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Advice on Royal Empress Tree

Posted by rmslayer 12553 (My Page) on
Fri, May 11, 07 at 13:04

Hello,

I came across the Royal Empress Tree which I read is the fastest growing tree. I want to get one for privacy in the backyard.

Question: Anybody have them, think they can be a nuisance after a while because they grow so wild?

Thanks.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

I suppose it depends on where you are. In the south, this is a nuisance tree and spreads where it is not wanted. In the north, the colder temperatures keep it from growing very tall each year.

Here is a link that might be useful: Least wanted


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

My advice is not to plant one and to avoid any nursery that sells them with claims they offer fast privacy.

They look like giant beanstalks, are invasive and once you plant it you can never get rid of it. And believe me you will want to when you see this thing.


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

While not THE mosty invasive tree up here in PA, I see far too many invading places where they don't belong. If you buy one, there is a good chance your neighbors will all get them too where they least want them to grow.
Post some details about the site and what you want to accomplish, and someone will give you a much better choice.

Ziggy


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

The Chinese Empress tree does grow fairly fast during its first few years. As a seedling its first year it hangs in there, but the second year it takes off and can grow six feet or more. Once it gets some size on, it slows down. They are a very beautiful tree with bright blue flowers that can only be matched by tropical trees like the jackaranda tree. There are other species of Paulownia, such as P. kawakamii which has even brighter blue flowers than Paulownia tomentosa. You can order these trees from Forest Farm Nursery.

In the Northwest they don't reseed that much because they need wet summers, which the Northwest doesn't usually have. Like all pioneer species, like alders and birches, they will take advantage of bare soil and a wet summer or irrigation conditiona to re-seed. But don't be scare of what the owners of Plant Delight Nursery, Yucca Do Nursery, and J.L. Hudson, Seedsman call native plant Nazis who think these plants are evil. Empress trees don't take over like kudzu or English ivy, they are easily destroyed by mechanical or chemical means, and they are very attractive plants. Besides, these Nazis are hypocrites, they don't demand that commercial apple and cherry growers destory their orchards even thought these plants compete with native apples and cherries by hybridizing with them. Or in the case of sweet cherrys, spreading throughout the native forest.

So, I wouldn't think they are a nuisance, and they are attractive.


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Issafish, you don't seeem to live next to a forest, or near wildlife. Driving up I-26 to get to Hendersonville or Asheville, NC, the number of paulownia trees that are visible along side the interstate is legion, and increases year by year. I will agree that these areas get more rain than I do at the bottom of the mountains - but they also get their share of droughty summers as well. I don't think that paulownias NEED a wet summer to reseed, I think they can do so in average summer conditions. What limits them further north isn't the summers, it's the harder winters - when the tree freezes to the ground every winter, it doesn't flower. No flowers equals no seeds, so no reseeding.

Beauty in and of itself, while intriguing, should not be reason to plant something that is known to be invasive. It may not be so everywhere, nor at once after planting - but that it is invasive at all, somewhere, should give pause to those who think they SHOULD have it. The native species in most places are under enough pressure, from human encroachment, changes in climate, etc., etc., for me, for one, not to want to put more pressure on the system.

I don't know where Rmslayer or Issafish live, their member pages don't say. But if they live in an area where paulownias are becoming a problem, then I feel it is irresponsible to advocate planting a known invasive spaeies. If the tree isn't a problem in their areas, then possibly they have a reason to grow it, but also, possibly it just hasn't been in that area in enough quantity or long enough to become a problem.

I will agree that people can get a bit strident about invasive species - but if you have ever had to deal with getting rid of the plant in question, and had to listen to people going "oh, it's so pretty, why can't you just let it grow?", then a little stridency comes out. Calling names doesn't alter the facts - some plants are invasive, and some plants damage the areas they invade, by making them less hospitable for wildlife or other plants. Just because you can buy the plant somewhere doesn't mean that it is a "safe" plant to buy - it only means there is a market for it, however uninformed that market is. Saying something in print doesn't make it TRUE! It doesn't necessarily make it false either, but double-checking the facts is always a good idea. You DID read the link that Esh_ga provided, didn't you? For me, it corroberated information I had read elsewhere, and been told by professional foresters.

Rmslayer, I would go with a tulip tree (Liriodendron) if you want a fast growing tree. With good watering, it will get to 12-18 feet tall in a couple of years, maybe more. If you are in a USDA zone that will let you grow paulownias, then tulip trees will grow also. They can get to 50-70 feet, but aren't as wide as a maple or oak. They have greeny-yellow tulip-shaped flowers in the spring. If you let them, the branches can grow down to the ground, or you can limb-up the tree so you can walk next to the trunk.


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

That term "native plant Nazis" is yet another sad example of the Trivialization of what the Nazis did during WWII.


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

And furthermore you don't seem to realize they also spread by suckers that can cross a 2 lane roadway through a storm drain not even covered in soil!

They are also hollow inside like tubes. Not something I'd want in my yard during a storm.

A million other trees and shrubs have nice flowers without these problems. If they were so great every local nursery would sell them.


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Treer

Oh and they haven't even leafed out here yet. Everything has leafed out long ago.

And their leaves look like rotten lettuce in the fall.


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

fledgeling, go to JLHudsonseeds web site: http://www.jlhudsonseeds.net/ and check out his long article on the destructive nature of these so called "native plant lovers" and how they follow the same pattern as the German Nazis who not only wanted a so called perfect human race but also wanted perfect native plants. They did the same thing that weed boards across the United States are doing right now, exotic plants bad, native plants good, spray and kill everything exotic because they are not perfect. That is unless the exotics have economic importance like cherries or apples, then who cares if they spread throughout our forest as thick as hair on a dog's back.

For those that don't read, I will repeat myself, I live in the Northwest, the Pacific Northwest. And I do live within a short walking distances of forest. And when I do walk through those forest I do see a few exotics like English holly, English laurel, English ivy. I also see lots and lots of escaped sweet cherries. The season for their blooming is just over, but when they were in bloom you could drive down a forested road and the woods would be white with their blossoms. Yet sweet cherries are not on Washington States weed list, but both English holly and laurel are. Yet for every one of those there are literally thousands of sweet cherries growing wild. The domestic apple is hybridizing with our native crab apple, but don't suggest to the weed boards that these trees should be banned, the Washington State Apple Growers would hang you from the nearest Douglas fir. That's what I find so hypocritical of the native plant Nazis, if you are going to ban one plant for being successful in the local environment, then ban all plants whether there are people making money from them or not.

In the community I live in there are Tree of Heaven and Empress Trees. I have never seen seedlings of Tree of Heaven growing here, as for Empress trees, during the wet summers I have seen seedlings that were growing on bare soil. But since I live so close to our native forest for every seedling of Empress tree, Scotch Broom, Buddleia davidii - butterfly bush I see on the six acres I manage there are thousands of Douglas fir, western red cedar, western hemlock, western red alder, western black cottonwood, and all kinds of native willows seedlings that would out compete these exotics if I give them a chance. I have pulled and sprayed the natives and have allowed a few of the exotics to live, since to me they provide color and beauty that the natives don't have.

Don't get me wrong, Douglas fir is my favorite tree, but I don't want it in my flower beds.


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Issafish, if a plant isn't destructively invasive in your area, for whatever reason, that's great. I don't live there, so I can't say whether or not cherries and apples are becoming invasive. If you could cite a few articles, I would be glad to read them. When my sister lived in Stanwood, and I visited in the spring, the main white-flowering trees I saw in the woods in the spring seemed to be dogwoods. But that was coastal WA, and a few years ago now, so things may be different now and in your area.

I agree with you that some of the native trees are "invasive" in flower and vegetable beds - I pull out many, many seedlings from various oaks, persimmons, sweetgums and tulip trees, plus a few cedars and pines, every spring and summer, not to mention poison ivy and oak. But, the local wildlife are habituated to these trees, the trees grow well in the area, but none of them create a mono-culture for themselves, and they would create a forest, left to themselves for 20-50 years, that would be much as it was in the beginning.

I do object to the "exotic invasives" that, while perhaps not on quite the same scale as kudzu, move into an area and choke out the native species, and which don't benefit the wildlife. These include the holly, ivy and butterfly-bush that you mentioned earlier, as well as a number of others. As I, and others, have said, some plants are invasive in some areas of the country, while remaining well-behaved in others. Whether this is a matter of time, or if the plant can't grow in the fashion that makes it invasive is not necessarily clear, especially as the climate changes.

While nurseries may continue to sell these plants, it does not alter the fact that they can be invasive. It might be ideal for nurseries to check on the status of all the plants they sell, and to refuse to sell plants listed as "noxious weeds" or as category one invasives in various states. But lists change annually, and keeping track of 50 lists, and adjusting inventory accordingly is a daunting, and somewhat costly task. It would be best of all for people to just not buy plants listed by their states as invasives, but..., the fact that lists can change yearly doesn't help - a plant that is "legal" one year may be illegal the next.

There is also the "but I HAVE to have it" factor - if some people can't get what they want at one place, they will keep looking until they find a place to get it, so the bottom line mentality creeps in, and the plant is sold. It's made more complicated by the fact that many of these plants are quickly and easily propagated, so they are good for profits.

Be that as it may, on rereading your initial posting here, you only imply that you live in the PNW, while stating that you consider paulownias an attractive tree that is easily eliminated, and that you feel commercial orchardists are letting apples and pears invade the forests much more than other species are. Oh, and that several east coast nursery owners or spokesmen are hypocritical "plant Nazis". Since the main area in which paulownias are invasive is the east coast, perhaps these people know a bit more about it than you do? And I have to agree that the term Nazi has been a bit trivialized recently, so that the true meaning of the word isn't realized. This does do a disservice to the people who suffered under the Nazi regime, and who fought against them in WWII. Perhaps there should be another pejorative term invented?


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

  • Posted by lkz5ia z5 west iowa (My Page) on
    Sun, May 13, 07 at 10:14

Plant nazies sound like a good term. Who knows what the chemicals to fight invasive plants do to existing life. Paulownia may or not be horrible in the southeast. Never been there to find out, but considering that it is a pioneer plant, I bet most of the plants grow from a human-altered landscape. How many seedlings do you see in virgin land? I really don't get the point some people preach, when these 'invasive' plants are most likely, less harmful to the environment than the very people who are preaching. Look at the whole picture and take it in. Just imagine for a second, that paulownia trees are actually a blessing.


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If anything is a nazi, it is the invasive plants. They are destroying habitat and creating $250 Billion in damage annually in just the US alone.

