Look-alikes: It is important not to confuse native shrubs and trees with ailanthus. Native sumacs (Rhus) and trees like ash (Fraxinus), hickory (Carya), black walnut, butternut and pecan (Juglans) can be distinguished from tree-of-heaven by having completely serrated (toothed) leaf margins.
Tree-of-heaven is a fast-growing tree and a prolific seeder, that can take over sites, replacing native plants and forming dense thickets. Ailanthus also produces chemicals that prevent the establishment of other plant species nearby. Its root system may be extensive and has been known to cause damage to sewers and foundations.
How You Can Help:
The aggressive nature of tree-of-heaven makes it difficult to control by mechanical/hand removal. When disturbed, the roots resprout abundantly.
Volunteers can be of great assistance in late summer/early fall when female trees are producing seeds. One tree can make up to 325,000 seeds. Bagging and disposing of seeds can help reduce the spread of this NNI.
For full species information visit the Plant Conservation Alliance's LEAST WANTED page.