WEED TWISTER ™
Strong and Deft Weed Deterrence - Muscles Optional- Chemicals
Ergonica WEED TWISTER vs. Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus Altissima)
Need a Tree Weed Twister? See this Powerful Sapling and Woody Plant Puller in Action!
Can Table Salt Take Out Ailanthus?
Save Time and Effort with the Turbo Weed Twister!
See this Ailanthus Tree Weed Twister in action...
|Ever try to remove a 5-foot Ailanthus Altissima tree with an ordinary weed puller or popper? With roots as long as 12-24 inches, very few tools can get deep and dirty to this depth like the Ergonica Weed Twister. Whatever you do, don't let the Tree of Heaven get into your foundation, hardscape or sidewalks! Note: For deep roots, the 54-inch Dual Grip Weed Twister , as shown below is recommended unless you have a very powerful cordless drill to facilitate the use of the Turbo Weed Twister. Why not both? A lot of small and large tree weeds can be most efficiently removed by using your Turbo Weed Twister to whip out the smaller suckers and having the Dual Grip Weed Twister at hand just in case your drill can't cut the mustard for larger weeds or tough soil. You can also quickly clear the soil of any root remnants with the Turbo Weed Twister. This is the way to go if you need to quickly remove a lot of tree weeds of various sizes. See the videos below to get a better picture of how these tools actually work.|
|See video clips of how to quickly remove Tree of
Heaven suckers and other tree weeds with the Turbo Weed Twister
and the Dual Grip Weed Twister.
Let your drill do the twisting! Note that the Turbo Weed
Twister is also used to seek and destroy any remaining roots after
the initial plant removal. This is especially important for
root suckers such as Ailanthus Altissima.
See more Weed Twister Videos!
Turbo Weed Twister
Dual Grip Weed Twister
|The trick is to catch these invasive Tree of Heaven weeds (Ailanthus Altissima) before they grow beyond 4-5 feet in height. It only takes a few months before they spring up to this level. Measure the plant by the length of the 48-inch Industrial Weed Twister|
|Once centered over the main tap root, 2-3 rotations of the WEED TWISTER sapling puller will extract the major portion of the primary root system. If portions of the roots remain in the soil, they will most likely germinate by the next season.||
Ailanthus Altissima Tree Puller - Small Tree Twister
|No harsh chemicals are needed to control the spread of the invasive Tree of Heaven weed and other large woody plants with roots as wide as 1.5 inches in diameter. It only takes a minute or two to remove each tree, roots intact. The 48-inch WEED TWISTER model is ideally suited for this job.|
|Ailanthus roots often curve in various directions under ground, which may require several penetrations with the WEED TWISTER to find the main root system. At the far right photo this tool successfully extracted a long root that was largely prostrate.||
Sent to Hades with this Tree of Heaven Removal Tool!
|Tree of Heaven weeds often grow in clusters and will create a thicket of trees, or an ailanthus forest, if left unattended. Several such thickets are near this property and spread their seeds each year. It only takes a few minutes to extract a half dozen such trees with this tool.|
|Ideally, the ground should be soaked with water at least an hour before attempting to screw the WEED TWISTER deep into the ground. In this case, even in dry soil, the tool was successful in removing a Tree of Heaven with a height of about two feet.|
|It's always a good feeling to see a good length of roots wrapped in the WEED TWISTER coils. If it looks like only a portion of the roots were removed, it's a good idea to fish around with the tool for additional strands of roots, which may wind in a number of unexpected directions.|
|With the new 54-inch Dual Grip Weed Twister, we were able to tackle a few larger Ailanthus suckers more quickly and efficiently! Ailanthus roots grow in different directions and are often as long as one third the height of the main stem.||
In this test with the 54-inch Dual-Grip Small Tree Twister, we were able to clear about 30 Ailanthus suckers of various heights in about 30 minutes. The remains of these invasive trees are shown at far right. Click photos for larger image.
|This is one of our trophy Ailanthus assaults with the super Dual-Grip Weed Twister! We hung it up on the trees that begat these suckers to better illustrate the size of this detached tree. Until we find a way to remove the parent trees (see Salt vs. Ailanthus below), these suckers will continue to spread into areas as far away as their shadows in late afternoon.||
Bigger Grip for Bigger Trees - 54" Dual Grip Weed Twister
Salt vs. Ailanthus (Better than Roundup!)
|As great a job we do with the Small Tree Twister against
the infamous Ailanthus, once the tree grows above 5-6 feet, it's
time to bring in tractors, heavy equipment or brush clearing
wrenches with all the associated costs and logistical complications.
To stop the growth of these invasive trees, we have found some
success by using ordinary table salt, sodium chloride. This is
a chemical naturally found in our bodies, in oceans and seas, and on
our dinner tables. Our initial experiments have shown that
table salt works with larger trees that Roundup cannot effectively
|These photos show a half-inch diameter hole filled with table salt to a depth of about 2 inches. Below the hole notice a slice in the bark which was filled with Roundup the previous year to no avail. After 8 weeks, the table salt produced dead leaves on the far right on all the branches of this particular tree.||
Kill the Big Trees with Salt?
The green leaves in the rightmost photo are from some of the other 8 Ailanthus trees in this cluster. Roundup was not effective in killing any of the 9 trees in this experiment. The Roundup used in this experiment is the same as shown on the Roundup Label page. The girdle slices are between 0.5 to 1.5 inches deep and completely surround each of the 9 trees.
|Buoyed by our success in the June 9, 2007 application of table salt, we decided to puncture and season all remaining 8 Ailanthus trees with table salt on August 1, 2007. To elevate our technical approach, we adapted a water drinking bottle with a long sucking tube to serve as a granular salt injecting device.||
The tube diameter is about 3/8 inch and we covered up the air hole on the cap with clear tape on the inside. We also reversed the direction of the tube and pulled it out of the bottle as far as possible. A little clear tape was also added to secure the tube above the lid.
|Pouring salt into the 1/2 inch hole was a simple task with our elongated tube. It didn't take long to drill holes and salinate each of the remaining trees in this cluster. Perhaps salt bullets or pellets may be the ultimate technology for this treatment?||
The scars of the unsuccessful Roundup treatment are visible in these photos, as well. This may be a better application for salt bullets than military or police uses against soft human skin (just don't miss the tree)?
|Hopefully, all the green leaves shown in these photos of June and August of 2007 will fade to yellow and brown by September or October. We are also concerned that the seasonal falling leaves may complicate the effectiveness of this experiment initiated in mid California summer. If and when these trees die, we will also have to watch for increased sucker activity, and removal of those trees that may pose a hazard if they fall.||
This test was inconclusive and will be continued next spring due to the late season!
|The salt assault experiment has been extended to the spring 2008 season due to inconclusive results last fall. Now that new leaves and branches are growing in our target Ailanthus trees, in mid-April we have re-drilled the old holes and added an additional hole to double the salt exposure to the tree trunks.||
The spring season is the optimal time to attempt to interrupt the growth of these very dynamic trees. If the salt is effective, the new leaves shown in the photo above-right will fail to grow any further. To be effective, Roundup or other postemergent herbicides, must also be applied at this time.
|Because the Tree of Heaven is so invasive, you may be inclined to lend your WEED TWISTER to your neighbors, as a good deed, and also to reduce the Tree of Heaven weed germination pressure in your neighborhood. If you have an infestation of Ailanthus in your neighborhood, you may encourage your garden club or neighborhood volunteers to sweep up this invasive threat before it gets out of hand. You can also become a Professional Weed Twister - Ailanthus sapling puller and charge a few bucks for each tree you pull. As described in the articles and links below, Tree of Heaven is also a threat to roadways and its roots often damage walkways and foundations.|
Cutting alone is usually counter-productive because ailanthus responds by producing large numbers of stump sprouts and root suckers...
What types of weed removal tools do you need?
Identify Noxious Weeds in your state or region with photos and features...
How to Control Tree of Heaven Invasion?
Tree-of-heaven, also known as ailanthus, Chinese sumac, and stinking shumac, is a rapidly growing, deciduous tree in the mostly tropical quassia family (Simaroubaceae). Mature trees can reach 80 feet or more in height. Young seedlings may be pulled or dug up, preferably when soil is moist. Care must be taken to remove the entire plant including all roots and fragments, as these will almost certainly regrow. Root suckers appear similar to seedlings, but would be connected to a pre-existing lateral root, and would be nearly impossible to remove effectively. Cutting alone is usually counter-productive because ailanthus responds by producing large numbers of stump sprouts and root suckers. The most effective method of ailanthus control seems to be through the use of herbicides, which may be applied as a foliar (to the leaves), basal bark, cut stump, or hack and squirt treatment.
Physical Control - Physical control methods include
cutting, removal of roots, burning, and mowing. Cutting alone will
not kill ailanthus. In fact, the tree will vigorously resprout from
the roots and stumps and will result in many more stems than were
initially cut. Digging roots is practical only for very small
patches of ailanthus, as all traces of root must be removed. Similar
to cutting, burning and mowing kills only the above ground stem of
ailanthus, and trees will resprout from the roots. Because root
removal is extremely labor intensive, and burning and mowing are
non-selective, i.e., both ailanthus and desirable species are
killed, cutting is usually the preferred method of physical control.
However, cutting is only effective when coupled with chemical
Because of the increasing encroachment of the weed combined with the difficulty in controlling it with cultural and herbicide-based tactics alone, biological control is an option that should be considered. If biological control agents can be found that reduce the reproduction and spread of the weed, it will be an important contribution toward the retention of native open-grown flora.
The tree of heaven grows swiftly to become a large tree, growing four feet per year and blocking the light for native species beneath it. In addition, its leaves are toxic to over 40 native species of plants, and it is unpalatable to herbivores. Ailanthus can overwinter in northern climates, and is resistant to both frost and drought, giving it a clear competitive edge over native species. Because of these attributes, A. altissima has been dubbed the "tree of hell" by Pennsylvania state botanists. The entire area colonized by the tree of heaven must be treated over a long period of time for effective eradication. Young seedlings must be dug up, root suckers must be destroyed by removal or herbicide; cutting alone is ineffective as this action stimulates the stump to send out new suckers and sprouts. Careful application of plant poison to the bark in late winter is often effective on trees less than six inches in diameter; specific herbicides are listed on the National Park Service website.
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Musings of Dr. Yucca: There's a time to sow and a time to reap and many more to weed!
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Revised: May 21, 2013 .