If you want to call me names, please call me a piece of rotten garbage instead. I'd rather be called any name in the book than a nazi. Here I am trying to help. I do not plant natives exclusively but the exotics that I have are not misbehaving. If in 10 years I find out they are, then I will remove them. I value what natural areas we have left before they come strip malls. I've seen what can happen when you take these things for granted.


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I bought one last spring. Didn't know it then but when planting one should water it once and then let it alone for a week. The heat of the day caused the leaves to wilt and droop so I watered it more and it died immediately. Yep the core is hollow.


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

rmslayer never told us where he/she lives. Regardless of the environmental consequences, how will Paulownia offer more privacy than any other deciduous tree?
When it comes to noxious, introduced weeds, I think either you get it or you don't. I'm really not an evangelist.
JLHudsonseeds does not sound like an unbiased party. Although I'm not familiar with them it sounds like they have a vested interest in importing seed into this country without any restrictions. I visit commercial growers in my part of the country all the time. Believe me, no quality nurseryman grows Paulownia. Those large leaves cast shade, it can and will create a monoculture.
Issafish mentions cherries & apples spreading throughout the forest like the hair on a dog's back. He should understand that this isn't an issue in the mid-Atlantic and we have countless apple/cherry orchards. Which PNW native apple is at risk? Perhaps Malus fusca?
The regional nature of invasive lists is what gives them legitimacy. Here is a credible link from Nat'l Park Svce & US Fish & Wildlife about Paulownia. No nazi nor anyone else has pulled the wool over their eyes. Data collected has come from field observation over a period of many years.
Sam

Here is a link that might be useful: Paulownia - Plant Invaders of the Mid-Atlantic


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

The original poster is from Windsor, NY, according the the zip code posted.


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree


Vouchered specimens in the counties shaded in green


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

I own a Natives Nursery. When I bought the property (Virginia) in 1994 there hundreds of Paradise Tree(alianthus) and just 1 Royal Empress. 13 years later I've slashed and burned the Paradise trees and there is even more but still just one Royal Empress. It's 45' ft tall, 18" cal. and flowers every year. Tons of seed pods but no small trees? Cold weather? Drought? Cows? I don't know but it's not invasive on my farm. I don't grow them as they're listed as invasive, but this one tree doesn't seem to be that fertile.


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They MAY need more than one tree to set seeds - in other words, it may not be self-fertile.

There was a clump growing near me, which has now been bulldozed to put in a new/replacement storage barn. Whether from suckers or from seeds sprouting, it got a little wider each year. Mostly, it was cut annually, to the ground, but would have a few flowers.


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

Grower6...
Invasives are spread by the 3 w's.
Wind, Water and Wildlife.
So if your paulownia is producing seed and is in an area where it is proving to have invasive potential, the seeds may be carried off by wind, water or wildlife into areas far far away from your farm. I also noticed that paulownias can have very aggressive roots and might also spread by root suckers.


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

Take my advice, You don't want one!!!


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You don't need my vote, because some people on this thread have voted by voice several times! (not a problem for me ) However, a world-renowned arborist/horticulturalist, Michael Dirr,writes ""noticed in fall numerous leaves cascading at irregular intervals over the ....lawn; there is always some pick up necessary, old fruit capsules will persist and the tree can really look unkept if they are not removed." he also describes the wood as brittle, the texture coarse, and flower buds often killed in winter.

"This the wonder that appears in Sunday supplements. It does amazing things like "soar 23 feet in two seasons; flower continuously from spring to summer; withstand -25 F and produce leaves 2.5 feet across" The acutal fact is that it does none of the above"

The great man speaks. Listen!


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Depending on exactly where Windsor, N.Y. is a Paulownia might not have a chance to produce progeny - since flower buds are killed below about 0F and no seed will be produced. I've never heard about a root suckering problem, though trees do produce prominent surface roots that could make mowing under them difficult (not that this is likely to be much of a problem, since their shade is so dense that lawn grasses will likely die out in their vicinity).

Paulownia tomentosa would not be my choice for a privacy tree due to the relatively early leaf drop. There's no fall color and as noted flowering will not occur in colder climates. The tree should be hardy at least into parts of zone 5. The tropical effect can be nice, the wood is stronger than often claimed and I think the invasiveness by seed is overstated as the places it colonizes tend to be roadsides and urban waste areas, not virgin habitat.

I think Paulownia sellers are mostly running a racket, selling an overpriced and overhyped product that can be raised cheaply and easily from seed if one wants. There are much better privacy trees.


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I'm in the camp with the folks who favor natives and eschew planting proven invasives, like Paulownia, Ailanthus, Wisteria sinensis, and Pyrus calleryana.
While I'm not in a major sweet cherry growing area, they are grown here, as are apples, and I've never yet seen a cherry seedling other than those of the native P.serotina and P.pennsylvanica. No 'volunteer' plums, either, other than the native P.angustifolia, though edible varieties and the various purple-leafed selections are extensively planted here.
Apples? Rarely will I encounter a seedling crab - and that probably an offspring of one of the tiny-fruited ornamental types, courtesy of the local birds, rather than an actual edible apple or crab. They're certainly not 'thick as hair on a dog's back' - unless you're talking about a Mexican Hairless, Chinese Crested or a beagle with severe hypothyroidism and generalized demodicosis 8>)
The native crabs are pretty uncommon from the outset, but are not displaced, as far as I can ascertain, by the few volunteer apple/crab seedlings that escape to the wild - even those escapees can't keep up with or outcompete the native cockspur hawthorn or the exquisitely invasive Callery pear. For one thing, seedling appples are preferred deer browse, and are rarely able to gain enough 'altitude' to exert any effect on any ecosystem in the eastern US.

That said, my own personal experience with P.tomentosa is not unlike that of Grower 6. There was a solitary Paulownia - planted, I presume, by one of my uncles - at my grandparents' home - it's still standing, and it's at least 50, possibly 60+; I've never seen a seedling anywhere on the 260 acres they owned - or the adjoining 500 acres - but there are no other Paulownia trees anywhere near, so it may be that they are non-self-fertile.
There's also one solitary Paulownia deep in the woods on the north end of my farm here - but I've never encountered a seedling.
But, I do see them commonly growing along hillside cuts and rights-of-way on the highways here in KY, and even saw one growing out of a crack in the mortar about 10 ft up a brick wall in downtown Danville, KY a couple of years back.

Are there some troublesome/invasive natives? Sure. In my native AL, Liquidambar styraciflua and Quercus nigra have attained noxious weed status, of sorts, in the wake of decades of fire suppression. Likewise, here and across the midwest, red and sugar maples are comprising an increasing proportion of our deciduous forests, crowding out the more desirable oaks and hickories which provide more valuable lumber, and mast crops supporting native wildlife.

OK, I've rambled enough.
All in all, it's a pretty trashy tree. Yes, the blossoms are lovely - but for the other 52 weeks of the year, 'it ain't much punkin'. Cut (or frozen) to the ground every year, it will grow vigorously, 10 ft or more, once well established, with huge heart-shaped leaves - but personally, I find the annual castor bean plants to be equally vigorous and much prettier throughout the growing season.


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

idabean, writing about P. tomentosa, Dr. Dirr also stated that "the species has been used in strip mine reclamation in Kentucky", "Cold is its biggest enemy.....It is intolerant of competition and will give way to other species with time". I got the impression that he is not enamored of the species; that its place is more in parkland rather than the home lawn. And my point is that an entry in a "Manual" by a reputable scientist will present all sides and leave it up to the reader to form his/her own conclusions.


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

re: Dirr
I'm appreciative for the completion of Dirr's account. When I limited the citation, it was in mind that we were discussing a residential setting. Nevertheless, the point is well taken that in citing a scholarly article one should not take quotes out of context.

I will also point out that after eating the fruit of a Cornus Kousa, Dirr said - in his big manual- "I'd rather have a Milky Way." Although I do not have the book in front of me, I'm reasonably sure, that's a quote. My point is the man has a sense of humor that fleshes out his scientific observations.


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"In my native AL, Liquidambar styraciflua and Quercus nigra have attained noxious weed status, of sorts"

Really? I don't see either tree on the Alabama noxious weed list.

Perhaps "noxious weed status, of sorts" means "trees Lucky doesn't like". ;)


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

I have three of them I started from seed about ten years ago. I live in a zone five/six cusp. Wanted them for their huge tropical-looking leaves. As the tree ages, the leaves get smaller. The juvenile leaves are awesome and some people keep their's lopped to force continual juvenile leaves. The first few years, the growth rate is very rapid. Comical, almost. But, it seems to slow down as they mature.

My impressions, since I have them? Coarse tree in maturity. Not particularly attractive bark, nor canopy shape. Worthless for privacy, really. Leaf out very late and drop leaves very early. As stated, the seed pods cling to the tree and they are ugly. You will lose the flowering many winters and most years even when you get flowering, it's only noticeable from a distance. Hidden in those big washtub sized leaves. LOL. The fall show is non-existant. The leaves are green and then one morning you awaken and the leaves are brown and matted up like wet newspapers on your grass.

I have had extensive seedlings under and around them when they have flowered, but only in ground what has been "worked" like the vegetable garden or flower beds. Never found them in wooded areas of my property or in turf. Cecropia moths seem to like them as host plants, that is a plus. As with any fast growing tree, I don't suspect the timber is good for firewood. I guess some mail order nurseries are suggesting planting them as a fuel source. Had a guy show up at my nursery asking me about planting some newly aquired acreage in them for lumbering. I told him he'd better research them a bit further. He claimed the mail order nursery stated they were a "new, improved" Empress tree. I asked him if they even once mentioned the tree's botanical name. I don't trust mail order nurseries who need to hang euphamistic names on the plants they sell. BTW, they hadn't. Just called it a Royal Empress Tree. At the price they were offering them, I suspect they were just your typical seedlings, and believe me, just one pod off that tree can plant a whole county if it's viable.

Invasiveness is so dependent on locality. In my area they aren't. Nothing can compare to the ailanthus here for invasive. I have hundreds on my property I hope to girdle and kill one of these days. I certainly didn't plant them. Bradford pears are a close second and burning bushes a good third. There are better choices for privacy and rapid growth, unless you just have your heart set on a Paulownia. Then go for it. But, if you decide after the fact you made a mistake, then you'd better get that chain saw out early on in the game. My trees are enormous by now and I'd suspect to have them professionally removed would run about a grand a tree.


