Eliminating tree of heaven in Ohio

The NWTF and the USDA Forest Service treated 2,988 acres of tree of heaven, a fast-growing deciduous (sheds annually) tree, in Scioto, Lawrence and Washington counties in Ohio, all of which are located in the Ohio River Foothills focal area.

Tree of Heaven is an invasive species brought from Asia to North America in the late 18th century. The NWTF has joined the USFS in eliminating tree of heaven, as it has the ability to change an entire ecosystem.

“Tree of heaven can replace oak, dramatically affecting mast crops which are depended upon by numerous wildlife species,” said Travis Bowman, NWTF district biologist in Ohio.

Herbicide was applied using the hack-and-squirt method. This entails a forester hacking a tree with an axe, exposing the tissue of the tree and squirting herbicide onto the tissue. The tree then takes the herbicide in through the tissue and transports the herbicide to the roots where it kills the root system and, eventually, the tree.

“There are currently multiple agencies working together to combat the decline in oak and hickory forests that once dominated in southeastern Ohio,” Bowman said. “Oak and hickory forests remain intact, but they are at a tipping point. Regeneration is not keeping up with the changing conditions, and intermediate-staged forests are underrepresented. Nonnative species control is a huge part of this effort to turn our forest back to its original oak- and hickory-dominant forest type.”

The total cost to treat the 2,988 acres was $87,183.44, of which the NWTF contributed $20,323.52 from its Super Fund.

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