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Treating Invasive Species One Tree at a Time

Blue Herbicide on Tree of Heaven

article by Kayla Johnson, Biologist at Fontenelle Forest

Notice some blue dye on trees? This is evidence of our land management team at work!

Throughout Fontenelle Forest property the invasive tree species, Ailanthus altissima, (aka Tree of Heaven) threatens the success of our native plants and animals.

This invasive tree is especially successful because whenever it is damaged or cut down, its root system responds by sending up tons of new sprouts. These new sprouts can surface a great distance away from the original tree, even up to a mile away!

Therefore, we cannot simply cut these trees down. The only way to prevent the sprouting adaptation is to basal spray the tree with herbicide, meaning to spray all around the bark of the live, standing tree.

To help track which individual trees have been sprayed, a light blue dye has been added to the herbicide, resulting in blue-stained trees. Removing these invaders will create space for the native species that are crucial to the health of our system.

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