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Uh, no, Eric, let's not be ludicrous. Notice that I wrote, "of sorts", not that those two native species have actually been placed on the noxious weed list.
My 'plantist tendencies' are well known.
While I don't like sweetgum, I don't mind Q.nigra; though, as oaks go, there are others I like a whole lot better, for many reasons.
But...it's not just me. Check out the link below

Here is a link that might be useful: Invasive natives


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

Interesting article, though I'd suggest that their claimed 'natural' fire regime is itself a human artefact that has only operated since Native Americans reached the area in the last 10,000 years or so.

Resin


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

Well, yes, Resin, many fires were set by native Americans, so that does qualify as a "human artefact". I would say there were plenty set by lightning as well, though. The normal summer rain patterns around here call for "scattered, afternoon thunder-showers". As I am sure you know, thunder can strike anywhere around the front of a storm, and the rain may not eventuate in that particular area, to douse any flames. However they were set or originated, in historic or pre-historic times, fires were a major factor in plant species diversity, which has been mostly suppressed in the recent past.


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

Thanks for clarifying that sweetgum is not actually a noxious weed, Lucky.

I did read the article you linked to, and what it suggests is that fire management practices in Georgia are interfering with the normal succession of tree species in a typical forest habitat. The author concludes (on what basis is not mentioned) that bird diversity suffers as a result.

On the other hand, here's a study conducted in the Southeast that found that even if you deliberately plant a solid stand of sweetgum, birds thrive in it just as well as in "natural hardwood forest":

"Interestingly, when we compared populations of habitat-sensitive species (e.g., forest-edge and forest-interior species) in harvest-age (approx. 20 years) sweetgum and sycamore plantings with assemblages detected in the older, mature (approx. 40 years) natural hardwood stands, we found no significant difference between the two habitats."

I accept that you just don't like sweetgum (stepped on a seedball as a barefoot child, maybe?), but equating it with an overhyped, far less useful and ornamental tree like Paulownia is silly.


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

Okay,
I need help. I was in Iraq last year and my wife had a company come in and cut down three Empress trees we had. They were constantly dropping limbs all over the place and grew ever the neighbors fern trees which deprived them of sunlight.

My problem is that the removal service didnt treat the stumps, and now a year later I have these plants springing up all over my yard. Mainly in the stump hole areas, but also along the root system.

Is there any hope of killing this thing off?

After a few weeks of manulally cutting these down, they are back to 4-6 feet high.


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

  • Posted by lkz5ia z5 west iowa (My Page) on
    Tue, Jul 24, 07 at 14:13

There's your problem
"after a few weeks........"

Cut them down daily, as easy as brushing one's teeth.


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

Ranger,
Just go to the local garden center/big box store and get a bottle of Brush-B-Gon or similar product containing 2,4-D & picloram, cut those root sprouts off at ground level, and immediately paint the exposed cambium layer(the thin layer of green tissue just underneath the bark) with full-strength BBG. Additionally, if you can see surface roots, hack/chop around on them, and paint any area where you can expose cambium, for more 'killing potential'. You may still get some new shoots popping up here and there, but judicious use of an appropriate herbicide will eliminate these suckers months/years faster than just cutting alone.


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

Found this thread and wanted to bump it up because of a recent question about this tree.


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

All:
I've read all your articles. Extraordinary! Well Done! I too was looking for advice on if I should plant one. I would like to see shade in my life time on what is now an open lot. My neighbors and I cut our grass. I've seen, by the advertisements that the tree grows quickly, has beautiful flowers and is a shade tree. The ads don't tell the bad. Is it? I have gleaned the following from your writings:
1. Rapid growth - absolutely.
2. Beautiful flowers - sometimes, depends where you live. For me in Ohio, maybe-maybe not.
3. Invasive? - Perhaps not in this area. Under ideal conditions it could be.
4. Is the likely to be the last to leaf out in the spring. Things leaf out here late enough as it is. This is a minus for me personally.
5. It is likely to be the first to lose it's leaves. Not an ideal thing. Another minus.
6. Seed pods hang on the tree after the leaves fall. Could appear messy in the off season. Another minus
7. It does offer dense shade though...and quickly.
It's probably not the right choice for me. Thanks to all of you for your insight.


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

If you are looking for a tree with the following:
Fast growing
Beautiful blooms
Provides large amounts of shade
Large Foliage
Strong

Look no further than the Northern Catalpa tree. I have seen several of these and have two of my own, but down the highway from me in Kansas city, there is a very old Catalpa tree. It must be at least 40 years old. The trunk is roughly 3 to 4 feet in diameter and its beautiful even in the winter due to massive growth, and when it blooms..... WHAT A WONDERFUL SITE. I love these trees and if i had a bigger lot would plant them everywhere.


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I have a paulownia tomentosa (Royal Empress) growing for a few years now. In zone 3, the woody trunk and branches get damaged by the winter temperatures, but it regenerates from the base each spring. This means it never blooms but never sets seed either.

If you let only one single shoot grow it supposedly can become a giant single trunk each year with huge leaves. My plant, however, has only reached about 5 feet high maximum (possibly due to the dry summers or shorter growing seasons). This was an experiment for me and in hindsight I don't think I would have planted it, though the large leaves are sort of neat looking, it basically resembles a sunflower plant, without the huge yellow blossom at the top.

Another catalpa that is worth trying is Chinese Catalpa (catalpa ovata). It's proving hardier than expected in sheltered spots into zone 3. The nice thing is, for those wanting to experiment, catalpas are easily started from seed (which is less of an expense) and my catalpa ovata has bloomed the second year from seed. I also have a catalpa speciosa (northern catalpa) growing in a pot and so far so good.

Glen


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In the Pacific Northwest the empress tree opens its flowers before the leave come on the tree, it is very impressive!

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This tree is growing at the University of Washington Arboretum. The picture was taken in May. There isn't another tree that I know of that has blue flowers and is cold hardy this far north.

Maybe in the future some geneticist will splice a hardy gene into some subtropical tree like jacaranda and we will be able to grow colorful flowering trees this far north, but until then, I am enjoying the Empress tree and to heck with the native plant bigots.


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Here is a close up on the flowers. A big reason why so many people find this tree so attractive to grow.

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Even out of bloom I don't find this tree any more or less attractive than say Acer macrophyllum, another tree with huge leaves that cast grass killing shade and has unattractive winged seeds that it spreads everywhere.


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Yes, the flowers are beautiful! The trees look stunning in the semi-forested farmland behind our home in bloom. I just wouldn't want one in my little yard since I don't find the tree itself attractive enough the rest of the year.


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  • Posted by lkz5ia z5 west iowa (My Page) on
    Fri, Aug 24, 07 at 10:15

Flowers don't look blue.


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Do you remember the Armageddon scene from Planet of the Apes? Charleton Heston is walking along the beach. He is in agony when he comes accross the torch of the Statue of Liberty sticking out of the sand.
That scene would have been perfect with a Paulownia growing out of the torch. Paulownia and Ailanthus are truly the cockroaches of the tree world. You guys in the PNW simply cannot relate to this.
Sam


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Answer to Ikz5ia, they might not be royal blue but to my eyes they are a light blue. The best we can expect for a northern species.

As for sam_md, scientist say that if and when man disappears, that cockroaches will be gone from northern areas. They are tropical species that need the warmth of our buildings to survive. As for Paulownia and Ailanthus, they probably will grow on and be integrated into the natural succession of plant communities. Both of these species are short lived, shade intolerant, pioneer species that would be replaced by the climax shade tolerant species. On the west coast that would be Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata) and Western Hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla), on the the east coast it would be a beech, oak, maple forest.

That's the trouble with many people, their lack of understanding of the ecology of plant communities. They don't see the results of man's activities on the environment, blaming newly introduced species for taking advantage of these activities. They don't understand why climax native plants can't live in these heavily disturbed areas. Even if these exotics were not here, it would take a extreme about of energy, time, and money to maintain a native plant community that barely comes close to what was here before man's activities destroyed the original plant communities. Besides, most people don't want these climax giants near their homes for fear of damage from them.


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Thats why there are pioneer trees like sassafrass and persimmon to replace them in disturbed settings. What many people dont understand about evolutionary biology is that of a niche. Two species cannot occupy the exact same niche in a habitat, over time one pushes out another. Species survive by adapting to slightly different requirements to co-exist, with different strategies This is basic biology 101. Whetever species survives is what has the advantage. But with introduced species, the concern is that the advantage is not with what is best adapted to exploit the resource, but what is the one that has the most advantages. Brewer's Spruce is actually the most competitive species in its habitat, but is handicapped by not being fire adapted. Thus, it is rare. An introduced species might take over a niche not because it is the most competitive and has the best adaptations, but because it escaped the biologic limiting factors of its native lands. If a exotic out competes a native for the same niche, the species count might be more diverse and more abundant for the short term (an almost all human introduced species have been here in the past 300 years, and that is by far the short term) but the one with the best advantage will win and push the other out in the next 1000 years and such. If a plant can escape its pests can push better adapted species out through simply escaping its pests, thats not a triumph of evolution or adaptation, thats a tragedy.


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Just stumbled across this thread. Looks like it's been dead a while, but it's very interesting to me.
A lot of people seem to really hate the Empress Tree, also known as Paulownia. There are several different types, tomentosa, kawakamii, fortuni, elongota, all native to China and hardy in varying zones. The flower color & structure differs slightly depending on the type.
Often times people try to grow them and don't give them time to mature. They are trees that need patience. When they are young they do grow very quickly and have large leaves and a hollow trunk. In colder areas they often die back in the winter.
When the leaves fall they can make quite a mess because of their size, but they are thin and decompose quickly if left alone, or can add valuable nutrients to a compost pile or used as mulch for other plants as they are very high in nitrogen. As they mature the trunk gets denser and they become quite beautifully structured.
They are highly valued in Japan and China where they have been grown for thousands of years. They are woven into folklore, art, and history. The wood is used for furniture and the Japanese military even has a medal shaped as a Paulownia leaf & flowers.
As they mature the leaves get smaller and the flowers appear before the leaves, making them quite stunning in spring.
It is true they seem to be invasive in some areas, especially the south east. In most areas of the country they are not invasive at all.
While there has been quite a lot of hype about these trees recently, they have been around for thousands of years and have not taken over the world yet. In areas where they are invasive they tend to like coming up along roadways and industrial areas where the soil has been disturbed. My personal opinion is good for them for adding a little beauty to areas that have been scarred by humans.
Growing the Empress tree is certainly a personal choice. It works for some people and not for others.
"one mans trash is another man's treasure."
It's important to remember and appreciate how lucky we are to have trees at all.

