Sunday, July 27, 2008

Ai Yi Ailanthus

Today’s post is the first in the series Plants Not To Plant. Ailanthus altissima, aka Tree of Heaven, is not the worst looking tree you could have spring up overnight. Its bloom season is eye candy, I’ll give it that. But those pink lantern shaped flowers give way to seeds and every one of those bastards germinates.

They sprout in your garden, where you eventually pull them all out. They sprout in your neighbor’s garden, where they never get pulled out, and in two years you are surrounded by an ailanthus forest breaking into bloom.

I have a theory that the exotic trees which reproduce so aggravatingly well have seeds that are not well liked by local wildlife.

Now you may ask who actually plants Ailanthus if it is on the way to covering the planet by itself. There is a line of thinking that where the urban environment is so degraded, only the kind of tree that survives there anyway should be planted. While I generally agree that any tree is better than no tree, we get an idea where this handbasket is going if Ailanthus is the one.
This photo tells why I pick on Ailanthus today. There they are to the upper right, on my neighbors' side of the fence. They were born this spring and already 5’ tall. I’m gearing up for the diplomatic version of ‘Hi yall, can I cut down your trees?’

Fortunately my neighbors are such lovely people. They even like my flamingo.

1 comment:

Philip Bewley said...

That is very good information!
I will keep this in mind! i have had a few of these invasive plant problems, and I do not want another!!!