, the leaves start falling. These are very messy trees, and after a few years they will require mucho pruning. Imagine those few branches you have now, as a multibranched tree! And don't forget those shallow and huge roots, snaking towards your foundation? All that being said, I love that mulberry tree! It provides the best shade, which is really hard to come by here, and the birds just love it... Cedar Waxwings, house finches, hummingbirds, American Goldfinches, Doves, Crows and ravens, Warblers, flycatchers.... Blubirds... Ok, you probably got the picture after the first 5 birds mentioned! I guess my final recommendation would be to remove the mulberry, and replace it with a tree more suited to a yard, adn one which wouldn't choke out the grass with the amount of leaves that fall... and you better get right on it if you do take it out, since that speicmen is not going to be very easy to pull out! Good luck!
  • Mikell Paulson Mikell Paulson on Jul 16, 2013
    I thought it looked like Hardy Hibiscus!
  • Sandra T Sandra T on Jul 16, 2013
    looks like a tree from your mollberry. I have oak and ash tree. I find new trees all over my yard. Birds do this.
  • Barbara Thomas Barbara Thomas on Jul 16, 2013
    In defense of the Mulberry I'll tell you about mine. When I moved into a new house a Mulberry was growing in the front yard right on the property line and my neighbor begged me to dig it up. Previous owners and the neighbor had pruned it until it was a tall/wide shaggy bush. They most likely did that once year. I saw it could be shaped into something beautiful and add to the privacy I wanted. So, I shaped it and trimmed it about every 2 weeks to maintain the height and width. Because I worked on it while taking care of my plants, it seldom bloomed and never had those awful berries. At Christmas time I put lots of lights on my prize Mulberry. Neighbors just loved it and I got compliments constantly. So it's all in how you view yours. If you don't like the maintenance of bushes I'd get rid of it now before it grows any bigger. Or, make it something pretty in your yard.
  • Ellen Ellen on Jul 16, 2013
    MULBERRY! get rid of it.
  • Ellen Ellen on Jul 16, 2013
    this Mulberry grows fast and is ugly.. dig it up.
  • LaDonna Olanyk LaDonna Olanyk on Jul 16, 2013
    Looks like mulberry. The berries are actually edible and very tasty! Great for jam.
  • Karen Karen on Jul 16, 2013
    mulberry...I have one...birds love the berries and you can eat them yourself...just be careful not to track the berries in the house on your shoes/feet...
  • Jane Kelly Jane Kelly on Jul 16, 2013
    I had one take over a large beautiful Viburnum & killed it. We kept cutting it out but it just kept coming back. Finally we axed out the very large root last fall. Now I am seeing shoots coming up 3 feet from where we dug the root out - coming up in my Rose of Sharon. Hate the darn things - I'd get it out!
  • Roc200108 Roc200108 on Jul 16, 2013
    If it is a Mulberry Tree.... The berries are delicious! I spent many hours as a child climbing the Mulberry tree in our yard.. Today our grandchildren love the berries from a tree in their yard which was a seed from great-grandma's tree.... The deer love those berries too!!! Have to live in the country to have room to enjoy these without worry about the mess from fallen berries that the deer and the children missed...Happy memories from my childhood for sure!!!!
  • Niambi E Niambi E on Jul 16, 2013
    Mulberry!! grows fast and aggressively. Pull it up!
  • Vicki Ostler Vicki Ostler on Jul 16, 2013
  • Helenwas Helenwas on Jul 16, 2013
    Rose of Sharon bush
  • Maggie Van Etten Maggie Van Etten on Jul 16, 2013
    I agree that it looks like a mulberry. I just so happen to have one that has white berries, came with the house when we bought it. Was I ever surprised to see the mulberries NOT turn purple as they got bigger. They taste the same, used to gather the purple ones from a tree in the woods when I was a kid! Of course I only get to eat what the birds don't get first, LOL!
  • Regina Solomon Regina Solomon on Jul 16, 2013
    weed, we get them from neighbors true root. You can't believe how far they travel
  • Patti Patti on Jul 16, 2013
    Whatever it is, it's not supposed to be if you didn't plant it and you don't want it there, it's a weed!
  • Cindy Rickard Cindy Rickard on Jul 16, 2013
    Reminds me of the Cottonwood that sprouted up in my back yard in Oregon. Thought it was so "cute" but it grew like a...well, a weed. Within a year it was over 20 feet tall and it doubled in size in the next year. Paid a small fortune to have it removed when it got to 60 feet tall. My advice? Definitely find out what your plant is before it grows too much bigger. If it needs to be removed you'll want to do so while it is manageable.