Here is a link that might be useful: Picture of mature Paulownia Trees


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WildIris:

I just posted the pics for you. I think you like it in Australia because they tolerate drought.

paulownia in flower

rosewoods back plot - view from future bungalow


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  • Posted by rufino z10 Florida (My Page) on
    Thu, Nov 22, 07 at 12:11

wildiris 9,

I read your comments on the royal empress tree with much interest and would like your thoughts on the following hypothetical:

Imagine that North American plants escape from cultivation in China and Japan and become weeds of disturbed areas and that such plants also show signs of invading the forests to which royal empress trees are native. (This is not that far-fetched since China and Japan are beginning to experience major invasions of North American organisms with far reaching consequences. See, for example, the web page titled Invasive Species in China--An Overview.)

As I was saying, let's imagine that the Asian forests to which the royal empress trees are native begin to be invaded by North American woody plants. I am curious as to what advice you would give to the people of China and Japan concerning such plants and whether or not that advice would be the same as the advice you gave us concerning the royal empress tree in the United States.

Regards,
Rufino (who is remembering and appreciating how lucky he is not to have experienced another hurricane in southern Florida this year)


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wildiris: same argument can be used for prickly pear cactus. Its tolerant of drought, woven into American folklore, art, and history, and is pretty in flower and from. Does that mean its a good idea to plant it in Australia ?


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Wildiris,

Those are beautiful pictures. The trees in those pictures really stand out. It is no wonder so many people love these trees for when they flower they are so striking! Even out of flower they are attractive.

I have two of them growing on my city lot. One I allowed to grow into a tree, the other I keep cut back so that I get those huge tropical looking leaves that this causes.

Again, thanks for the pictures.


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  • Posted by rufino z10 Florida (My Page) on
    Mon, Nov 26, 07 at 23:10

A non-invasive alternative to Paulownia tomentosa are lilacs. Visually, many lilcs are essentially identical to Paulownia tomentosa in terms of flower color and abundance of blooms as in this example. The original post that began this thread was an inquiry seeking a planting for privacy and the tall, dense, bushy growth of lilacs will provide all the privacy a gardener might need. Of course, there is also the bonus that lilacs make great cut flowers with at least some of the flowers borne low enough that they are easily accessible...and nothing can compete with the fragrance of lilacs.

Rufino


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Okay, I've just read this forum and now I am terrified! I purchased and Royal Empress this past year and planted at the edge of our one acre yard, a good distance from the house. It currently is about 9".
But now I'm affraid I should uproot it, chop it up in little pieces, and burn them before I destroy our entire ecosystem or something! lol
What should I do???


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I'm just reading this thread for the first time, too, ladybug21 - sounds like you should get rid of it!
I've never planted one - I don't plant anything that's sold in the Sunday paper supplement. For just about any plant sold that way, you can find a native North American relative, in this case, the catalpas, which won't become invasive. Even common native trees, like sweetgum/liquidambar and water oak/q. nigra don't take over like non-natives - there's nothing as bad as the Chinese privet, Japanese honeysuckle, and Japanese climbing fern that I fight constantly just to keep them from strangling my native plants. And sweetgum is the principal host plant for many of the beautiful silk moths, especially luna moths - water oaks make jillions of acorns, which may make them common but they also feed wildlife.
I've planted a few non-natives, but I'm watching them - any sign of invasiveness and out they go! :)
Sherry


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Ladybug, I don't know what part of the country you are from. If you live on the west coast of the United States, the summers are too dry for them to spread, they are not a problem. If you live on the east coast with wet summers you might have a problem. Check you state's agriculture or weed board's web site and see if empress trees are listed. Then make your decision. You could also cut it down in the fall and let one sucker come up in the spring. By the end of summer it will be over twelve feet tall with leaves that are two feet in diameter, giving your garden a tropical look. If you did that every year it would not grow flowers nor set seed, thus not be a problem.

If your state's weed board doesn't list it has being a mandatory removal species, I would keep it, specially if you live in a urban area. They are a beautiful flowering tree. Also there just isn't any really native forest left in urban areas and there wouldn't be no matter how much wishing the native plant people do. Not unless something, like disease, comes along and kills three quarters of our population. Until that happens, it will only get worst with our population growing so fast, so you might as well enjoy a beautiful tree that can handle the pollution, soil compaction, and other things that come with large human populations. Which by the way many of our native species, including pioneer species can't handle.


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If a person were to plant one in the south east in the middle of a pine forest, with twenty year old pines, 20 feet to each side, and thick pine mulch, ... would they seed and become invasive?

Just curious....


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from ellen's link:
"A single tree is capable of producing an estimated twenty million seeds that are easily transported long distances by wind and water and may germinate shortly after reaching suitable soil."
i think your tree that is planted in the forest would have to be a big one to contribute to the negative impact since they are said to flower at 8-10 years old!
they are not suited to growing in that kind of habitat but obviously are able to spread into more open areas.
our current office building was a new construction site several years ago. paulownia (along with mimosa and privet)were the first woody plants to colonize the exposed fill banks. i was unable to find one anywhere in the vicinity so that tells me the seeds are capable of traveling long distances either by wind or hitchhiking.
if our landscape was one big pine forest, i don't think we would have a problem with them. ;-)


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The Empress appealed to me because of the blooms and the reported fast growth. Do catalpa's grow at a reasonable rate, or at least faster than say. . .an oak?


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Catalpa speciosa is said to have a moderate to fast growth rate. Don't think oaks are all alike, there are several fast growing oaks: Check into Quercus coccinea (scarlett oak), Quercus nigra (water oak), Quercus palustris (pin oak).

You don't say where you are, ladybug, so I don't know if all these are hardy to your area, but you can check on that.


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Terry, Empress trees are pioneer species, they need sun. So if you planted it in the shade of a pine forest, they would eventually die, thus not producing any seed and not spread. Even if you planted it in a sunny spot in the middle of the forest, the seeds need bare mineral soil and light to germinate. The seeds falling on and through pine needle duff would be denied both and would not germinate.

Ladybug, Catalpa trees are beautiful but like most hardy trees their flowers are white, so if you like the Empress tree's flower then that is the tree for you. Also I noticed that you live in zone 7 so you are right at the border line where when you have a artic outbreak, some or all of the empress tree's flower buds will be killed. So in the spring you wouldn't either get a flower display or it will be very limited. That would also naturally limit its ability to spread and become a pest. Of course in good years you will get a flower display that you just can't get from any other hardy flowering tree.


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Thanks to everyone, you've all been a big help! : )


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Ladybug I think the catalpa is a fairly fast grower myself.
I grew some out of zone in pots and they got a couple feet the first year from seeds. I don't know if they are going to come back this year so I'm planting empress tree seeds but am keeping them as container trees. I wouldn't want any of these "weed trees" loose down here. We have enough trouble with the pepper trees, carrotwoods and tallow trees.


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Such an interesting thread with many good links...the pictures of the Paulownia trees growing in Australia are gorgeous. Reminds me of both Syringa and Wisteria. But I wouldn't grow Paulownia tomentosa (or Wisteria for that matter) because it is classified as a noxious weed and banned in Connecticut, a neighboring state.

I have many lovely non-invasive non-natives - Peonies, Bearded Iris, Lilacs, as well as some "invasive" natives, such as Pokeberry and certain species of Solidago. Generally non-natives are suspect, even if they have not been shown to be invasive in New England (yet) and particularly if they've been categorized as invasive in other regions of North America.

Buddleia is invasive in some parts of the US, but apparently not where I live perhaps because zone 5 is too cold. I have a couple and they've never reseeded and a harsh winter can kill them. They have luxurious flowers and lovely fragrance, and the pollinators love them. But if Buddleia starts popping up in the fields across the street, I'd have to pull them.

That term "native plant Nazis" is yet another sad example of the Trivialization of what the Nazis did during WWII.

Not just sad, but ludicrous. To juxtapose "native plant" and "Nazi"? What could be more natural than the indigenous flora and fauna that evolved in a region over thousands of years without any interference from human activity?


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terrene,

I believe people use the term Nazis as a quick term to describe people who are ignorant, bigoted, narrow minded people who force their beliefs onto the majority of other people. If you don't like that term, what suggestion do you have for someone of this mind set?

I find many so called native plant people are like this to the point they treat their native plant beliefs like it is a religion. The Nazis in Germany not only pushed their evil, misguided beliefs about the so called ideal German race, but their manifesto also pushed native plants over non-native. Like many of our native plant fanatics, they didn't want non-natives breeding and competing with the idea German native plant, or in our case, the so called native American plant.

"...indigenous flora and fauna that evolved in a region over thousands of years without any interference from human activity?", this statement of yours is not true as the American Native people managed the forest and grasslands of American for thousands of years before Europeans arrived. For example in the Pacific Northwest, the oak prairies found in Western Washington and Oregon were created by Indians who burnt the grasslands under the oaks to keep other native plants from competing with the oaks, since the Indians harvested the acorns. They managed the plants, and it is thought that they moved them, the oaks, to places that they were not native, spreading their range. It has now been over a hundred years since the Indians did this management, so both native, Douglas fir, and exotics, Scots broom, are moving into these oak prairies. These two plants, one native, one exotic are threatening the existents of some rare plants that have adapted to thousands of years of man managed habitat. So the question is how far back do we need to go to truly call our forest and grasslands native. Indians came here ten thousand years ago, is that when we start? If so, then there are plants that where here when Europeans arrived, but not when Indians arrived, should they be removed.


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There's a difference between Native Americans moving plants around, and modern (primarily European descent) people moving plants around.

When the Native Americans did so, they only moved them relatively short distances, so the plants' associated flora and fauna (fungi, insects, etc., that use it) were able to keep up with it, and keep it in balance with the general ecosystem.

Modern plant introductions however commonly involve intercontinental movement, and commonly move the plant in isolation from its associated flora and fauna, leaving nothing to keep the plant under control. That's typically when major problems start to occur.

Resin


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To me any plant that is invasive and weedy such as a Royal Empress Tree is just a ugly and offensive plant to me, no matter how many blooms they have or how beautiful people say they are. I would never want to plant one. All they do is take over the place and push out and threaten native plants that don't have a chance, and also mess up the delicate balanced ecosystem that can cause many negative chain reactions. Invasive plants are just plain nasty to me. The worst ones to me around here are: Chinese Privet, Japanese Honeysuckle, Kudzu, and Silk Tree.


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I think you are lumping a large number of people under a extreme definition, and thats hardly fair. And what the Nazis did is nothing at all like what native plants people do. They dont enslave, they dont go into your garden and destroy your plants. Its a trivialization to equate anything the Nazis did to plants, and offensive. If you want to use a word, use xenophobia - "an intense fear or dislike of foreign people, their customs and culture, or foreign things" even though that does not describe most native plant proponents either.

