• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Tree of Heaven permaculture uses?

 
Scott Stiller
Posts: 279
Location: North Carolina zone 7
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hello friends. I have tree of Heaven growing everywhere on my farm. No herbicides allowed here so I'm looking to use it for my benefit. Anyone ever use it as mulch, firewood, ect?
 
Troy Rhodes
Posts: 572
21
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
They grow fast and they reproduce fast. I don't ordinarily get to excited when someone shouts INVASIVE, but these are pretty invasive. If you don't control them aggressively, they will take over pretty quickly.

The trees are stinky. The wood is weak and prone to split with even moderately "bad" weather. It does burn and make for mediocre firewood according to my woodstove homies on the forum.

Because the wood is brittle and weak, it has a reputation for being tricky to cut down. You could do a google search for barber chair tree. Here's one example:




It has been promoted in some places as a biofuel/biomass/plantation species, but I am pretty leery.


Cutting and mowing and cutting and mowing will kill them off eventually.




 
Scott Stiller
Posts: 279
Location: North Carolina zone 7
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks for the info Troy. I did not know they were so difficult to cut down. That could have ended really bad for the guy in the video. Luckily none of mine are as large as that one. All I know is for everyone I cut four more pop up.
 
Zach Muller
gardener
Posts: 776
Location: NE Oklahoma zone 7a
35
bike books chicken dog forest garden urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I had a huge one next to my gardens at my old house. I just kept it all chopped and dropped around the trunk and the rest of the yard. It is easy to pull out seedlings or runners but the root always breaks off making full removal nearly impossible. If faced by this tree again i would coppice it when still young and then limit the circumference of runners with a scythe. Basically use it as an organic matter pump every season, never letting it flower. It's not as bad as some say, my gardens were right next to it and they were good, it's when you ignore it that this tree puts up a dense stand and becomes a rapid multiplier.
 
Scott Stiller
Posts: 279
Location: North Carolina zone 7
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So what you are saying is as long as it doesn't flower I can use it as a mulch? If I'm reading that correctly that would be a great use since it recovers so quick.
 
Sean Banks
Posts: 153
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Bark is used in traditional Chinese medicine to cure some mental illnesses.....thats the only benefit I know of......The tree is exceptional at colonizing disturbed areas and is nearly impossible to kill....it produces an alleopathic chemical that suppresses the growth of many plants so not good to use as mulch. I am sure however that it can be used as firewood.
 
siu-yu man
Posts: 99
Location: zone 6a, north america
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
tree of heaven control with oyster mushrooms:
http://www.blueowlgarden.com/BOprojects.shtml

i found some non-human-inoculated oysters growing on some dead ailanthus stems about a week ago.

ailanthus is also supposedly good as charcoal but haven't attempted it yet, as none of them get that dry here to try.
 
Scott Stiller
Posts: 279
Location: North Carolina zone 7
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks for that mushroom link. I grow shitake in hardwood already. That would be a nice use for those trees if it works.
 
siu-yu man
Posts: 99
Location: zone 6a, north america
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
got some pink spawn on the way and have already shaved a few big ones for inoculation.
worth a shot, yes?
will let ya know how it goes...

would be nice to get some return from all the time spent weeding seedlings this spring.
can understand now how these trees spread so quickly.
 
Scott Stiller
Posts: 279
Location: North Carolina zone 7
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Please keep me up to date with that. If we could grow beneficial fungi with that plant we could change the world.
 
Michael Bushman
Posts: 143
Location: Sacramento, CA
6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I HATE these trees as in California with our long growing season they are almost impossible to kill unless you dig up the stumps. I wouldn't burn them as it can make you sick and I know people who have done so. I like the idea of growing mushrooms with them but am still a bit leary due to the toxicity of the plant. I can't believe they are a plant people recommend as out here they are like weeds.
 
