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saracidaltendencies
05-30-2008, 12:25 AM
The pic I have is pretty crappy...Anyway, they are driving me crazy and I want to get rid of them...no matter how many times I cut them down, they ALWAYS grow back and they're taking over my backyard. The pic was taken before the trees took over my backyard.

Here's a description of them as well:

The trunk and uh...stem? of the tree is quite thin...It is more of a tan-ish color and when the trees are small the branches are kind of soft and green. They smell really weird too. The leaves are elongated and a dark green, the branches are thin, and, the leaves are horizontal to each other on either side of the branches. As far as I know, the trees weren't planted, they grow wild just behind my backyard, but, they have begun growing IN my backyard and are impossible to get rid of! I live in Missouri and I've been looking at trees in Missouri, but, no luck finding this particular kind. It seems more like some kind of weed tree the way it just takes over and is so difficult to completely remove. Any guesses as to the type of tree and how to remove them would be appreciated!

Jan in CA
05-30-2008, 02:28 AM
Wow, I sure don't know. I asked DH and he didn't know either, but he said it may be something that comes up from the roots like bamboo in which some varieties can also be invasive.

I found a few websites that may or may not help.

http://www.mipn.org/
http://www.mobot.org/mobot/research/mepp/ratings.shtml
http://www.centerforplantconservation.org/invasives/Links.html#Missouri
http://www.easywildflowers.com/invasive.htm
http://www.invasivespecies.net/database/species/search.asp?sts=sss&st=sss&fr=1&sn=&rn=missouri&hci=-1&ei=-1&x=10&y=13
Also you might consider contacting the horticultural society or something like that.. maybe a local university.

Debkcs
05-30-2008, 03:17 AM
It doesn't look like any bamboo I'm familiar with, but does the bark have any rings around it? Too bad your winters haven't been bad enough lately to kill it off.

jess_hawk
05-30-2008, 05:35 AM
I would need a better look to give you a definite answer, although the leaves appear to be very long compound pinnate which is unique (see my note at the bottom). Your best bet would be to take a leaf AND STEM clipping to a local university, garden center, or nursery (or high school bio or ag teacher). My plant tax prof once spent twenty minutes explaining to us how annoying it was when people bring him just a leaf and ask what it is, as many plants have very similar leaves but can be differentiated by the leaf scars, bark, or wood (and by the way, if those are compound leaves, make sure you get the WHOLE leaf not just a leaflet).
A lot of species reproduce by root clones and many will sprout again from a cut stump. My mom had a rosebush that my parents decided to get rid of and spent about five years pouring so much poison on the stupid thing (and cutting it, burning it, and so on) that to this day grass won't grow within three feet of that garden (dad digs out the old dirt and puts in new every year so we can get some flowers to grow).



OK having said all that, I think your plant MAY be a sumac:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sumac
Sorry no idea how to get rid of it, but anyplace that knows herbicides should be able to help you. If you can't find anyplace I'll interogate my brother, his specialty at work was always herbicides and fertilizers (we worked at the same hardware store).

CountryKitty
05-30-2008, 07:22 AM
Staghorn Sumac is a very invasive shrub/small tree known for growing into dense thickets by producing 'suckers' from the roots (sprouts that become trees). The first link is a page of information on Staghorn Sumac complete with pictures, the next 2 show closer shots of the leaves.

http://www.paghat.com/sumac.html
http://babel.lss.wisc.edu/~sara/pictures/sept2006/sumac_colors.jpg
http://www.naturephoto-cz.com/photos/others/staghorn--sumac-32024.jpg

cftwo
05-30-2008, 08:51 AM
Your best bet would be to take a leaf AND STEM clipping to a local university, garden center, or nursery (or high school bio or ag teacher). My plant tax prof once spent twenty minutes explaining to us how annoying it was when people bring him just a leaf and ask what it is, as many plants have very similar leaves but can be differentiated by the leaf scars, bark, or wood (and by the way, if those are compound leaves, make sure you get the WHOLE leaf not just a leaflet).