Resin, agreed.


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The above three post just made my case about fanatic native plant people, case closed!

By the way Fledgeling, native plant people do go into your garden and destory your plants through their representatives on the Weed Boards. These weed boards will contact you to tell you to either get rid of those plants yourself or they will do it for you and charge you for their cost. Sounds like police state action to me.


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Don't get me wrong, I think all plants that are said to be invasive are very great and beautiful in the right location, where they won't spread super fast and take over the area in overwhelming numbers. Of course the best location is there native home where they are naturally controlled by native insects and other plants that are naturally used to them, or in a place were they can't reseed if growing in a nonnative place. But in nonnative areas and climates were they can spread very rapid, it is not good to let trees and plants endanger native plants, and I feel the same the other way also, I would not want a nonnative plant or tree endangering plants of other countries either. It's clearly obvious to try to help the ecosystem of a location if another species is being endangered. There have been many returns of endangered species back to there normal and natural populations with the help of people that understand this.


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I am not a native plant person, I have many exotics in my garden, but clearly any discussion with you in the subject is useless. Resin is a man knowledgeable about conifers and does not suggest only natives. If we disagree with you we are native plant fanatics, I see...

Your posts have been inflammatory and caustic, and clearly it is not worth anyones time to try and have a reasoned discussion with you

I could say so much more, but I should stop typing now. I leave it to the reader to decide who is a fanatic.


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Issafish, while I am very much in favor of self-determination, I even more strongly believe that, as the old saying goes, "Your right to swing your fist stops before the end of my nose!" If a plant that you are growing is heavily impacting other people and other properties, then I do think they have a right to take action. If it takes using a Weed Control Ordinance to do so, I am sorry.

I am absolutely NOT in favor of using Weed Control laws to block people from growing wildflower gardens (esp. of natives), but that's for another posting.


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>>The above three post just made my case about fanatic native plant people, case closed!<<

Anybody who preach intolerance for non native plants on a basis that it outcompetes native plants use the same excuse as nazis had in Germany. Nazis got to power by convincing ordinary Germans that for creating prosperity it is neccesary to eliminate"non native"people that were destroying(outcompeting) their economy and cultural heritage.

If we want Native American plants survive we must exterminate those plants that THRIVE in this country but came here from Europe or Asia.

I wish all those "nature protectors" extend their philosophy on people... and request all people who are descendands of their grand grand dads in England, Spain and couple dozen of other countries to return to their ancestorial lands. If Dames Rocket after a few centuries can't be native here I see no reson why almost 300 millions humans living in this country can live here. Komanches or Apache did not issue single visa or even invite us here for vacation.
Today in America people are looking for scapegoat for the harm they did to environment in their pursuit of happines and it is easier for them to sacrifice some even beautiful or useful plants instead of their mansions ,hummers, boats and thousands of other incredible things that pile up on mountains of dump sites polluting air and water. I can be ticketed for growing mimosa tree burning bush bush or loosestrife but I can play on thousands of acres of chemicaly sustained golf fields, ride a motor speedboat on beautiful lake and have three cars in my garage. My lawn is pristine not single dandelion escape chemlawn service. Sometimes I feel guilty and worry what global warming can do to my grandkids but to feel better I can convince my neighbour to get rid of that terrible (although quite atractive) Russian Olive tree and even shovel prune of my butterfly bush. This way birds and butterflies will be as rare in my backyard as worms in my lawn.
In state I live millions of acres of geneticaly modified corn are growing and in a few decades we will drive our vehicles on fuel made from this crop. The problem with kudzu could be easily solved without spending milions of dollars to genetily manipulate the existing crops. Buy a couple thousands goats and they will eat those monstrous plants and their milk can be turned not only into fuel but tasty cheese and their meat can be eaten too if mad cow desease destroy our hamburgers and filet mignons :-)

When midwest will turn into something like Sahara those that fight russian olive mimosa tree will not be alive but it would be nice if they would think about lives of their kids and grandkids and not about restoring precolonial landscape.

JanuszB


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I think this topic should just end, and that people not rise to bait posts that throw in irrelevant red herrings just to get people going.


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Just to put my 2 cents in I must say that I cannot tell you how many hours I was out with tools working with forest service volunteers to eradicate the powlonias from the forests in Tennessee. To use a total cliche "They spread like WILDFIRE!" Whenever people came in to ask what that "beautiful flowering tree" was along the roadways we wanted to hand them a shovel and say "Have at it." For the record, the could also be found deep in the woods. Deciduous woods, though. So I guess they had enough light.

If you really want one please feel free to come to my house here in Georgia and dig up the one that somehow rooted by the deck of my guesthouse. I have tried dang near everything to kill it and it will not die.


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Well, I just received 100 seeds from a seller in Texas. I put them in containers and am really looking forward to seeing these things for myself. They aren't around here at all. Plenty of pepper trees and castor been (and some other that has these long seed pods and little leaves, don't know what they are but they are as common in this area as pepper.
I'll take a pic one day of them and post it. You know I saw a castor bean that has seeds on it's first season? Crazy!


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It looks like this thread has been going on for a while. I just found it and I can sympathize with both sides of this debate.

We started getting into tree and plant identification just over a year ago. At the time it did not bother me whether a tree was native or not. Actually I found people who insisted on only planting natives annoying. What difference could it possibly make?

Two things changed my mind. First we went on a walk in Kelley park near Cincinnati on route 126 (check it out if you live near there). That place is completely infested with bush honeysuckle to the point that the native trees and plants cannot compete. Walking through the trails is literally like walking through a tunnel of honeysuckle. We could not find a single tree sapling as they cannot compete with the honeysuckle. There were only larger trees that, as they die off, will be replaced with honeysuckle. This forest is doomed and will someday be a gigantic honeysuckle patch. If you have ever driven through Cincinnati you will note that the entire area is infested with bush honeysuckle - the green bushes line every highway through and around the city and as I stated are overtaking the parks.

The second event which changed my mind about invasive plants: In January we purchased 40 acres of recreation land in Adams county, Ohio (south central Ohio, zone 6). We started to identify all of the tree species and found sugar maples, all kinds of oaks, tulip poplars, paw paw trees, hickories and these stupid looking stick things that were not in any of our winter tree identification books. They were everywhere. Finally we figured out what they were from the ODNR - princess trees and/or tree-of-heaven (they look the same in the winter). We have THOUSANDS of these ugly saplings growing all over the property and have spent countless days trying to get rid of them (only using a saw and pulling out the saplings). Recently we discovered where all of the saplings were coming from when we discovered three huge mature princess trees on the property. I cut all three down and counting the rings the trees were all about 30 years old. The ODNR told us that they could not survive Ohio's cold winters - WRONG. One winter in about 1985 it hit -26 degrees F in southern Ohio and these trees survived. Now they are taking over Adams county. There are patches of our property that have only princess trees as the native trees cannot compete with their rapid growth. If left alone I am sure that the entire forest would someday be nothing but princess trees analogous to Kelley park and the bush honeysuckle.

These trees are so ugly in the wintertime. When young they do look like thick sticks for several years. When older they retain their seed pods through the winter and just look horrible (the seed pods are what helped us identify the older trees).

Now I am on a business trip in Clarksville, TN now, and can spot Tree-of-heaven lining every highway and roadside throughout Clarksville. Hey Clarkvillians, have fun with that!

Arguing that people who don't want non-native plants to displace native plants are "nazis" and "hypocrites" is absurd. Saying that because the Europeans killed off and displaced all of the native Americans therefore we should allow non-native trees to invade is even more absurd. Yes, the Europeans decimated the human AND tree populations. I cannot do anything about what our ancestors did to the Indian populations, but I am doing what I can to return the land to what it previously was before the Europeans arrived - a thick forest of beech, birch, oak, maple and other native trees. I am doing this out of respect for the native Americans. At least I can try to return the land that they respected and worshiped (yes worshiped) as it was.


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Now spring has arrived, I run everyday in North Virginia. I am appalled to see Japanese honeysuckles shrubs. Some are planted by house owners. I never pay attention to any of these before. Now I find these are absolutely garbage the flowers are thin and small, the fragrant is the faintest. I mean if it is an attractive plant, I would not complain. But the semi-wild bush honeysuckles are neither beautiful, nor fragrant!

I have a little different opinion on the princess trees. They can survive in cold weather. I have seen these in upstate NY. They are reliable source for firewood. You just harvest them and use them, especially when oil is getting expensive. I would not imagine using cherry trees as firewood.


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A friend has a Paulownia sapling only four inches high and has noticed the leafs edges turning brown or crisp. Could this be the result of too much water?? Please advise.


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its ears are burning


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My take on this thread:
I really, really wish plant geneticists could create a sterile, tetraploid paulownia with huge, deeper blue flowers. Weed tree, yes, but unlike ailanthus they can be VERY attractive and are really the closest to the effect of a Jacaranda you can get in a temperate climate. (and yes, of course, Jacarandas are pest trees in some areas)


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I know this is an old thread, but it's so fascinating and relevant I couldn't bear to see it die. I think comparing Paulownia to the Jews and gypsies in WWII is totally valid; in fact, I can't think of a better way to describe the unprovoked holocaust on non-native species. I mean, who are we to question the wisdom of our forefathers in bringing invasive plants here, or killing native people, for that matter? And those mail order nurseries that push Paulownia and other so-called invasive plants, I'm sure they just want to share the beauty of these plants with all of us, and it has nothing to do with money.

Ah, Nazi Germany... issafish, you really know how to turn a metaphor. Amazing. And that stuff about the vast apple and cherry conspiracy -- captivating.

I plant and propagate native trees, non-native trees, and 'almost native trees' -- the ones that wouldn't normally grow this far north. I research what I grow to make sure it's not going to be invasive, with my bamboos being the only exception. With those, I use effective containment methods and if I have to kill them, I can. I kill Scotch broom and English ivy every chance I get. I report knotweed when I see it on other people's property, and if someone had an invasive plant in my neighborhood and I couldn't get the person to remove it, I might do it myself in the middle of the night if I thought it posed a legitimate threat to native species. So I guess I'm a plant Nazi, because I value biodiversity. Wait...

