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 extension.umd.edu/resource/tree-heaven 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 www.rockvillemd.gov/backyardhabitats.