  • Gayle Valverde Gayle Valverde on Jul 16, 2013
    The male tree does NOT produce the dreaded berries & I LOVE MINE!!! Wished I had the skills to post a pic of mine, but when kept properly trimmed, it is a GREAT SHADE tree. I'm pretty sure that the cost of hiring a tree service to shape and trim mine every 3 yrs is more than saved by what I save on my electricity alone, but when you add to that with what I save on my water bills (lawn and flowers) to that, I'm way ahead of the game. My neighbors compete for the shaded street parking, which can easily give 2-3 cars much needed relief from our 100+ temps during our Sacramento summers. If you decide to keep it, it needs a good trimming, with all but one truck or you will just have a bush. :)
  • Dana Huempfner Dana Huempfner on Jul 16, 2013
    mulberry are beautiful animal attracting trees, BUT keep away from people areas
  • Carol Gould Carol Gould on Jul 16, 2013
    could it be rose of Sharon bush!!!!!!??????
  • Margie R Margie R on Jul 16, 2013
  • Judy Judy on Jul 16, 2013
    I thought it was a Hibiscus too, but I don't know about mulberry trees. Rose of Sharon also came to mind. I think the best way to find out is to contact your State or County Extension office for confirmation. Sounds like you'd better do it fast before it establishes roots everywhere. If you find out what it is, please post. Good Luck.
  • Lela Lela on Jul 16, 2013
    I agree with Mulberry - they're Messy, but the berries are good. It's up to you to decide, but if you want to get rid of it do it sooner than later.....
  • Betty M Betty M on Jul 16, 2013
    I believe it may be a Hackberry. It has the serrrated leaves and asymetricall off petioles. (see attachment). It also is planted by birds. If it is a Hackberry you need to cut down and put root kill on it. The main root is buried deep and cannot be cut cause it will send new shoots and continue growing.
  • Lynn McMahan Lynn McMahan on Jul 16, 2013
    mullberry an the berries stain an birds love them
  • Sally Sally on Jul 16, 2013
    I have a mulberry tree and would love to have more. It is in the backyard. It did grow fast and provides shade. I love it. The berries are delicious.
  • Lee Vrba Murgach Lee Vrba Murgach on Jul 16, 2013
    Does it have any buds on it? My rose of Sharon has the same sort of leaves...
  • Denise Smith Denise Smith on Jul 16, 2013
    Do you want a tree growing in that spot? If you don't want a mulberry bush or tree you will need to take it out or move it before taproot gets established.
  • She200134 She200134 on Jul 16, 2013
    It is a mulberrey makes a great shade tree, has edible berries, but grows fierce and quick...I'd definitely keep it but would also keep it trimmed every few years.
  • Cathy B Cathy B on Jul 16, 2013
    It's mulberry...dig it up unless u want it!!
  • Mickey Pesola Mickey Pesola on Jul 16, 2013
    If you have an ipad look for the leaf finder app and it will tell you for sure.
  • Andrea P Andrea P on Jul 16, 2013
    Mulberry trees are a mess, especially if you have lots of birds around. They eat the berries and then it comes out the other end and it stains where it lands. I think it looks like an alder tree.
  • Judy Feenstra Judy Feenstra on Jul 16, 2013
    take a clipping to a nursery for them to identify;if it's a trash tree of some type get it out before it can do damage... roots of certain plants & trees can do plenty of damage
  • Mulberry. I like having them in my yard. Here is some good info on them (like why they were brought here... has to do with silk):
  • Volunteer plants can be a fascinating way to learn to identify new plants. You will find horticultural varieties, wild native plants and invasive weeds will arrive in your yard. Some are wonderful free gifts from nature. This year we have found cherry trees, raspberry, currant, two mint varieties, mulberry, grapes, and mustard... none we planted. Most delivered by the birds and most welcome additions to the garden. To allow this process you do need to allow a corner of your yard to get a bit wild, which can still look good. We also found invasive buckthorn which we are working to eradicate.
  • Lynda Reeve Lynda Reeve on Jul 16, 2013
    dig it up and plant it in the far back corner of your yard then you will see what it is and still be able to plant something else where it is now
  • Teresa Watkins Teresa Watkins on Jul 16, 2013
    Before I saw all the other comments, I thought it was a Rose of Sharon. It's probably not blooming because it's in the shade. I would move it and let it be what it wants to be. It's not a weed.
  • Mrs P Mrs P on Jul 16, 2013
    mulberry tree dig it up and put it else where.