The other thing I'm wondering, from januszb's post, is where I should live, since I'm part white and part native American. I guess I should buy houses in England, Wales, Ireland, Norway, and Oklahoma, and split my time between them. Or just kill myself. Or maybe I could just not compare people to plants, especially since human beings are all the same species, and we're talking about plants of different species competing for the same ecological niche. But I guess some people have to be the dumb ones so the rest of us can have a point of comparison to make us feel better on those rare occasions when we do get something wrong. I can always say to myself, ' At least I'm not januszb, who doesn't know the difference between a species and an ethnic group, or issafish, who thinks noxious weeds should be protected from conservationists if they're pretty.' Yeah, I'm feeling pretty competent right about now.

If my neighbor throws his trash over my fence, he and I are going to have a problem. If he throws trash on the side of the road, he and I are going to have a problem. If he plants a tree that sends up seedlings in my yard and along the roadside, competing with my plants and the native plants in our area, he and I are going to have a problem. Sounds pretty reasonable to me. People don't get to do whatever they want without consequences, because our actions affect each other; I don't get to dump toxins into the creek running across my property or burn plastic in my yard, and even if I was allowed to, I wouldn't. Likewise, even if you're allowed to grow an invasive plant, you shouldn't, because it's unethical and it affects the rest of us.

Maybe Paulownia's a good-looking tree; I don't happen to think it is, but that's just me. But it seems the reason most people buy them is that they want big trees, right now, for cheap, and that's not very reasonable or mature. Yeah, it would be nice, and I'd like someone to invent a magic fertilizer spike that would make all of my trees grow ten times faster, but unfortunately I have to live on planet Earth, where things don't always work the way I want them to. So I can either spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on specimen trees, move to a property that already has big trees, or I can be patient. And I'd rather have to wait half a lifetime for the right tree than to have some big, ugly piece of crap right now. Not to mention the blooms on my rhododendrons and flowering cherries kick Paulownia's ass all over the place, and if I want blue, I just plant blue trees like blue spruce, blue Lawson's cypress, silver dollar eucalyptus, etc. And for zone 8, the silver dollars are awesome, by the way, and not invasive in the NW -- they grow a few feet a year and get very full. Not very wind resistant if they get too scraggly, so I trim them too keep more bulk at the bottom..


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

Whoa, did you reopen this thread just to take people on, and start a fight with everyone who ever posted to it? I've read and re-read it and cannot figure out what constructive information or helpful perspective you've added to this old conversation. I hope people will do better than I'm doing and resist answering this diatribe.


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

>>I report knotweed when I see it on other people's property, and if someone had an invasive plant in my neighborhood and I couldn't get the person to remove it, I might do it myself in the middle of the night if I thought it posed a legitimate threat to native species.<<

There were people in this country that did such things... to other people... because they THOUGHT they posed legitimate threat to...????? Some were burning crosses other churches... some pepople think they can play gods...

>>So I guess I'm a plant Nazi, because I value biodiversity<<

You mean native biodiversity?

>>The other thing I'm wondering, from januszb's post, is where I should live, since I'm part white and part native American<<

You have right to live where you were born or allowed to live.I wish you give the same rights to Norway Mapple or Russian Olive, but if you care about biodiversity so much maybe instead figting with burning bushes paulownia trees and other terrible things you should "in the middle of the night" destroy some of those Hummers, golf courses and McMansions???

>>Yeah, it would be nice, and I'd like someone to invent a magic fertilizer spike that would make all of my trees grow ten times faster, but unfortunately I have to live on planet Earth, where things don't always work the way I want them to.<<

I agree 100 percent... you are living on planet Earth where nature not always grow plants the way you would like to and that is why WE THE PEOPLE need to protect even the weeds. Only such "thugs" can compete with OUR CIVILIZATION. You like it or not but for the few billions of years adapt or die law ruled this planet. Rare fern or orchid, elm or flowering dogwood will not stop Arctic meltdown, if you want to breath clean air stop fighting those that have best chance to adapt to our pollutted world.

JanuszB


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Steve and Janus are too funny. Yeah, I heard 900 million Native Americans perished after the arrival of European type of the same species. Lol.


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

I planted 2 empress trees in May 2008 knowing nothing about them. After reading all of this info, I would like to know if I am understanding this correctly.....

1. As long as these trees do not flower then they do not seed?
2. They do not flower until 8-10 years of age?

3. If you continue to cut the tree back it will never flower?

Am I correct in these 3 points or should I just pull them up so not to worry? I would not like to upset my neighbors w/little unwanted seedlings in their yards!!

Here is a link that might be useful: photobucket


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

It appears I have come late to this conversation but aside from all the Empress bashing because of invasive means, blah, blah, blah, I wanted to share with you a wonderful experience I have had. There is a new hybrid species of Empress out there called the Empress Splendor. It shares the fast growth rate of the Tomentosa but does not contain any invasive qualities.

The leaves have provided excellent shade for me and I am in awe of the flowers that the Splendor blossoms. If anyone has any questions regarding this tree and my experience, let me know. I picked them up here, www.worldtreetech.com; I believe they are the only company that sells them. Take a look for yourself?


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Commet retracted!

After re-reading my own message I realize that I may have sounded quite sarcastic about an issue (invasive non-native plants) that is probably quite serious in the U.S. today. So, I would like to apologize for that.

That is why I find it important to inform people of the Splendor that are looking for fast growing trees that do not seed. It's the sure solution for a terrible reputation that has plagued the Empress name for far too long; because of the Tomentosa.

Sorry if anyone took offense to my original post...


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

  • Posted by lkz5ia z5 west iowa (My Page) on
    Sun, Jul 20, 08 at 15:56

lol, sure,sure , curtisg, you sound like a spokesman for that company, and you signed up the exact date you posted that 'ad'.

I have paulownia elongata and paulownia tomentosa. I have been growing poisonous castor beans for big-leaf effect, but they haven't been doing that good, so I'm going to stick solely with paulownias.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

lkz5ia,

That's okay, I have been accused of being a spokesperson for the Splendor a few times but I have just started getting into planting and the results I have had with this tree have been amazing for me. I wanted to find a place where I could post and share that with everyone, I don't mean it to come out as an 'ad'. I only know that company as the only place to get them.

If you are planting Paulownia's that's great! My point is to dispel a lot of the negative press that Empress' have received over the years only because one derivation has been put on the dangerous species list. (The Tomentosa for it's invasive qualities) as I am sure you have experienced with growing them as well. Do you notice the same with the Elongata's? My guess would be they do not share that characteristic? I hear that they are also more cold hardy. The Splendor derives from both the Elongata and the Fortunei....


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  • Posted by lkz5ia z5 west iowa (My Page) on
    Mon, Jul 21, 08 at 13:52

So how do you know that the splendor isn't invasive. Has it truly been around long enough to even decide that? I doubt it. The difference between our two posts is that you are advertising The splendor. Notice I never mentioned where I got my elongata. It is also not just a run of a mill seedling, but a superior selection that is tissue cultured.

I've only had them for like 3 years, so I can't tell any difference between the two, other than leaf structure. I don't even know if they will be top hardy enough to maintain a tree presence in the landscape here, but I hope they will. They would be a nice lumber and shade tree that is sorely needed to help heal this scarred land.


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I think I have these things growing all over my lawn. My property backs up to a wildlife preserve, which is great, but it makes any dreams of a green lawn pretty much a pipe dream.

I sprayed the 30 or so that popped up in the lawn, but there is one on the side of the house that is about 5' tall already.

Can anyone confirm for me if this is the same tree? Royal Empress, Princess Tree, Paulownia tomentosa, etc.


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  • Posted by lkz5ia z5 west iowa (My Page) on
    Wed, Jul 23, 08 at 14:54

lawns are sooo yestercentury. Take out the lawn and make something useful out of your little space.


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The empress is a beautifull tree. I would leave the bickering for the ridiculous old forest lumber piranhas that are destroying the best and the oldest trees all over the planet, Australia, New Zeland, South America, North America, Europe, Asia, Oceania, etc.

I will never know how a 500 feet Eucalyptus Regnans looks like, or a 300 ft Blue Gum Eucalyptus, never mind the old sequoias, Redwoods, etc.


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  • Posted by lkz5ia z5 west iowa (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 3, 08 at 12:40

Don't forget the ancient 200ft tall paulownias that were cut down in China when Japan occupied such territory, and were using the giants' lumber in zero planes.


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sorry but does any one actually have any usefull information to provide here? i posted months ago and i come back and find nothing but bickering about crap that i don't even want to take the time to read.

to add my yard is completley done now i planted reywood ash, still considering one of these right in the middle of the yard in the grass to provide some shade in the middle but i dont know how it will grow.


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

Useful information to follow (I hope):

Paulownia does grow fast, and it has amazing leaves. Another similar-looking plant, with leaves a bit smaller, and a little slower growing, is Catalpa. There are several species of each genus, and each species has its merits.

If you like the big leaves, are concerned about possible invasive tendencies, and would not be disappointed if they didn't flower, then consider planting Paulownia or Catalpa as a pollarded trees. (See Pollarding). Or else, plant the smaller species/varieties to suit the size of your garden.

Pollarding will allow you keep the tree the size you want it without overgrowing your yard, will have an abundance of huge juvenile foliage in the spring; but can look "funny" to some people, and may not flower. But, pollards need to be begun at a young age, and must be pruned as a pollard every year or two, forever. If you allow a pollard to "go wild", you will have a plant with some weak crotches and horrible form.

I grow Catalpa in my garden; am starting to pollard some.

Cheers!


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I live in Texas (suburb to the Houston area) and have thoroughly enjoyed my two Paulownia trees I purchased from a S. Carolina nursery. With the exception of this particular summer, we usually have very wet summers and it also stays very humid because of the Gulf Coast.

As far as I am aware, I am the only person in my area with this type of tree. I put tomato cages around them when they were first planted to keep the children from running them over. I have neighbors that stop in their cars and gawk at the sheer size these beauties have become in 1.5 years. They maxed out around 13 feet tall the first year (with a gorgeous display of purple flowers in the spring) and have shot up another six feet or so in the past six months. I have pruned them to start their canopy about 7 feet high. I WISH these guys would spread or send out shoots! I see nothing invasive about them. Sure I get the occasional sprout off the main trunk, but nothing in my yard or surrounding area. (One tree is in my front yard, the other in the backyard). I want to say the over-spray from the lake fountain has enhanced the growth of the one in my backyard.

Now we have bananas that go nuts here. Horribly invasive. Seeding from Pecan and Oak trees also invasive. But the Paulownia Orienta is just fine, contained and absolutely gorgeous!