Scott Stiller
Posts: 279
Location: North Carolina zone 7
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey Michael, I HATE them too. I did find a guy on YouTube that has successfully cultivated oyster mushrooms from them. These are live trees he inoculates killing the tree and getting edible shrooms! I'm going to give it a go. The channel is BroBryceGardens. I hope I have the success he had.
 
siu-yu man
Posts: 99
Location: zone 6a, north america
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
looks like lion's mane also grows on ailanthus.
http://www.sharondalefarm.com/shop/lions-mane-mushrooms/

interesting discussion here (see post #5 in particular:
https://mycotopia.net/topic/95081-morel-bombs-growing-on-ailanthus-lions-mane-propagation-and-more-questions/

what i'm curious about is whether nailing spawn into a living tree provokes the immune response.
that video says no, but they were trying for the first time.

the oysters i found were growing on a trunk cut last fall, so 6 months in, the alleopathy seems to be diminished.
the deadwood gets really soft & spongy really quick as well.

promising for hugelkulture...

 
Scott Stiller
Posts: 279
Location: North Carolina zone 7
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I consider this major news. If we could turn that demon tree into an edible mushroom maker we could change the world! Where's paul stamets when you need him?
 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
Pie
Posts: 8793
Location: Portugal Zone 9 Mediterranean Climate
605
bee bike books duck forest garden greening the desert solar trees wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
In Tao Orion's book Beyond the War on Invasive Species she says that "compared to cotton, cultivating tree of heaven for fiber helps mitigate climate change, reduces pesticide use, remediates heavy-metal laden soils, and has the potential to create economic outcomes for people living in invaded ecosystems"

Does anyone know anything about how to use this plant for fiber?
 
Troy Rhodes
Posts: 572
21
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I don't know if there is something unique about this tree, but "regular" trees are pulped (de-barked and then run through a giant grinder), treated with some heat and chemicals (acids primarily) to further break it down and remove the lignin. Then it's bleached with peroxide (used to be chlorine = more polution).

From there it can turn into paper and other fiber based products.

This has a nice overview:



 
Ty Morrison
Posts: 153
Location: Boise, Idaho (a balmy 7a)
13
chicken goat solar trees urban wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have learned to live with my ailanthus forest.

It is about a third of my lot. I have a few that are almost a foot in diameter. They are all the things that have been said about them.

After 15 years of active battle, I really don't believe you can ever truly get rid of them. So I accepted their existence and found that a heavily coppiced patch (about 10 feet by 30 feet), will produce a huge pile of pretty straight sticks about 1/2 in in diameter and four to six feet long by the end of a season. The sticks I use for fuel in my rocket hot-water loop stable/chicken coop heater in the winter. I have also used them as woven stick fence panels, and chicken crates, but they are not strong enough to keep goats contained. I think they also would be excellent for those salvaged material beehives that are on Permies in another thread.

In my observation, they do not seem to contain the same toxicity when dead as they do when alive. Goats will not eat starts, but they do eat the tops that blow out, as well as the big seed clusters. They provide shade, need no maintenance and do the whole carbon-exchange thing, and seem to be a good nursery for other tree starts such as Idaho native red mulberry and black locust, catalpa and walnut at my place. The only tree that I have planted that can choke ailanthus out Siberian Elm (Another, curse) and Hybrid Poplars (used for making toilet paper in the PNW).

I doubt I will ever go down the road of making fiber from them, but once you have them, you need to resolve that they will always be around. Even if only at the edges.

Oh yeah, ants seem to like them too.
 
Tao Orion
Author
Posts: 14
Location: Cottage Grove, OR
7
books
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Ty,
You should consider finding some Ailanthus silk moths - I've seen them here in Oregon, and they were originally imported to eat Ailanthus leaves to make silk. APparently the cloth is a cross between silk and hemp, very strong and durable, and many in the late 19th/early 20th century thought it would replace cotton - that's why the trees were planted in many areas.
 
Evil is afoot. But this tiny ad is just an ad:
Got Permaculture games? Yes! 66 cards, infinite possibilities::
www.FoodForestCardGame
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic