Tree Bark Lawn and Brazilian Pepper Tree

I just came in after enjoying a nice Spring evening on my patio. I noticed that small leaflets of a tree shoot from my former Brazilian pepper tree (Schinus terebinthifolius) have broken through my tree bark lawn. Tomorrow morning, I’ll dig it up, and use a rake to smooth out the tree bark to look as good as new. This is a big benefit to me for choosing tree bark instead of grass or sod. Maintenance is truly low.

BACKGROUND: In addition to my gopher problem (which has been quiet this past month, thankfully), I’m challenged by the fact that I have a telephone pole and corresponding wires directly above my garden. Bird droppings “planted” the Brazilian pepper tree in my yard before I purchased my house. It was so large and invasive and hard to manage. One of its very unfortunate characteristics is that as the tree matures, it sends up new tree shoots which, if not immediately removed in their entirety, will form into new trees. I’ve also found that once the tree is removed, if any trace of tree root is left in the soil, these new shoots will spring up just like weeds. I know that the guys who removed the tree years ago did not remove all of the roots. So, this will be an ongoing problem that I’ll have to manage, without destroying and constantly replenishing a traditional grass lawn.

CONSUMER ALERT UPDATE: Reports are that the Brazilian pepper tree is poisonous if ingested, and dermatitis may occur when handling this tree. More information on toxic plants can be found here:


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