Invasive in the Spotlight: Tree of Heaven

Tree of heaven

Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima) is an aggressive invasive tree species native to China, that has found its way into disturbed habitats and urban areas in New Hampshire. It is incredibly fast growing and if given the chance can reach up to 60’ in height. Tree of heaven is also incredibly efficient when it comes to reproduction, producing thousands of wind-dispersed seeds that will germinate under many conditions. If left to grow, tree of heaven has the potential to rapidly shade-out native plant species, reducing overall biodiversity. It is also closely associated with spotted lanternfly – an emerging insect pest in the United States.

Late winter is a good time to control tree of heaven by cutting it at the base. This, combined with chemical controls can prevent suckering.

Learn more about management techniques from the NH Department of Agriculture's Integrated Pest Management (IPM) guidelines.