  • Kathryn Bontia Gorman Kathryn Bontia Gorman on Jul 16, 2013
    That looks a lot like Rose of Sharon either bush or neighbor has them all alongside our yard that meets up with his and the seeds that the flowers produce have dropped onto my property and has sprouted and gown and looked exactly like this....beautiful flowers should keep it!
  • Pam Perkins Zirbel Pam Perkins Zirbel on Jul 16, 2013
    A Rose of Sharon ...and I believe a bird pooped it out for you! My ROS's spread like wild fire and I replanted a lot along my fence! FREE TREE/BUSHES!!!! Enjoy..wonder what color it is!!
  • Irene Irene on Jul 16, 2013
    If it is a Mulberry tree and if you have an acre of land or so dig it up and plant it as far back on your property as you can. If you want to keep it. It is a HUGE tree and very MESSY. Other wise dig it up and put it in the trash. I have had the experience of having this tree. I wouldn't let any stray plant stay in my yard without first finding out what it is. The problem with strays is that they will reproduce in your yard and you will end up with a forest. I have experienced this problem too. What a mess and such hard work to get rid of when you have discovered that the roots take over and grow under concrete and make a mess in general. It took us an entire summer to dig up all the roots. Every single root was sending up a new tree. Never again will I plant something without researching it. Which I do for anything that I think I want then I can make an informed decision and also know the name of what the plant-tree is.
  • Sue C Sue C on Jul 16, 2013
    It's a Mulberry Get it away from your house even 90 ft is too close you will have bird poop all over your cars and windows
  • Diana Kiley Diana Kiley on Jul 16, 2013
    I agree with all the mulberry postings. It could be a sterile mulberry but still will be a major endangerment to the house foundation if any where within 20' of the house!!!!
  • Audrey Crist Audrey Crist on Jul 16, 2013
    Looks like a Rose of Sharron bush to me, those seeds can travel quite a ways before landing and taking sprout.
  • Wendy Plyman Wendy Plyman on Jul 16, 2013
    it also looks like a rose of Sharon to me , it should flower in a couple weeks , give it 1 season , and if you don't like it take it and move it somewhere else , good luckgood luck
  • Sarah M Sarah M on Jul 16, 2013
    I live in South Jersey, its a weed...not sure what it is but they grow all over the place here.
  • Ora Benor Ora Benor on Jul 16, 2013
  • Janet Jones Janet Jones on Jul 16, 2013
    It is a weedy Siberian elm. It will spread all over your yard.
  • Nancy L Nancy L on Jul 16, 2013
    Mulberry. It can be messy, but the berries are edible, and beloved by wildlife.
  • Marla Southwell Marla Southwell on Jul 16, 2013
    mulberry but not messy if it's the male, only the female bear fruit, fast growing deciduous shade tree
  • Denice Grubb Denice Grubb on Jul 16, 2013
    I have one too really tall my landscape guy said its a very bad invasive weed
  • Chris J Chris J on Jul 16, 2013
    It looks like a mulberry tree. It's a nuisance. The birds eat the berries and poop purple all over everything. Put it way away from your house if you don't want purple stains all over everything.
  • Nancy Hatcher Nancy Hatcher on Jul 17, 2013
    If it's a mulberry the berries are mildly sweet. I used to pick them as a child. Some actually made it home for Mom to make pies, put in a fruit salad and she even made jam. I have some of the trees, courtesy birds, but I live on 10 acres in the country and plenty of room for them to grow. The only thing I'm not sure of your picture is the growth habit - usually a single trunk, not many branches like yours. I would suggest you look at the bushes described by others here. If it is a Rose of Sharon you really need it out of your garden as it is pretty invasive.
  • Mary Mary on Jul 17, 2013
    Mulberry. Hope its a male and doesn't have berries, because if its a female the birds will spread it all over your neighbor hood and your neighbors will hate you. Like I really hate mine!
  • Eric G Eric G on Jul 17, 2013
    Why are y'all dissing the lowly mulberry tree? On several occasions I witnessed a cedar waxwing flock devour all of the berries in minutes--worth the price of some purple stains many times over!
  • Sandra Lankford Sandra Lankford on Jul 17, 2013
    It doesn't look familiar, but I agree with everyone who said dig it up and move it. It might be better to put it in a flower pot and see what it does b4 it takes over a place in your yard.
  • Michelle Eliker Michelle Eliker on Jul 17, 2013
    It's a mulberry. They are great wildlife plants but they get big and are messy.
  • Shelly M Shelly M on Jul 17, 2013
    Looks like a Rose of Sharon to me, too. I have several in my yard, too. I have one that looks identical to this one, and it, too, isn't blooming as it is very young.