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  • Posted by lkz5ia z5 west iowa (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 14, 08 at 9:50

andie, andie, andie...Now I'm not against the Paulownia tree, I'm just against stupid posts. And you spouting off how your 1.5 year old paulownia isn't invasive, but the 100 year old pecans around the area are invasive lacks any common sense. Obviously, you never read through this long topic, and now we all see you as an ignorant fool. But on the upside, most of the people in your ignorant circle of friends probably don't even know what a paulownia is, so at least you look smart in that circle. But realize when you come onto a nerdy site like this, you are bound to meet people that have more wisdom about such things than you do.


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  • Posted by lkz5ia z5 west iowa (My Page) on
    Tue, Aug 19, 08 at 23:28

lol, wow mdane, this is getting hilarious. You are quoting a company's website, a company that is trying to sell that tree. Of course they aren't going to say its invasive. You are the second person spouting off about the Empress Splendor, and just like the other person that 'advertised' that tree on this thread, you joined on the exact date that you posted here.
And how about you read what Andie wrote. That person already said which Paulownia they had, the Paulownia orienta.


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Wow, over a 100 post

That sure shows how passionate people are about this tree one way or another.

John


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

I bought this Royal Empress tree about four years ago because the company assured me that their trees were special and would not be invasive. The tree didn't spread at all, but someone else on here told me that it's only because I didn't have it long enough. It's so pretty, but I wouldn't want one if it's going to be invasive. Are there ANY varieties that aren't invasive in the south, specifically in zone 8?

Here is a link that might be useful: Royal Empress Tree


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  • Posted by lkz5ia z5 west iowa (My Page) on
    Fri, Sep 5, 08 at 11:27

Only way their tree is special is if you cut it down every year, and then it won't flower. If you get flowers, you get seed. So you just have to look at the positives and negatives of such.


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Humans are the most invasive species on the planet. Should all people of European decent be removed since they do not belong in North America? But then, neither are the native Americans since they came here from Asia. So maybe they should be removed too? Well, I guess the Europeans did a good job of that though. So using the same logic as the native plant purist, there should be no humans in North America. We should all kill ourselves since humans cause far more damage than even the worst of the worst invasive species...Conclusion, if you like the tree, grow it..


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lkz5ia, in my first post on 8/19, I missed where brown eyed andie specified that he/she had a Paulownia orienta, so I apologize for saying "For all anyone knows, this [Empress Splendor] is the variety that brown eyed andie has in his/her yard." I want to give credit where credit is due. I truly can only comment on the tree that I have, the EMPRESS SPLENDOR, which only produces STERILE SEEDS and therefore CAN NOT SPREAD and is completely NON-INVASIVE. I have no affiliation with the company that produces this tree, so I was not then, nor am I now "advertising" or "spouting off" any information about this tree on their behalf. I am only giving the facts of this particular variety through my own experience and research and because of my love for my tree. It is actually a very common practice for companies or growers that produce genetically modified cultivars of plants to produce non-reproducing cultivars. Among other genetic manipulation technologies used, they use what is called "terminator technology" to initially produce plants that produce non-viable seeds as a means to protect the interest and investment the company has spent in research and development of the new cultivar. Otherwise anyone would be able to collect the seeds of the plant they produced and the company would loose the money spent developing their product. When you buy one of these plants, you are therefore usually buying a clone since cloning is the only possible way to produce enough plants for retail purposes. Ever wonder why or how companies like Monrovia develop so many different plant cultivars that they call "exclusive" that arent even available through any other grower? Not every new plant produced is due to mere cross-pollination. I agree with you that most Empress trees, especially Paulownia tomentosa can be very invasive but that doesn't mean that all 40+ varieties of empress trees are all the same. Also, I disagree with you when you posted "Only way their tree is special is if you cut it down every year." True, within the first year, if the tree doesn't reach at least 10 ft. you should cut it down and let the growth start over again, but you should not cut the tree down every year. Doing so would never produce a beautiful mature tree. You also treat Empress Splendor trees to be used for plantation lumber production differently than one you might plant in your front yard. As far as my posting the same day that I joined this forum, that fact has no bearing on whether or not I know what Im talking about. The bottom line for all of you who want a non-invasive empress treeTHE EMPRESS SPLENDOR IS A NON-INVASIVE EMPRESS TREE THAT ONLY PRODUCES STERILE SEEDS.


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  • Posted by lkz5ia z5 west iowa (My Page) on
    Sat, Oct 11, 08 at 1:18

This should be entertaining then. Show the research you've done on the empress splendor, showing that the seeds are in fact sterile. Have you actually done a germination test on the seed to come to that conclusion?

There is no point rambling on about information that doesn't pertain to the issue. World tree technologies would not create a plant that had sterile seed so that someone else couldn't propagate it by that method. Why? because it can be easily clonal propagated and get the exact replica. The whole point of empress splendor is to have a genetically superior paulownia clone for fast growth. They mentioned their clone isn't invasive just for sugarcoating reasons, since everyone is so afraid of invasives these days....


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oo, this is gettin' good! Now let's not all bicker and fight with each other and call each other fools, etc. Keep it civil, I mean after all , we all love plants, trees, etc.That's why we come to this site anyway. I think anyone should grow whatever they want, invasive or not, but just be responsible about it; get rid of those seed pods before they have a chance to spread all around. I'm just tickled that one of my mimosas actually bloomed this year in Portland. NO pods formed.


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lkz5ia this has become pointless. The only thing I know is that the seeds that my Empress Splendor produces have not grown in my yard or flower beds nor my neighbors yards or flowerbeds just as I was told they would not do when I purchased the tree. Of course someone else could clonal propagate this tree (just as World Tree Technologies now does) but when I purchased the tree I had to agree not to do so otherwise I would face a lawsuit if caught. The same was true for the company that produced the patent roses that I used to sell. I really wish you would add this particular empress tree to the two varieties that you previously said you already own. I think you would be as surprised and delighted as I have been. As for those reading this thread, please research everything you read and don't just take the advise of those of us who waste our time bickering over such trivial topics. I love my tree and that's that. Warmth and best wishes to you all.


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  • Posted by lkz5ia z5 west iowa (My Page) on
    Tue, Oct 14, 08 at 10:33

According to their website, empress splendor is hardy down to zero degrees, so its not a good one to add. When I decided to buy paulownia trees, I looked at all the suppliers. World tree technologies didn't even have empress splendor listed in the early 2000's. They had 4 clones that had names like ruby, saphire, and forget the others. They were 4 different species that were sold, but the prices were too high. Also, I understand that a company is going to push the good points of a tree, but world tree technologies goes overboard with their empress splendor propaganda. That's a pretty big statement to say THEIR tree is the fastest growing hardwood in the world.

"Wendy Burton, founder of World Tree Technologies, Inc., says they researched and created the hybrid through cloning. The 12 different existing Empress varieties were studied and the two most hardy trees, the Fortuni and Elongota, were chosen and spliced together to create the hybrid they call the Empress Splendor.

"The Empress Splendor is the fastest growing hardwood tree in the world, growing four times faster than any other tree," says Wendy. "When mature, they have roughly 24 to 36 inch diameter trunks, and are 50 to 60 feet tall." "


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Need some answers. Planted a mail order Paulownia about 4 years ago in back yard and it's now 30' tall. Been cutting the bottom branches off since early growth so the leaf branches are now about 10 ' from the ground. Now have some serious concerns with the root growth.
PROBLEM No. 1. ... A large root (about 6" wide and 6" in height) is only about 6" below ground surface and has now lifted a PVC drainage pipe. The PVC is now bellied up considerably and will eventually crack as the root grows larger. This root is growing on the side of the tree that's away from the house and toward the back of the yard. opposite
PROBLEM No. 2 ... The side of the tree facing the house is only about 8' from my concrete patio. I don't see any visible root signs yet but I am now very, very, very concerned that a similar sized root will destroy my expensive patio concrete.

A. If I cut the root under the PVC pipe will the tree die?
B. Should I dig a large and deep trench to find out if there
is a large root growing toward my patio and house?
C. Is it possible that the roots growing toward the patio
are very short or deep because there is less water to be
sucked up there as compared to the roots growing away
from the house ?

D. Should I just get rid of this tree? If so, how do I
completely kill this thing?
Fact of the matter is the tree is a great conversation piece and I'd like to keep it. Can I replant the pods or seed or a piece of the root somewhere else in my yard that's away from everything?
PLEASE HELP. Thanks.


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

Freddy, the help you need should come from a licensed arborist who physically comes out for an inspection and recommendation, not an online message board. You have some serious issues that no one in here can be much help on if they're not on the scene.


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

Bumping this thread should be a crime.


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

  • Posted by lkz5ia z5 west iowa (My Page) on
    Tue, Nov 25, 08 at 10:37

Lacy, what's the purpose in that link. Is it to show you that some nurseries are trying to rape us of money-charging insane sums of money for something as mundane as a paulownia?
Also, there are NO native paulownia in the U.S.


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

If you still haven't got a new tree, try to find a non-invasive breed of Paulownia. Try to find the fastest growing one that produces sterile seed, since you want a fast growing tree. You only need one to have many, I hear. Search up propagation methods.


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Trees created as sterile don't always stay sterile. A recent example is the ornamental pear. 'Bradford' was introduced as sterile and it was. Then they introduced other cultivars like 'Cleveland Select'. Now these two can cross pollinate each other and 'Bradford' pears are producing viable seed (as are the 'Cleveland Select' pears). A guy in my neighbor has both and they are all loaded with fruit. He also has baby ones coming up ....


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I am having trouble getting my trees to grow. I planted ten and 3 did not make it at all, 4 died back and is now about 1" tall. 2 look like they will do good (about 4" now) and 1 just does not seem to want to do anything. I planted them about 2 months ago. What am I doind wrong?


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  • Posted by lkz5ia z5 west iowa (My Page) on
    Sat, Jun 20, 09 at 20:19

too much shade, too cool of weather, waterlogged soil are a few of the common reasons your paulownia may not be growing. Can't really know from limited info you've given. They are heavy feeders, so your soil may even be exhausted prior to even planting them.


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there is no shade however, we have had lots of rain here in Detroit and the weather has been uneasily cool. I did use miracle grow when I planted them.


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I love them but bought 100 seeds off ebay and none of them came up.


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I live in the PNW and have a 10yr old Empress tree planted in the SW corner of my small yard next to the top of a small retaining wall and 14' from the corner of the house; the tree is about 25' tall. I planted it there when we moved in to provide quick shade for the SW corner of our house.
I have just noticed this year that 2 major roots have surfaced, one near the corner of the house on one in my neighbors yard which means the root went under and on other side of the retaining wall; both have produced suckers which can easily be broken off.
Also, we are currently experienceing a heat wave - 90 and low 100 (norm is 70) and as I was inspecting the rest of my yard for where to water next, I noticed clusters of earwigs stuffed in the holes left behind when limbs were removed as well as under flaps of bark. There is also an abundance of a bark-colored bug all over the trunk as well.
Question: Could this simply be the bugs looking for some place cool during the heat wave or could they be infesting the tree since this is not a hard wood tree?
My other question is will the roots invade my sewer/water pipes or do damage to the house foundation?


