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Tuesday, June 6, 2006


the Gauntlet: a Tale Fit for 06-06-06

I was so full of fresh air after the CW on Sunday, I joined my building neighbors in a challenging garden clean-up. Our building butts up against a beautiful garden belonging to the people south of us. Trouble is, there is a small area between our properties that is prone to be a weed field without watchful vigilance.

We tackled this last year too, and I must say, it was not as bad this year – there are naturalizing Day Lilies galore and Phlox! These, I hope, will fill in that space and shade out any seedlings. The seedlings that want to grow in this area are perverse and tenacious – the most vile being something called the Tree of Heaven…

I think it should be called the Tree of Hell, myself, because it is just demonic. Black Magically, in one season, it can grow +30ft. I noticed it for the first time last year casually looking out my dining room window (I’m on the second floor) and seeing, suddenly, where there was nothing, a Tree Top! We cut them down last year, but being inexperienced, we didn’t know we were really just Feeding the Beast.

By now, the stumps had blown out crazy with fast-growing suckerlings; this year we cut them down again (three about 20 ft high already) then used a little hatchet I had to chop the stump up a little then dose it with Ortho Brush-B-Gone! Now generally, I resist all chemicals until the Final Call of Damien arrives and THEN I do not hesitate. Spawn of Hell: Be Gone!

Mistakenly, when I asked for this product at the Home Depot, I referred to it as Bush-Be-Gone (but of course, meeting with a blank stare from the clerk) and I realized it was just my wishful thinking about the President…

Working and enjoying my neighbors wonderland then inspired me to go to the Grand Ave. garden center and get me some Porch Flowers, et al. So far, I’ve planted a Sweet 100 Cherry Tomato, a nice cucumber bush and some Pole Beans!


Here is my new favorite plant, Lemon Licorice (Helichrysum petiolare) surrounded by my current WIP, Delilah…

15 responses to “Tuesday, June 6, 2006”

  1. LauraK says:

    I’m right there with ya-I’ve got a 666 Tree From Hell in my backyard. I love nature, I really do….but this tree consumes so much of my time cleaning up its spawn that I admit to hating it.

  2. Chris says:

    Ack, I knew there was a reason I didn’t garden – it was the sort of Jack’s beanstalk nightmare you have growing in your backyard. :)

    Delilah is very intriguing…

  3. Beth S. says:

    Delilah looks like it’s going to be something very special. Oooh!

    I’ve got the Wisteria from Hell at my place. The stuff just won’t die. I hate the thought of chemical warfare, but truly, I may have to exercise the nuclear option by the end of the summer. Ugh.

  4. Toby Wollin says:

    We not only have Tree from Hell, we also have this stuff that grows everywhere and is seemingly unkillable called Japanese Knotweed (sometimes called Japanese bamboo)Polygonum — cuspidatum. This stuff was imported to the US as an ornamental and even the weather in upstate New York can’t kill it. It expands its territory both by seeds, suckers and little tiny bits of roots, so even trying to dig it up doesn’t work because if you leave the littlest bit of a root behind, wham, the stuff just comes back like that fairy tale where every time the woodsman hit the magic tree, for every chip that flew out, two would grow back in its place. Supposedly, the only way to get it is to spray it with some awful stuff at the exact proper moment(under a full moon, no doubt).

  5. Diane D. says:

    I’ve got too much experience with those Trees of Heaven. I love the shape of their leaves, and the new growth has great appeal to me. But, as you say, the seedlings – everywhere! As are their “branches” in the fall – more like a yard full of sticks/stems.I wish you all the best with your eradication program.

  6. Cindy says:

    I.H.A.T.E.T.R.E.E.O.F.H.E.A.V.E.N. It seems there are many of us who have experience with this awful, nasty plant. Does the Bush-B-Gone/Brush-B-Gone work? I like the former myself. If only if worked.

  7. Delica says:

    Ah, yes, the Tree of Heaven. I see it growing profusely by the train tracks whenever i take NJ Transit or LI Railroad. When I had a garden, the evil spawn I had to encounter was rose of Sharon – pretty flowers but basically a huge, invasive weed! Lemon licorice is one of my favorite plants too – I like how it drapes over the edge of a pot. Now I’ve got to get my gardening act together – I resolve to get potting soil by the end of this week so I may finally repot my cherry tomato and basil plants I bought last weekend.

  8. Ingrid says:

    My tree from hell is hawthorne…hahaha you know you can buy it from Lowes for $60…anyway year two of spending nearly every weekend cutting out hawthorne. the brush-B-Gone works sometimes if you paint it on the freshly cut stumps (I have a 50% success rate…not sure why). Getting rid of Sumac was relatively easy compared to hawthorne (okay might have had something to do with the fact we dug the roots out as we were planting a dogwood in its place).

  9. Connie says:

    We have a type of buckthorn here in Minnesota that is EXTREMELY invasive. Basically you need to cut the stump down below ground level, coat the fresh cutting with some sort of “bush b gone” and wrap a black plastic garbage bag over the top, tieing it with twine or something so that the sun cannot penetrate it. It is a lot of work but if you want to get rid of your “weed” – this would probably get rid of it.

  10. Vickie says:

    Ironically (for us knitters at least) the Tree of Heaven was originally introduced to North America in the hopes that silk worms would find it tasty and irrestible. As you might guess, that venture was a failure. I have no idea how I know this. I read it somewhere.

    Bush-b-gone…what a lovely thought.

  11. rb says:

    Hee. Bush Be Gone would be a great name for a waxing studio.

  12. Marg says:

    Okay, at this angle, Delilah looks like boxer shorts…say in ain’t so! ;-)

  13. Cathy in Northern VA says:

    You can in fact kill Ailanthus altissimus (AKA Tree From Hell) by paining the stump with full-strength Glyphosate (AKA Roundup.) Use a small paintbrush and the Roundup that’s sold for you to mix yourself as needed. Application in this manner minimizes the impact on other plants and on any wildlife that might be harmed by spraying the stuff.

  14. AnnDS says:

    Oh that there truly were a Bush-B-Gone spray…

  15. Rose says:

    Here’s a strange question-is the Tree of Heaven stinky? I looked at photos online and it looks like a tree that even thrives here in the desert heat of Tucson. I remember it from California too-horrible things to deal with and strange smelling to boot.

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