  • Barbara Nowak Barbara Nowak on Jul 17, 2013
    rose of sharon
  • Sharon Fisher Sharon Fisher on Jul 17, 2013
    I hope it turns out to be something beautiful
  • Patti Patti on Jul 17, 2013
    I had the same thing "pop up" in my flowerbed this spring (actually it was probably last fall but unnoticed) and I took it to my local nursery and asked them the same question! I thought, at first, like Kathryn and Audrey, that it looked like my son's Rose of Sharon! But, they told me the same thing Pam said! A bird likely dropped it in my flowerbed last fall!! I got rid of it, because I don't want the wine colored juice getting tracked into the house on my carpets, abd I don't want the same colored bird droppings all over my patio and driveway!
  • Robin Miller Cresci Robin Miller Cresci on Jul 17, 2013
    I disagree with Rose of Sharon. I may agree with Mulberry, but, my first instinct was an apple or cherry. I would take your pictures, and a leaf to your local nursery and ask.
  • Doreen Nestell Doreen Nestell on Jul 17, 2013
    A gift from God how pretty can't wait to hear what it turns out to be!!!
  • Deanna Riles-Cox Deanna Riles-Cox on Jul 18, 2013
    It's a mulberry.
  • I can share why it is really a mulberry and explain how some of the other guesses missed the mark. The leaves shown are a variety of both lobed and unlobed leaves. This mix is fairly unique and a hallmark of the mulberry. The lobes are also irregular vs. symmetrical or opposite. The mulberry leaves with a single sinus between the lobes look like a mitten. Hibiscus may look almost lobed at times, but they lack true sinuses (the dips between lobes) and the leaf is more stair-stepped along the margins, than lobed and the minor indentations are symmetrical. Most of the other guesses are trees with only single, unlobed leaves.
  • I had credentials in forestry, ecology, soil science, and conservation education from Colorado State, and worked in those fields before becoming a science teacher and then a carpenter... so I have to weigh in on these things now and again. Happy Gardening
  • Shelly M Shelly M on Jul 19, 2013
    Thanks so much, Brian, for explaining that. I think I will have to go out and recheck the leaves on the plant I believed to be a young Rose of Sharon that didn't bloom this year. I have a Rose of Sharon just about 6 feet from it, so I thought for sure that is what it is, but I am not second-guessing. I love Mulberries, so I won't be disappointed, but I will definitely transplant it far away from the house. Hopefully, it would survive the move!
  • Larisa Phillips Larisa Phillips on Jul 19, 2013
    Yes Mulberry. I have 2 in my yard. They grow fast and the the fruit makes great pies, jelly and wine. Great for snacking right off the tree also (if you don't spray). The berries are similar in appearance and taste to a blackberry and easier to pick. Birds love them. Mine had just a very few berries in their 3rd year but by year 5 they had huge crops (provided they get enough water). The trees will get fairly large though so be sure it has plenty of room and they shouldn't be by a walkway or where you park because of falling berries.
    • See 1 previous
    • Larisa Phillips Larisa Phillips on Jun 23, 2014
      @Regina Regina: You should have berries in the next couple of years. Mine had just a handful or two the first couple of years but then had tons. I only pruned the lower limbs on mine so I could cut grass beneath the trees. As long as your pruning doesn't prevent/remove the blooms, they should still make some fruit. They fruit in late May/early June here. Wear an old shirt when you pick the fruit though, because the falling berries will stain clothing.
  • House Of Hawthornes House Of Hawthornes on Jul 20, 2013
    Thank you everyone for your help! It's officially a Mulberry according to the garden center I took a leaf to. I am going to dig it out (if I can dig it out in one piece, I will do a curb alert on Craigslist to see if anyone around here wants to pick it up since I hate to waste a tree). It is about two feet from my foundation and about twenty feet from the septic system, so definitely not a good spot for a tree that will get that big :( Thanks again for all your help!
    • Linda T Linda T on Jun 21, 2014
      @House Of Hawthornes If you have one tree, the birds probably dropped the seed. Therefore, there may be a tree in the neighbourhood, and you will receive quite a few more 'gifts'. They are quite good to eat BTW!
  • Brenda De Lair Brenda De Lair on Aug 13, 2013
    It is a mulberry. Yes they get big and it takes a few years before they produce fruit. They can get messy so plant it in a spot that is not on a walkway. That way you won't be tracking it in the house. The birds love them and often gift them to gardeners. They can be very difficult to get rid of because the roots go deep. They can be a pain or a blessing depending on the type of garden you want.
  • Regina Regina on Jun 24, 2014