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Ailanthus altissima /eɪˈlænθəs ælˈtɪsɪmə/, commonly known as tree of heaven. It is related to poplar and tulip trees. It is a deciduous tree in the Simaroubaceae family
It is native to both northeast and central China, as well as Taiwan. It prefers temperate climates. Grows well in sun or shade, moist conditions or dry, parched and drought-ridden areas. Sounds good yes? Tree of Heaven?
It is so named the ‘Tree of Heaven’ as it grows faster than most trees and in a forest, they are prone to dominate the canopy, starving other trees of precious sunlight. Tree of Heaven? I think not!
The tree grows rapidly and can reach heights about 49 feet in about 25 years. Typical heights in the USA is about 15-30’. What? The USA? Yes, and one WAS (for years before today), was between the side of our home and our neighbor’s property.
Well how did they get from China to the United States?
Thanks to the Chinese gold miners that brought these to CA during the Gold Rush and some idiot gardener in the “City of Brotherly Love” (Philadelphia, PA,), these damn gifts of the Tree of Heaven spread across the USA literally like a plague or a virus!
By the way, the Standard Chinese word for this tree, ailanthus is chouchun (Chinese: 臭椿; pinyin: chòuchūn; literally: “foul-smelling tree”). It has been described as the smell of rancid peanut butter. YUCK!
But they are not likely to live more than 50 years. I don’t think I will live 50 more, but, maybe? 😀 But, but, through its remarkable suckering ability, makes it possible for this tree to clone itself indefinitely!!!!!! What? Tree from Heaven? Oh, NO IT’S NOT!
But, but, but since these suckers are linked to the mother tree and PARTLY fed by it, the suckers are less vulnerable than the seedlings and can grow faster. Tree from Heaven? Oh HELL NO!!!!!!!!!! But, but, but, but “seedlings”, let’s talk about those.
The Tree of Heaven’s seedlings are like maple tree seedlings like we used to call ‘helicopters’ when we were kids. Oh it was fun watching the wind spin them and carry them off. But, but, but, but as an adult (I am chronologically an adult anyway), NOT FUN AT ALL!
Behind our home is a much (a bunch), of rocks purposely put there so not having to mow the steep pitch. It was planned perfectly years ago and did its job nicely. The area is rectangular in shape, about 40’ long by 30’ foot wide; edged with flat concrete blocks.
After many years, stuff started to grow out from the spaces between the stones. Particularly what grew profusely, like weeds or multiplied like rabbits were those damn seedlings from the Tree of Heaven.
It seemed that if these grew above 1 inch tall, the roots would already have grown back to China, their mother country. 🙂
If I did not pluck them out at or below 1” or douse the whole area with about 575,000 gallons of ‘Round Up’® every freaking year, nothing was going to kill them!
Note: Round Up is a registered trademarked chemical or its technical name is, Glyphosate, a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide and crop desiccant, from your friendly chemical and world’s largest distributor of seeds, Monsanto company! Yes that was sarcasm and factual.
After 1” I would have to try and chop them out, use a jackhammer, break chain saws or concrete blades or try dynamite because, the evil green-less dead looking crap was like diamonds or petrified stone in hardness!!! Tree of Heaven my ass! This is the Tree of Hell!!!
We were GLAD to pay half to have this Tree of Hell cut down Yesterday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Today (Sunday 4/22/18 Earth Day), they will cut down the trunk and remove it all away!!!!! YAY!!!!!
Thanks China! NO, NOT REALLY; NOT AT ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If you have a Tree from Hell or if you really and truly care about someone you know that has EVEN ONE OF THEM, watch and/or share the following video!!!!!
The Gathering Place,