Valley Permaculture Alliance

Just wanted to share my experience with the horrific demon of a tree that I know as the Indian Rosewood or Sissoo...

Several years ago, a landscaping company did our backyard and planted a large sissoo next to a concrete patio that they designed and put in.


Loved the tree, fast grower, looked good.


I absolutely hate this tree now. Suckering 20-30 feet away, raised the concrete patio, just won't die.


Please oh please do not plant this tree.


Any suggestions to get rid of it?

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I wish you the best with your trees. Maybe, contact the guy listed in the last paragraph in the following link. Perhaps, someone at one of our universities could be of help?


there is no such thing as a "demon of a tree" in my book period.  That's insane.  I have a sissoo and I love it.  What I can't stand is people who want everything perfect in life.  They want a tree, but it must have only good qualities and no negatives about them at all.  Hello?   move into an apartment and buy a plastic ficus tree.  That one is guaranteed to not destroy your patio.

Personally I lean towards "so what"... so what if it damages my driveway?  a 10 year old sisso provides wonderful shade and that to me here in AZ is priceless.  So if my driveway gets cracked in 10 years, I'll keep the tree and replace the driveway.  It takes 10 years to grow the tree, and it takes 1 day to replace the driveway.  The shade is worth it to me.  I haven't seen major limb breakage problems with Sissoos.  It's always the Palo Verdes that are first to go in a storm, but nobody rails against PaloVerdes, because they're good "native" trees, not evil demonized imported trees.  

I love me Sissoo, but it is away from any building,and also shades our chicken coop. Which was part of the reason it was placed there. Just saying. There are no bad trees just bad placement.. We have a 18 year old carob tree about 30ft high. That has cracked my drive way,made it unleval  and makes a huge mess with leaves ,but I didn't plant it and would never get ride of it. Shade is priceless. You adapt to it.
Shade can still be accomplished without damaging property. I am glad to hear that your sissoo is not causing any problems.
I have no issues with imported trees. My problem with the sissoo is the damage that it has done. If you were the one who had to pull the countless suckers that are popping up all over the yard, maybe you'd feel different about planting it. I'll plant another tree in its place that will give me less trouble.
I agree. There are things I would do differently too. Sometimes you got to change things so they work. Mother nature does

Glad I read your post. We moved into a 3-year-old house last fall. The front yard had a ficus nitida planted 4' from the corner of the house which we removed last month. I can't help but wonder about a landscaper who would put a monster of a tree that close to the house!

We also have a a sissoo in a fairly small area between the driveway and the neighboring yard - abut 12 feet from the neighbors sisso tree.We were trying to decide about the sissoo because it is such an untidy grower. Now I guess we have our answer - out with the sissoo before it gets any bigger. I am worried about suckers from the neighbors tree, but he loves it so there is nothing we can do there. Thanks for the post!

Since I originally posted this, I have been scouting out sissoo trees as I am out and about around town. From what I have seen so far, some give trouble, some don't. Why? I'm not sure. I'm still dealing with mine. It just won't die. I have someone coming over today to give me a quote for digging every little bit out.

Hi, I'm new to this conversations, but unfortunately, not new to grief I've experienced with this tree. After losing all of our newly planted ficus due to frost, we were convinced that this tree was what we should have planted originally. The trees WERE beautiful! So beautiful we planted 13 of them around our property. After they took off, we had all of the privacy we were looking for. After 5 years the trees were exactly what we were looking for! The next two years, the trees became too much to care for and were growing out of control. The ones placed within our retaining wall (BIG MISTAKE) that we spent so much time constructing, were beginning to push the wall out.  


Really wish I knew then, what I know now. So, we made the tough decision to start over again and removed the trees, ground down the stumps. Sadly, all 13 have multiplied all over our property! All of the curbing we had done is uneven and at our attempts to remove the roots, we've had to pull the curbing out in those spots. The nice lush grass, gone. I don't dare throw an ounce of water in the back yard. 

I've tried vegetation killer on this stuff and it sprouts up somewhere else! My neighbor says I should throw clorox on the roots but I couldn't do such a thing. Has anyone found a solution to eradicate this menacing weed like tree? We want our yard back.

We've been cutting back branches this summer so it won't be such a huge deal to take it down. Our landscaper told us that after we cut it off, we should pour glyphosate straight into the stump so it will be absorbed and go down through the roots to kill them off as well. Now that I think about it, glyphosate only kills actively growing plants, so we should do it before it loses its leaves this fall - otherwise we will have to wait until late next spring.


I don't know if it is true about sissoo trees, but I read that some trees will only sucker if they are damaged in some way. Maybe it's their way of trying to stay alive.


I'm taking the Master Gardener Course right now and have found out that you can call the AZ Cooperative Extension at any time and ask questions about any plants or insects. They are a gold mine of information and my experience in the class has been that they are very nice people. It's their job to help you. : )


Here is the web site...

And here are the phone numbers for the Maricopa County office that I pulled off the site.

Office Locations
      4341 E. Broadway Road
      Phoenix, AZ 85040-8807
      Phone: 602-827-8200
You would get good accurate info from them. If you find anything out, please post.
So sorry to hear of your troubles. We had planted several and are still dealing with one that was the oldest. We did hire someone to dig the trunk out. We told the guys not to cut any roots. That they had to dig it out. Several hundred dollars later. Still have suckers that shoot up 10-20 feet away. And upon digging around, I found out that the landscapers did cut roots, and it it from those that the shoots keep sprouting up from. We have dosed it round up concentrate to no avail. The current vegetation dies and then new stuff sprouts up from the root. Somewhere I read to keep removing the shoots and eventually it will die. I just keep pulling when I see them. I'm sick of using nasty chemicals. So far, no new areas. Unfortunately, a root originating from where the stump was goes underneath my concrete patio. We've already busted up a large section of a concrete walkway, and I don't want to do anymore. :(  Good luck and please let me know if you find anything that works.


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