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2 Invasive Trees You Don't Need In Your Landscape

Chinese Tallow Tree
California attracts people and wildlife owing to the state's mild climate and abundant sunshine. Unfortunately, around 1,800 nonnative plants also call California home. Over 200 of the nonnative species are considered to be invasive plants that threaten California's delicate ecosystem.

Trees are included in the list of invasive plants. A sampling of invasive tree species is featured below. These two trees—and other invasive trees—should be removed by a qualified tree removal service when you find them growing on your California property.

1. Chinese Tallow Tree

You can thank none other than Ben Franklin himself for introducing Chinese tallow tree (Triadica sebifera) to the New World. This useful tree has been cultivated in Asia for over 14 centuries due to the wax-like tallow produced from the seeds.

The plant-based tallow has traditionally been used to make soap and candles, which is why Ben probably thought the plant was a great import. The Chinese tallow tree has also been grown in the U.S. as an ornamental tree for its bright autumn color.

Other synonyms for the plant include:

  • Popcorn tree
  • Chicken tree
  • Florida aspen
The trees can reach up to 50 feet in height. Chines tallow tree will easily take over any vegetation in the vicinity and eventually choke out your other native or custom landscaping.

Chinese tallow trees invade because the plants:

  • Reach reproductive age quickly
  • Flower and set seed for 100 years
  • Send out 100,000 seeds per tree annually
  • Resprout from stumps and roots
The seeds from Chinese tallow trees are dispersed by birds and water. Plants love sunny or shady conditions and tolerate a wide range of soil types.

2. Saltcedar

Saltcedar (Tamarix spp.) was brought to the U.S. as an ornamental specimen in the early 19th century. The shrub or small tree shape and attractive flowers made the tree desirable for the landscape. Some saltcedar trees were planted as windbreaks.

Today, saltcedar is considered a dangerous plant pest. The leaves and stems of mature saltcedar trees secrete salt.

Other names for the saltcedar tree include:

  • Salt cedar
  • Tamarisk
Saltcedar trees grow nine to twelve feet in a single year up to a height of 26 feet, although some species retain shrub-like growth up to 15 feet in total height. Saltcedar rapidly invades riparian areas and wetlands and can eliminate plant diversity along entire stretches of creeks, ponds, and rivers.

The plants invade with characteristics including:

  • Seeds that germinate rapidly
  • Tolerance for salt and alkaline soil
  • Tolerance for periodic flooding
  • Shoot development from submerged roots
Saltcedar tree leaves may show salt crystals on their surfaces. The trees pose an ecological risk when located near water, as they can lower water levels and affect the courses of rivers and streams.

Schedule a Survey of Your Landscape to Catch Invasive Trees

Your tree service knows how to spot the invasive trees wreaking havoc throughout California. Schedule an audit of the trees on your property so you know exactly which trees and shrubs are growing there.

This audit serves two purposes. First, you find and eliminate the bad plants. Second, when you know which native, desirable trees you have on your property, you can care for the trees properly so they're better able to fight off pests, diseases, and invading plants.

It may take more than one trip for your tree service to eliminate an invasive plant infestation. Both physical and chemical removal of the plants may be necessary. New invasive shoots and seedlings may form from tiny roots and seeds, so vigilance is important after any invasive tree elimination project.

If you do nothing about plant pests in your landscape, they will kill the trees and plants you love. Call the tree I.D. and removal specialists at Anderson Tree Company today for all of your tree removal needs in the greater Sacramento, California region.