Status Report on Tree of Heaven

Hans Lagoni

The Environmental Research Group (ERG) is delighted to report that this year's removal of the highly invasive Tree of Heaven was successful, with approximately 2000 small trees eliminated. As you may recall from previous articles in Sand Tracks, ERG has been removing Trees of Heaven, Ailanthus altissima, from Beverly Shores for the past three years.

An extremely aggressive plant, the invader is a prolific seeder. Trees of Heaven grow vigorously, establishing dense stands that displace native plants. In addition, this unwanted intruder has the ability to release toxins into the soil that prevent other seeds from sprouting.

Over the past three years, the ERG has spent over $6000, and along with the ABSR’s contributions of $3000 , we have been able to remove over 5500 trees, most of them along our roadways. Many of the remaining trees have been removed by NIPSCO, whose tree-trimmers have treated the ToH stumps.

What you can do

We need your help. We are only allowed to deal with Tree-of-Heaven within the town's easements along roadways. We ask you to identify and remove trees on your property. If you need help identifying Tree-of-Heaven, contact Terry Bonace (tbonace@gmail.com), Hans Lagoni (hlagoni@comcast.net ) or Bill Schaudt (blschaudt2@gmail.com) for a consultation. Specimens can be cut down, but the stumps must be treated to prevent reemergence. As a Penn State bulletin suggests, "Ailanthus is one of those plants best thought of as being like an iceberg—what you can see is only the tip of the problem. Control measures that fail to address the regenerative capacity of the root system will fail." An herbicide containing triclopyr (Ortho MAX Poison Ivy and Tough Brush Killer, Bayer Brush Killer, Garlon) is recommended. Alternatively, you may wish to contact a tree service to have the trees removed. ERG has used Dolphin Tree Service (contact info) to remove trees from the town right-of-ways.

With help from residents, our goal is to eliminate this nasty species within Beverly Shores.

Beverly Shores Environmental Restoration Group,
P.O. Box 667, Beverly Shores, IN 46301