Skip to content

Why the Tree of Heaven is Not So Heavenly (And Why You Should Remove It)

Tree of Heaven

Tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima) is a fast growing, non-native, invasive tree that spreads rapidly in natural areas and yards, produces toxins that prevent other plants from growing, and is the host plant for the spotted lanternfly, a highly destructive, non-native, invasive insect.

For these reasons, they should be removed.

Removal: Simply cutting down tree of heaven will not control it. It will regrow from any roots that are left alive. Saplings can be removed by hand when the soil is moist, and the entire root system can be removed. Selective herbicide application is recommended on larger trees. Visit for detailed identification and removal steps. Be sure to properly identify any tree before removal as the native trees listed below can look similar.

Native Alternatives: Plant these instead: smooth sumac (Rhus glabra), black walnut (Juglans nigra) and hickories (Carya spp.)

Learn more about native plants, non-native invasive species and how to be a Rockville Weed Warrior volunteer at

Most Recent Articles

Christmas and New Year’s Closures

City government and facilities will be closed for Christmas and New Year’s Day. All city facilities will be closed Mondays, Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. Parking will be free at city-owned meters on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. Recycling, trash

Read More »

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

Get the best of Rockville Reports delivered right to your email and stay up to date on what’s happening in our city.

Contact Us

Have a story idea? Email or call the City of Rockville’s Public Information Office.

About Rockville Reports

Rockville Reports is the official publication of the City of Rockville, published at City Hall, 111 Maryland Ave., Rockville, MD 20850-2364.