Let there be light, and less weed trees

We had four trees taken down last week. None of them were ours. Two were in one neighbor’s yard, the other two in another neighbor’s yard. Neither used the back yards for anything other than parking for rental units.

The team from Grabber & Sons Landscaping had
to work around a LOT of wires and cables.

The trees in question were “Trees of heaven” (Ailanthus altissima). It’s native to China and Taiwan, and should have stayed there.

Most often referred to by us as “weed trees,” these fast growing, invasive, non-native trees create(d) the most labor in our garden.

They have also been referred to as “ghetto palm,” “stink tree,” and “tree of hell.” It’s one of the fastest, if not he fastest growing trees in North America. And they’re tall too. If you’re familiar with the book, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, it’s THAT tree.

Much of our maintenance time in the garden is not spent on deaheading, weeding, planting, mulching, or fertializing the plants we put there. In the last 16 years here, it’s been spent picking up after these trees.

Helen Battersby, of Toronto Gardens wrote a great post on these trees here.

All this stuff was going to eventually fall off
it anyway – in dribs and drabs to keep us busy
picking up after it constantly.

In the spring, they drop a powdery, yellow-tinted, heavy pollen that coats everything.

Next, the tiny yellow flowers bloom and leave small castings all over. Then the flowers fall. The flowers are this nasty, dead-yellow color and very tiny. But they usually find a way to “mass up” and create blobs of detritus that, when wet, stink, stain concrete, and ruin car finishes.

Then it’s stick time. The flowers being spent somehow makes tiny sticks fall. They’re all over the yard, in plants, pots, and this year I noticed, quite a few hostas, elephant ears and canna had these sticks spear right through them causing holes and scrapes.

And after spending our me cleaning all that up, it’s time for the seeds to drop – up to 350,000 seed per tree! And it seems as though all 350,000 (times 4 trees) find root, so weeding out these trees takes more time.

We’ve now gone from partial shade to sun.
No telling what it will look like next year.
But at least we’ll have the time to enjoy it.

Then it’s Fall and the leaves (and sticks and branches) continue to fall.

But no more. My wife said she’d pay to have them talen down, so she contacted the two different neighbors who’s property they were on, and they both said they hated the trees too and we were welcome to take them down. One of the trees was butting against the neighbor’s garage, damaging the corner of the roof line. All four trees were against our fence.

She promptly called Grabber & Sons Landscaping, and got ourselves on the schedule – and within a month they were gone.

Normally, I’m on the side of trees, but these trees were nothing but a nuisance, providing nothing one would enjoy about a tree, except shade. At least we didn’t have to sweep, scrape, or clean up shade.

Not sure what we’ll do with all our spare time next year.

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I have a long-time garden blog, a popular garden on America's largest garden tour, and have co-written a book on garden design titled, "Buffalo-Style Gardens: Create a Quirky, One-of-a-Kind Private Garden with Eye-Catching Designs" When I'm not doing all that, I am an advertising designer always out looking to design things to promote your business. Look me up at #jcharlier.

0 comments on “Let there be light, and less weed trees

  1. You have certainly made them sound very unpleasant! And i'm hoping I'll forget about them when I read 'A Tree Grows in Brooklyn' again some time. Holly is horrid too. https://looseandleafyinhalifax.blogspot.co.uk/


  2. They have no worth! Has it let more sun into your garden?


  3. Be prepared. One of those was taken down at a clients and it sent up hundreds of root suckers up to forty feet away from the yes, poisoned stump.


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