I’ve had a 3 1/2 year relationship with two ailanthus altissima (‘tree of heaven’) in my back yard that, heights of well over 50′, are the scourge of my property and bring cursing to the tip of my tongue at the mere sight. Do birds nest in them? Nope. Do they shade my home in the summer? Nope. Do they look pretty? Nope. What do they do? Ooh, you’ll like this. They have rickety branches that fall off randomly throughout the year (even the 20′ ones), to touch them leaves your hands smelling like cat pee (and just imagine the scent of the water in my rainbarrels caused by their pollen each summer), and what they do to the soil around them can only be described as criminal.
So as the good homeowner trying to rid her property of this gnarly invasive, I did my online homework. Fortunately prior owners had left evidence of their attempts to girdle, drill poison, et cetera, so I was saved a few steps since the rings from girdling went up every few feet, displaying the abject failure of these attempts. I knew these babies had to come down. The only thing that research shows consistently helping to kill them? Oh yeah, us earth kitties will like this…Round Up. If ya wanna kill the stump ya gotta poison the land. Or so they say. And seeing that the greatest benefit of removing these two trees is that I get to have a really delicious garden next year (instead of driveway container garden ’09), I have to say no to that. My arborist dug deep though with the grinder, and recommended once the area settles to cover with cardboard over the winter. So it’ll be ugly, but worth it.