I agree with Jess!

saracidaltendencies
05-30-2008, 02:21 PM
It definitely does look like a Sumac, but, the trees here never have any flowers and the leaves don't really change color, they just get a little yellowish and fall off...lol...I'm going to look into more Sumacs though, thanks everyone for all the help!

bjc1050
05-30-2008, 07:08 PM
They might possibly locust trees. We thought we'd never get rid of the ones in our yard. There always seemed to be so many volunteers from spreading roots and seeds, too. Our locust trees had thorns which I reallly hated. Some varieties don't have thorns. I wouldn't have minded them so much if ours were thornless. All I can say is that it tooks years of diligently keeping after the volunteers and getting as much of the roots as possible.

knitasha
05-31-2008, 11:51 PM
It looks a lot like the locusts that invade my planters, which happen to be on a 17th-story rooftop in New York City. Roots like iron.

It also resembles ailanthus, the "Tree of Heaven" that was immortalized in "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn." The male flowers smell like cat urine. (When I was a kid we called them "stinkweed." However, these trees grow rapidly and top out at 30-40 feet.

If you want an authoritative i.d., though, Jess has the right idea.

saracidaltendencies
06-01-2008, 01:02 AM
Yeah, I found some info on the Tree of Heaven and it looks so much like it, but, I also read the Tree of Heaven sprouts fruits and the trees I have here never have any "fruit" or flowery looking growth, just leaves.

They do smell really odd, the trees. When it gets really hot out, that's all I smell. I wouldn't say they stink, but, it's a really weird smell that makes it difficult for me to breathe if I'm too close to them. Not like an allergy type thing but makes my breathing very irregular and I have to move away from them to breathe properly.

I'm going to get more pictures tomorrow, it's driving me nuts trying to figure out what this is! lol...I have to get rid of them...No matter how many times I cut them down, they, as mentioned by jess_hawk, just keep sprouting up again. And I mean it quite literally when I say they're taking over my backyard! Last year I cut them all down in the summer and they began growing back quickly. I wanted to get out there and cut them down before the spring, when all the trees were still bare, but, with all the rain we've had, and, having my 3 year old son with me all day, I didn't get a chance to go out there before they all bloomed again :( However, no plans for tomorrow, and, I think the weather is actually supposed to be nice so I may just do that all day tomorrow!

jess_hawk
06-01-2008, 04:27 AM
To get rid of them, you're going to have to do something about the roots.
Can you describe the smell more in detail?
LOL, I'm too much of a biologist, now I'm just wishing I could invade your yard to get hands on with these suckers and see what they are! I look forward to seeing more photos if you get some!

cristina61
06-01-2008, 11:32 AM
I was going to suggest mimosa trees, just from your description of how they seem to grow wild and sprout up very quickly. The leaves also look similar, from what I can see. But the mimosa trees in my neighborhood produce a sort of "flower." They are fluffy pink things; here's a picture: http://www.guzmansgreenhouse.com/desert-trees/mimosa-tree.jpg

From this link I guess they're also called silk trees. We've fought them in our yard; they really do grow like weeds.

http://www.fast-growing-trees.com/Mimosa.htm

http://www.nps.gov/plants/ALIEN/fact/alju1.htm

This last link has some information on how to get rid of them. Even if what you have isn't mimosa/silk trees, maybe the info will be of some help.

Good luck!

saracidaltendencies
06-01-2008, 01:53 PM
Jess_hawk, unfortunately I don't really know how to describe the smell, it's like nothing I've ever smelled before so I don't know really what to compare it to...lol...The smell is very strong, however, if you break off the branches! lol I'll get the pics soon, getting ready to go out there and start chopping the trees down.

bjc1050
06-01-2008, 02:45 PM
I was going to suggest mimosa trees, just from your description of how they seem to grow wild and sprout up very quickly. The leaves also look similar, from what I can see. But the mimosa trees in my neighborhood produce a sort of "flower." They are fluffy pink things; here's a picture: http://www.guzmansgreenhouse.com/desert-trees/mimosa-tree.jpg

From this link I guess they're also called silk trees. We've fought them in our yard; they really do grow like weeds.

http://www.fast-growing-trees.com/Mimosa.htm

http://www.nps.gov/plants/ALIEN/fact/alju1.htm

This last link has some information on how to get rid of them. Even if what you have isn't mimosa/silk trees, maybe the info will be of some help.

Good luck!


The leaves in Demonica's photos are too large to be mimosa. We have a large one in our yard from a volunteer (a gift from God that provides needed shade in the middle of our back yard) that has just begun to put out leaves. They always come into leaf later than many other trees and will have small pink and yellow feathery flowers in a few more weeks. The mimosa leaves are more fine than those in the photos. Some of our neighbors still have locust trees which are in full leaf, but are too far away for me to compare the leaf size with those in the photos.

cristina61
06-01-2008, 03:35 PM
Right, I'm sure not going to argue that they're definitely mimosas. I've never noticed any unpleasant smell from mimosa trees.

But as far as the leaves being too big, it may depend on what part of the country you're in (the climate) as to when the leaves come out. The ones in my back yard and my whole neighborhood already have huge leaves, and they don't flower until later in the summer.

sinistral_needler
06-01-2008, 06:54 PM
Before I read any of the replies .. sorry if this has been covered .. but it looks like sumac .. it runs rampant in the ditches in the rural areas around Wisconsin. I wouldn't know how to kill it off except maybe for a heavy dose of Roundup after you do a mega prune in the fall!

sinistral_needler
06-01-2008, 06:57 PM
They might possibly locust trees. We thought we'd never get rid of the ones in our yard. There always seemed to be so many volunteers from spreading roots and seeds, too. Our locust trees had thorns which I reallly hated. Some varieties don't have thorns. I wouldn't have minded them so much if ours were thornless. All I can say is that it tooks years of diligently keeping after the volunteers and getting as much of the roots as possible.

Do they grow that fast? I had a locust tree at my child hood home and it took years to grow and it didn't seem like an invasive bush at all .. ??? I don't know, I'm just asking! :)

saracidaltendencies
06-02-2008, 12:05 AM
Ok, tree identified...YAY! Turns out my next door neighbor knows exactly what they are and I happened to catch him today while I was cutting them down. It IS a Tree of Heaven (I prefer to call it tree from hell :teehee:)!

When I was looking through the links someone provided, I found the Tree of Heaven and my trees looked SO much like that, but, the trees here never had any "fruits" on them. However, one of the trees is finally sprouting some! I noticed it after I chopped down the majority of trees in my backyard. I guess they don't get the fruit until they are mature because the one that had the fruit has been growing (behind my backyard) since we've lived here (just over 4 years now).

I spent hours outside today cutting them all down and I know they'll just start sprouting again. Apparently to kill them off, you either need to get them completely from the roots, or, cut the stumps in half and apply some sort of weed killer or something. However, my neighbor tried the cutting in half and pouring weed killer on them, but, to no avail. Looks like I'm going to have to either be vigilant about cutting them, or, try to get the roots up. At least my backyard is all clear for now!

I did take pics of the trees today, but, I guess I don't need to post them now...lol...Unless, you guys just want to see them :teehee:

Thank you everyone for all your help!

saracidaltendencies
06-02-2008, 12:07 AM
Do they grow that fast? I had a locust tree at my child hood home and it took years to grow and it didn't seem like an invasive bush at all .. ??? I don't know, I'm just asking! :)

Yes, they do grow pretty fast. We do have locusts too (my neighbor was able to identify that too...lol) and they had big ol thorns! Had to cut a couple of those down today too! Luckily the locust trees weren't nearly as bad as the trees from hell!

Jan in CA
06-02-2008, 01:43 PM
At the links I posted I saw this tree and thought it did look very similar, but the fruit thing threw me, too. Glad you know what you're dealing with anyway. My DH had to kill a tree once by pouring poison on it and it took a long time, but eventually worked. You might give it a try. Even if it only kills off one root system it's a start. :thumbsup:

saracidaltendencies
06-02-2008, 02:10 PM
I'm willing to try anything right now! lol...I don't want to have my backyard looking the way it did, again!

Just for an idea of how badly they took over my backyard, here's a couple pics (behind the trees in front, we have a fence that couldn't even be seen through the trees. The trees in the background are all behind the fence):

Jan in CA
06-02-2008, 04:33 PM
Oooo.. definitely read this!
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa4107/is_200301/ai_n9231048
http://www.hort.uconn.edu/cipwg/art_pubs/DEP/pdf/p_treeheaven.pdf

There were a ton of articles - I searched Google with "removing tree of heaven". One even talked about using table salt and Roundup.

cristina61
06-02-2008, 05:02 PM
Maybe you can send them my way! We used to have a row of trees (different kinds) along our back fence and they very nicely shielded our view into the neighbors' back yards (and vice versa).

