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Ailanthus altissima (Tree of heaven)

Beginner
skill rating
1 hour care
per year
15m
Max height
12m
Max spread
20-50 years
To maturity
Low
Toxicity

Plant details

Botanical name

Ailanthus altissima

Other names

Tree of heaven, Tree of the gods, False varnish tree, Japan varnish tree

Genus

Ailanthus Ailanthus

Species

A. altissima - A. altissima is a vigorous deciduous tree with smooth, light grey bark, attractive foliage and large panicles of yellow-greenish flowers followed by winged fruit. The individual trees usually produce either male or female flowers, and both sexes are required to produce fruit.


Ailanthus altissima is: Deciduous

Tree shape

Spreading

Toxicity

Ingestion may cause severe discomfort.

Flower

Green in Summer

Foliage

Reddish-brown in Spring; Green in Summer; Dark-red in Autumn

How to care

Watch out for

Pests

Generally pest free

Diseases

Generally disease-free.

General care

Propagation methods

Seed


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Where to grow

Ailanthus altissima (Tree of heaven) will reach a height of 15m and a spread of 12m after 20-50 years.

Suggested uses

Low Maintenance, Architectural

Cultivation

Grow in moist but well-drained or well-drained soil.

Soil type

Chalky, Clay, Loamy, Sandy (will tolerate most soil types)

Soil drainage

Moist but well-drained, Well-drained

Soil pH

Acid, Alkaline, Neutral

Light

Partial Shade, Full Sun

Aspect

North, South, East, West

Exposure

Sheltered

UK hardiness Note: We are working to update our ratings. Thanks for your patience.

Hardy (H4)

Companion plants

Botanical name

Ailanthus altissima

Other names

Tree of heaven, Tree of the gods, False varnish tree, Japan varnish tree

Genus

Ailanthus Ailanthus

Species

A. altissima - A. altissima is a vigorous deciduous tree with smooth, light grey bark, attractive foliage and large panicles of yellow-greenish flowers followed by winged fruit. The individual trees usually produce either male or female flowers, and both sexes are required to produce fruit.

Foliage

Deciduous

Tree shape

Spreading

Toxicity

Ingestion may cause severe discomfort.


Colour

Flower

Green in Summer

Foliage

Reddish-brown in Spring; Green in Summer; Dark-red in Autumn


How to care

Watch out for

Pests

Generally pest free

Diseases

Generally disease-free.

General care

Propagation methods

Seed


Monthly care advice


Where to grow

Ailanthus altissima (Tree of heaven) will reach a height of 15m and a spread of 12m after 20-50 years.

Suggested uses

Low Maintenance, Architectural

Cultivation

Grow in moist but well-drained or well-drained soil.

Soil type

Chalky, Clay, Loamy, Sandy (will tolerate most soil types)

Soil drainage

Moist but well-drained, Well-drained

Soil pH

Acid, Alkaline, Neutral

Light

Partial Shade, Full Sun

Aspect

North, South, East, West

Exposure

Sheltered

UK hardiness Note: We are working to update our ratings. Thanks for your patience.

Hardy (H4)

USDA zones

Zone 9, Zone 8, Zone 7, Zone 6

Defra's Risk register #1

Plant name

Ailanthus altissima (Tree of heaven)

Common pest name

Elm spanworm; Ennomid; white; Linden moth; snow-white

Scientific pest name

Ennomos subsignaria

Type

Insect

Current status in UK

Absent

Likelihood to spread to UK (1 is very low - 5 is very high)

3

Impact (1 is very low - 5 is very high)

3

General biosecurity comments

Polyphagous moth pest which defoliates deciduous trees and; with repeated infestation; can cause tree death. Present in North America and current import requirements do not fully mitigate the risk of introduction. A PRA will help to assess the level of risk more fully.

Defra's Risk register #2

Plant name

Ailanthus altissima (Tree of heaven)

Common pest name

Polyphagous shot hole borer

Scientific pest name

Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer (Euwallacea sp.)

Type

Insect

Current status in UK

Absent

Likelihood to spread to UK (1 is very low - 5 is very high)

2

Impact (1 is very low - 5 is very high)

3

General biosecurity comments

A disease complex involving an ambrosia beetle and fungus; present in South California and Israel; which could affect English oak and other broad leaved species if introduced to UK. Climate is likely to be a limiting factor regarding establishment. Watching brief needed on pest spread into areas with cooler climates and to be added to the EPPO Alert List in response to threat to Southern Europe. A UK PRA will help inform the case for EU regulation.

About this section

Our plants are under greater threat than ever before. There is increasing movement of plants and other material traded from an increasing variety of sources. This increases the chances of exotic pests arriving with imported goods and travellers, as well as by natural means. Shoot is working with Defra to help members to do their part in preventing the introduction and spread of invasive risks.

Traveling or importing plants? Please read "Don't risk it" advice here

Suspected outbreak? Click here for contact details to report to the relevant authority.

Date updated: 7th March 2019 For more information visit: https://planthealthportal.defra.gov.uk/

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This plant likes... Garden match
Soil types: Chalky, Clay, Loamy, Sandy (will tolerate most soil types) Tell us...
Soil drainage: Moist but well-drained, Well-drained Tell us...
Soil pH: Acid, Alkaline, Neutral Tell us...
Light: Partial Shade, Full Sun Tell us...
Aspect: North, South, East, West Tell us...
Exposure: Sheltered Tell us...
Hardiness: Hardy (H4) Tell us...

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