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The Agreesive Nature
of Tree-Of-Heaven

Tree-of-Heaven, also known as Ailanthus altissima, is causing significant problems for trees in the Midwest. Originally from Asia, it was brought to North America over 150 years ago and has since become a major invasive pest. It grows rapidly, produces an abundance of seeds, and can sprout new trees from its roots, making it a formidable competitor for local plants. It can thrive in various environments, even in small cracks in infrastructure, leading to damage and increased maintenance costs. Additionally, it serves as a favored habitat for the harmful spotted lanternfly.

A Difficult Task

Getting rid of the Tree of Heaven is quite a difficult task. Its seeds can travel great distances on the wind and establish new groves of trees in areas nearby and will produce dozens of root sprouts if the stem is cut or girdled, even when herbicides are applied to the cut. But don’t worry; there are ways you can manage this problematic tree.

Specialized Plant Sprays

Use specialized plant sprays containing something called glyphosate if you observe sprouts or young seedlings. The best time to apply these sprays is in the summer when the tree is actively growing. Be sure to completely coat the leaf and adhere to the directions on the spray bottle. Another option is to attempt to take the seedlings out of the ground but make sure you remove any root fragments when doing so, or you run the risk of producing new sprouts.

Alternative Techniques

There are alternative techniques for larger Tree of Heavens that are too tall for spray. The “basal bark” method is one approach. This consists of coating the lower portion of the tree’s stem with a mixture of herbicide and oil. The oil transports the herbicide inside the tree, killing it and preventing the emergence of new roots. Although it can work on larger stems as well, it works best on ones that are up to 6 inches thick. Do this from summer to winter, but avoid days over 85 degrees. In addition, this procedure is not advised if the stem is damp or covered in snow. Triclopyr esters are the type of herbicides you can use, and you combine them with oil (20% herbicide and 80% oil).

Hack and Squirt Technique

Another technique termed “hack and squirt” is used for trees that are 3 inches thick or greater. Using this technique, you cut into the tree’s bark and inject herbicide into the holes. As opposed to chopping down the entire tree, this approach does not allow for as much new growth. The number of cuts you should make should equal the diameter of the tree in inches, plus a few extra.

In Conclusion

Remember, always be safe and follow the directions on herbicide labels. Wear the right protective gear and be careful with cutting tools.

For additional details on tree-of-heaven management visit these sites:



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