Now all the trees are dying and have been thinned out (by the neighbors) and I miss having my privacy. I get why you don't want your yard overrun by nuisance trees. But we have tiny back yards and I REALLY don't want to see what my neighbor is doing in his back yard every day . . . :gah:

Plantgoddess+
06-02-2008, 06:47 PM
I have had great success using blackberry/brush killer on invasive shrubbery and trees. I had an infestation of a plant that looks like a bamboo and has roots that go clear to china. Use blackberry brush killer full strength with a paint brush, clip a trunk and dab immediately with the paint brush. You can't clip all the plant and then dab because the plant will seal itself off within about 15 seconds, so it's important to clip and dab until you've got it all or give out. It may take a few treatments but within 2 years you should have it all killed. Ortho and Lilly Miller and others make the product.

Jan in CA
06-02-2008, 08:05 PM
I've never heard of that stuff. Interesting!
http://www.lillymiller.com/weed_control.html

saracidaltendencies
06-03-2008, 12:29 AM
Maybe you can send them my way! We used to have a row of trees (different kinds) along our back fence and they very nicely shielded our view into the neighbors' back yards (and vice versa).

Now all the trees are dying and have been thinned out (by the neighbors) and I miss having my privacy. I get why you don't want your yard overrun by nuisance trees. But we have tiny back yards and I REALLY don't want to see what my neighbor is doing in his back yard every day . . . :gah:

LOL! I'll ship 'em right away! Yeah, I totally understand about the privacy...which is why I love my backyard so much. My backyard has our garage on one side, my neighbors garage on the other side, a large privacy fence where the space between my neighbors garage and my house is, along the back of the yard, a fence and all behind the fence is a small wooded area. Which is why I had all those trees growing in my backyard...the seeds were falling from the trees behind the fence into our yard. We have a super small backyard and I couldn't even let the kids go back there to play because the trees took over just about the entire backyard. The only spots that were clear were the trails the dogs created...lol...

I take the kids out front, but, we have a really, I mean really creepy neighbor and I don't like being out there when my neighbor is out. I'd love for my kids to be able to play out back where it's totally enclosed. I even bought locks for the gates so they can't get out of the yard, but, I haven't been able to take them out there anyway...lol...However, my backyard looks SOOO much better now that those trees are all gone! I cut a couple down that were behind the fence: one was leaning on my fence so heavily that if I didn't get rid of it, it would have broken the fence, and, I trimmed some branches off of another that was hanging way too low into my yard. Hopefully that'll do for a while. Typically I won't cut down trees, but, the problem was so bad we couldn't even enjoy having a backyard.

Plantgoddess+
06-03-2008, 07:25 PM
I've never heard of that stuff. Interesting!
http://www.lillymiller.com/weed_control.html
I try to garden organically as much as possible, but I have over 40 acres of timbered hillside and a number of noxious weeds continue to try to get established. The wildlife as well as passing cars spread the seeds. If you don't take care of the weeds on your property the weed patrol can come in and spray your property and put a lien on your property for the cost.
I use the brush killer concentrate and only use the paint brush method. It seems to dangerous to me to spray it around where it will be accessible by wildlife or pets. I do spray some Roundup as it is supposed to become inert on contact with the soil.

jess_hawk
06-04-2008, 09:25 AM
Hope you find a way to get rid of these trees. If you're going to put poison on them, make sure the poison penetrates far down into the soil because if the roots go way deep just putting stuff on the surface won't cut it.
http://www.hort.uconn.edu/cipwg/art_pubs/DEP/pdf/p_treeheaven.pdf
Make sure you read this article (mentioned by Jan above) it has many ideas to try.

Arielluria
06-04-2008, 01:29 PM
If no one's mentioned it yet, and you are still looking for identification, I highly recommend Davesgarden.com (http://www.davesgarden.com)

linknit41
06-08-2008, 07:43 PM
this looks very much like Ailanthus aka tree of heaven. it is a 'weed' sort of tree, and grows in disturbed soil especially in urban areas. i just googled Ailanthus and there is a photo. You might want to checkit out. am not sure how to get rid of it--justkeep cutting it down i guess. linknit41

saracidaltendencies
06-08-2008, 09:54 PM
It is the Tree of Heaven. My next door neighbor knew exactly what it was and told me about a week ago. I had looked at pics of the Tree of Heaven but what threw me off is I had never before seen "fruits" on the trees here, however, they started popping up this year. I got all of them cut down in my backyard, for now, but I know this will be an ongoing battle :(