Ailanthus (Tree of Heaven) Control - The Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-30-2018, 07:16 PM Thread Starter
The Man
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Ailanthus (Tree of Heaven) Control

Does anyone have experience controlling ailanthus (tree of heaven)?

What has worked well, and what not?
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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-30-2018, 07:32 PM
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We have a huge problem with them on my club grounds which is enrolled in CREP. We went to the Penn State extension office for help. They gave us the name of an herbicide that will kill it but you must cut it off and put the herbicide on the stumps. I am sorry, I can't recall the name of the herbicide bit if you go to your farm extension office they can tell you what to use. It is an ongoing process if you have Ailanthus trees where the seeds can blow onto your property. We are much better off than we were before we started our eradication program. Our problem is the source of the problem is the trees producing the seeds are on a neighboring property. If the source of the trees is on your ground cut them down. Be careful handling the wood, wear gloves because the sap can soak into your skin and give you a heart attack!

When you are up to your butt in alligators, it is hard to remember your intent was to drain the swamp. Stay focused!
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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-30-2018, 07:55 PM
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wear gloves because the sap can soak into your skin and give you a heart attack!

Maybe it should be called the "tree of death " ??

wmu 3A
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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-30-2018, 08:20 PM
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Years ago when we first started seeing them around here we called them those sumac trees that get really big. Should be called tree from -- double hockey sticks. They are hardy and stubborn. WW has the right idea. Good luck.
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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-30-2018, 08:52 PM
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I was poking around on the web, and it appears it is the tree that both kills and heals. The tree contains both compounds toxic to humans and is also used in its native China in both folk remedies and pharma grade medicines.
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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-30-2018, 09:37 PM
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Garlon 4 mixed with diesel will kill just about anything.

Here's a study where Penn St used it on beech and birch.
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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-01-2018, 04:05 PM
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Our place was loaded with them.....and we continue the battle 5 years later, but we have made significant headway in killing them off on our property.

If they are large parent trees, you can stump cut and treat....or hack and squirt. If the tree once dead will not damage anything in the area when it falls down, hack and squirt is a fairly easy technique. I use chainsaw, machete, or hatchet for the hacking part and straight 41% gly (Round Up) for the squirting part.

If the tree could damage something if it comes down the wrong way, I stump cut with the chainsaw, blow the wood chips off the stump, and immediately treat with a generous amount of straight 41% gly.

If the trees are too tall to effectively spray the leaves with a backpack sprayer (or if any overspray might kill something desired), I cut them off with a machete and treat the stump with the straight 41% gly.

If the trees are small enough, I spray the leaves generously with a backpack sprayer using 3oz of 41% gly per gallon of water.

If I do not have spray handy at the time, I will also pull small trees (0-3ft tall) out of the ground manually if the soil has some moisture to it. I do have some concerns that a part of the root could be left in the ground to grow again, so I prefer to spray if possible....however, if spray is not handy, I will not miss an opportunity to pull out a few ailanthus I roll the dice and try to let something more desirable grow in that spot.

As WW said, get the parent trees killed first to prevent more seed from being dispersed. If the parent trees are on the neighbor, I would approach them about killing the trees to avoid more seed. It might not work, but it's worth a shot to save you a lot of time down the road.
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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-01-2018, 07:44 PM
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Knock on Wood I have never had to deal with it. It must be some nasty stuff because every post that OAWC makes about being at camp, he always mentions whacking and spraying the stuff. His blood probably has 41% gly in it by now. LOL.

Traditions only last if you pass them down to your kids!
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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-01-2018, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by cspot View Post
Knock on Wood I have never had to deal with it. It must be some nasty stuff because every post that OAWC makes about being at camp, he always mentions whacking and spraying the stuff. His blood probably has 41% gly in it by now. LOL.
Consider yourself lucky C! I start to twitch when I am driving down the road and see more than a half dozen ailanthus trees...and my blood pressure rises.

The ailanthus trees are prolific if the areas are getting sun, they can spread quickly. However, they can be managed to an acceptable level on your property and kept from going to seed.

We can now see the light at the end of our ailanthus tree tunnel, but there were times that it felt like an insurmountable task. Stay the can be done. I actually spend some “killing time” now focused on thistles, so that alone shows we have made strides on the ailanthus!

If the infestation is bad like ours, late winter is great time to attack it - given that you can pick out ailanthus with no leaves. You don’t sweat as much, and it’s much easier to get around the woods at that time.

Number one priority though has to be those parent trees.
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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-02-2018, 10:33 AM
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Due to its extensive root system and resprouting ability, tree-of-heaven is difficult to control. Treatment timing and following up the second year are critical to success. Mechanical methods, such as cutting or mowing, are ineffective, as the tree responds by producing large numbers of stump sprouts and root suckers. When cutting tree-of-heaven is necessary to remove potentially hazardous trees, it is best to treat with an herbicide first, allow 30 days for it to take effect, and then cut.

Hand pulling young seedlings is effective when the soil is moist and the entire root system is removed. Small root fragments are capable of generating new shoots. Seedlings can be easily confused with root suckers, which are nearly impossible to pull by hand.

To control tree-of-heaven, target the roots with systemic herbicides applied in mid- to late summer (July to September) when the tree is moving carbohydrates to the roots. Herbicide applications made outside this late growing season window will only injure aboveground growth. Following treatment, repeated site monitoring for signs of regrowth is critical to prevent reinfestation.

Herbicides applied to foliage, bark, or frill cuts on the stem are effective at controlling tree-of-heaven. Cut stump herbicide applications encourage root suckering and should not be utilized. Apply all treatments no earlier than July 1 up until the tree begins to show fall colors. There are many effective herbicides available for use on tree-of-heaven, including dicamba, glyphosate, imazapyr, metsulfuron methyl, and triclopyr. For most treatments we recommend using herbicides containing the active ingredients glyphosate or triclopyr.

Foliar herbicide sprays are used where tree height and distribution allow effective coverage without unacceptable contact with nearby desirable plants. Treatments are applied in mid- to late growing season with equipment ranging from high-volume truck-mounted sprayers to low-volume backpack sprayers.

For dense or extensive infestations, treat initially with a foliar application to eliminate the small, low growth. Then follow up with a bark or frill application on the remaining larger stems. The initial foliar application will control most of the stems, while the follow-up stem treatment controls missed stems or those too tall for adequate coverage.

Basal bark applications provide a target-specific method for treating tree-of-heaven that in general is less than 6 inches in diameter. Using a low-volume backpack sprayer, a concentrated mixture of herbicide containing the ester formulation of triclopyr in oil is applied from the ground line to a height of 12 to 18 inches, completely around the stem. To maximize translocation to the roots, apply herbicides from mid- to late summer.

Frill herbicide applications, called hack-and-squirt, are highly selective with a concentrated herbicide solution applied directly into the stem. For effective hack-and-squirt applications, apply the herbicide solution to spaced cuts around the circumference of the stem. Leaving uncut living tissue between the frill cuts allows the herbicide to move to the roots. Again, make applications in mid- to late summer.

Well-established tree-of-heaven stands are only eliminated through repeated efforts and monitoring. Initial treatments often only reduce the root systems, making follow-up measures necessary. Persistence is the key to success.
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