Tree of heaven, Chinese sumac and Stinking sumac
|Botanical Name||Ailanthus altissima|
IdentificationA rapidly growing, deciduous tree reaching 25 metres or more in height. Ailanthus has smooth stems with pale gray bark, and twigs which are light chestnut brown, especially in the dormant season. The large compound leaves, 30cm to over a metre in length, have 11-25 opposite smaller leaflets arranged alternately along the stems. Each leaflet has one to several glandular teeth near the base. In late spring, clusters of small, yellow-green flowers appear near the tips of branches. Seeds are produced on female trees in late summer to early autumn, in flat, twisted, papery structures called samaras, which may remain on the trees for long periods of time. All parts of the tree, especially the flowers, have a strong, offensive odor, which some have likened to peanuts or cashews.
HabitatsOpen banks, roadsides and bush edges.
Impact to Biota and EcosystemsFemale trees are prolific seeders. Forms extensive stands in shrublands, displacing native vegetation. Trees also produce toxins that prevent the establishment of other plant species. The aggressive root system can cause damage to sewers and foundations.
Dispersal Routes, Vectors, Infestation SourcesNumerous seeds are wind dispersed. Trees also produce numerous suckers from the roots and re-sprout vigorously from cut stumps and root fragments.
Do not dump plant material as it can re-grow from root or stem fragments. Dispose of at green waste station.
Cut trees off at about 500mm high and spray re-growth in spring/summer with triclopyr (eg Grazon)
at 6ml per litre + surfactant
Cut and stump treat with 20% solution glyphosate - ensure all suckers are treated
Cut or drill and inject with neat glyphosate - ensure all suckers are treated
Follow-up will be required to remove seedlings
Correct identification of Alianthus is important as several shrubs, like sumacs, and trees, like ash, black walnut and pecan, can be confused with it.