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

It's a shame that SOME people (hypocrites) complain about "invasive" species, while they themselves are descendants of immigrants or immigrants themselves.

I agree that KUDZU is evil, because it takes down other species.

Please explain how the Royal Empress tree does the same? It's not shade or draught-tolerant, and can't take extreme cold. It's not a "threat" except for along railroad tracks and abandoned fields.


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  • Posted by brandon7 6b (like 7b now) TN (My Page) on
    Sun, May 16, 10 at 17:03

Adonidiapalmlover,
It sounds like you are more interested in making off-the-wall comments than actually learning anything. Your claims that Paulownia tomentosa is not shade (it can do well in partial shade) or drought tolerant are simply incorrect. I think anyone's attempt to explain the realities of the problem to you would be lost. If your goal is just to stir up trouble, please go somewhere else!

Here is a link that might be useful: Least Wanted


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Don't take the bait.
Just say no to trolls.


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

Plant an empress tree only if you're willing to scour the neighborhood for decades removing any of its seedlings.

Catalpa is soo superior for ornamental reasons anyway.


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

ditto
"don't take the bait. Say no(thing) to trolls"


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

I don't think its fair to compare this tree to Ailanthus. It might be a weed, but nothing tops Ailanthus. Got back from NJ a few days ago, and actually had to scour around quite a bit to find one of these... meanwhile, I found Ailanthus growing along the Appalachian Trail for cripes sakes! (that was a horrifying moment, let me tell you)


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

If you dissect this post, it appears that a lot of the frustration with these species lies in two or three areas.
1. Difficulty of removal
2. Adamance of gardeners to heed advice
3. Unreputable mail order nurseries making wild claims about them.

I don't know of anywhere that they are classified as "catagory 1" or the most problematic of the invasive species and in fact they are probably naturalized in most of it's range in the US. But the aforementioned factors are what stirs up emotions about them.


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I planted a Royal Empress last summer (in mississippi), it was maybe 4inches tall and in a pot from a friend --- i planted it in the ground at the corner of our patio, to this day, its about 12 feet tall and gives off very nice shade....
my question is, can it be cloned by cutting a branch, put some root starter on it and put in potting soil??????
Any advice was be appreciated...


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

  • Posted by lkz5ia z5 west iowa (My Page) on
    Sat, Jun 26, 10 at 18:32

use root cuttings in spring and should get good results.


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

I've been researching this tree for a couple hours now, and I think I'm just going to "ask the experts" straight out ...
I'm thinking about ordering a packet of 50 seeds (less than $10 including shipping) and planting them in a pasture to be harvested for their lumber in 10-12 years. (maybe sooner depending on the strength of the wood before maturity). I've read that the wood isn't strong enough for construction, but works great for pretty much everything else (furniture, surf boards, windows, doors, trim, sculpting, etc) ... does this sound like a good opportunity, or do you think I'll end up with a bunch of wood no-one wants and trees that are almost impossible to get rid of? If the wood can be sustainably and profitably harvested every 10-12 years, I don't care how hard they are to kill ... with the winters here, I doubt it will flower/seed, but the frost only stays around 3 or 4 months anymore, so they should have plenty of time to grow each year.


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

  • Posted by lkz5ia z5 west iowa (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 16, 10 at 13:42

If you buy the seed and plant it in the pasture, you'll get none to grow. The seed isn't easy to start in tough conditions like that. Its best to buy a tree and then take root cuttings off it for propagation. But you are also in too cold of zone and it will dieback to the ground most winters. Since they don't grow into a tree in my zone so far, I like it as a big leafed perennial plant. It beats having to plant castor beans every year.


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

Try northern catalpa.

It won't die back severely in winter and doesn't have the weak wood of the empress tree.

Not to mention the way my neighbors would hate me if I planted an empress weed.

Here is a link that might be useful: Catalpa


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

toronado, thanks for the suggestion ... although, I don't think I like that tree any better ... "If people in the household frequently suffer from seasonal allergies, a Catalpa tree might not be a good landscape choice, as the flower pollen is quite allergenic. The roots of Catalpa are poisonous. The sawdust from working with Catalpa wood can cause inhalant- and skin-allergy symptoms. For that reason, it would not be good to use catalpa wood chips or shavings as animal bedding. The seedpods and seeds of catalpa contain a mild narcotic and sedative and should not be put in the mouth or consumed."

I got that from http://www.life123.com/home-garden/trees-shrubs/landscape-trees/catalpa-and-catawba-trees.shtml

lkz5ia, what if I were to start them indoors in like October or Nevember? That would eliminate the winter for a season and start them 5 or 6 months earlier than I'd be able to plant them outside. If I gave them at least a year to grow in warm weather, I'm thinking, maybe they could survive the next cold winter and just keep growing more the next year, and hopefully not flower ... if they flower (Toronado, this is for you), which would really surprise me in this region, then I'd see them as a problem and get rid of them. Although, you did say seeds would be pretty much impossible to start in this region, too.

I still haven't really made up my mind ... I just have like 20 acres to play with and I'm looking to make an investment for the long-term, and as fast as the Royal Empress grows, that's some extremely fast profits. The biggest downside I really see is the hollow center, but that don't occur if the tree isn't modified to keep it from fully maturing, and chances are that if someone got their tree as a clipping, that's what was done to it's mother so it would carry the same trait. This whole idea isn't really looking great anymore ... are there ANY trees that grow well in zones 4 and 5 that can also boast growth rates similar to the Royal Empress AND produce a decent quality wood? That Catalpa only grows 2 feet per year. I'm also considering fruit-bearing trees like apple or cherry ... cherry trees would provide a profitable harvest in 3 to 5 years from planting and when they're big enough, their wood is some of the most expensive and popular I know of (VERY popular in kitchen re-models). Only thing is, with fruit comes even more headaches than I think I'm ready to handle ...

Thanks :)


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

  • Posted by lkz5ia z5 west iowa (My Page) on
    Sat, Jul 17, 10 at 9:26

You could use your 20 acres to organically grow vegetables. That probably would give you the best potential for income on such a little plot, but its also a niche market, so you would have to be proactive selling your product.

Regarding other fast trees, remember Paulownia's suggested fast growing rate isn't for a zone 4/5 climate, its down south where it has a long frost-free period. I've had Paulownia for 5 years now, every year its died to the ground, average winter has gotten down to -15F.

They don't use a fruiting cherry's wood for things like kitchen cabinets. Wouldn't be enough wood to make it worthwhile. Black cherry is typically the high value lumber that is used.


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

The best bet for starting your trees would be by calling your state conservation department or department of natural resources and order a bundle, MAYBE a company like Musser Forests which deals in large quantities. Seems like it would save you two or three years off the start of the project for a minimal initial investment.

I received 25 regular white cornus florida dogwoods from mine last year for something like $15 AFTER shipping. They compared to most mail order I've done for quality. The drawback is selection isn't the greatest. No "Cherokee Sunset" dogwoods coming from the state lol.

Black Walnut?

Here is a link that might be useful: Uconn link to black walnut.


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

Thanks again ... wish I just had a 50' tall greenhouse to force the Royal Empress to grow how I'd like, but now I'm in the process of talking to Musser Forests about Black Walnut. It don't grow as fast as I'd like, but if I get 2-3 foot trees from Musser, that'll save a couple years, and as far as growth rate vs. value, it's about as good as I think it'll get in this region. :)


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

Wow!!! I am glad I came to this web site. I am trying to kill five Tree of Heavens in my backyard. (The Tree of Heaven is another invasive species on the "Least Wanted" website.) They are extremely hard to get rid of. I was seriously thinking about planting a Royal Empress Tree in place of the Tree of Heavens. However, I was skeptical because of the grow-back rate after the Empress was cut down. They act very much like a Tree of Heaven. I think if I want a fast growing tree I will go with an Autumn Blaze Maple, a Nuttall Oak, or a Tulip Poplar. Thanks!


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

Small branches above the large leaves have pea like pods (?) and smaller leaves. Are these consider suckers?


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

No. A sucker grows from the roots, either next to the trunk or away from the tree.

e.g.

Tree..Sucker..5-feet-away..Sucker..15-feet..Sucker..15-more-feet..sucker..

You get the idea.


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

The Royal Empress tree is not only an incredibly popular shade tree with great ornamental value because of its beautiful purple foliage ,but also preserves the surrounding soil's nutrient content. This makes the land more suitable for growing massive amounts of crops.
he use of the Royal Empress tree in inter-cropping has been proven to reduce wind velocity, control soil erosion, mediate solar radiation, regulate soil and air temperatures, increase field moisture and improve soil nutrients for farmlands. The trees can also be used as a windbreak and can block winds up to 50 percent.


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

  • Posted by brandon7 6b (like 7b now) TN (My Page) on
    Wed, Nov 10, 10 at 18:11

Jenny,

So you work for one of those disreputable, con-artist, flim-flam nurseries that sell this tree, huh? Why not just say so flat out. We're a little smarter than you seem to think around here, and your lame attempt is not likely to achieve much. Seems to me that your post is just pure (although semi-disguised) SPAM.


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

Jenny, what states list the tree as an invasive weed? Has it been known to escape cultivation and displace dogwoods and redbuds?

Do you have any fall pictures of the medium sized one from the Missouri Botanical Garden?


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

Jenny joined on Nov 10 just to give us this important sales pitch.


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

  • Posted by lkz5ia z5 west iowa (My Page) on
    Wed, Nov 10, 10 at 20:13

Yes, Jenny sounds like a spam post with regurgitated info from seller's site. She could have at least gave more personalized info about these trees.
So far I have three different species in that genus. Though in this climate, they haven't attained tree form, can be used more like a perennial in place of the poisonous castorbean.


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the tree that will not die!

This subject just keeps giving and giving and giving! I really couldn't believe that it was resurrected again.

frankly I think the lifespan of this subject is something to marvel at...what kind of social network is this?

And tobother spending 2 minutes writing and sending spam is even more of a wonder.....

Interplanting as a crop....where ? the Mongolian steppes ?


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

I have no idea who jenny is or if she is a spammer but I wouldn't be all that quick to dismiss what she wrote. Googling the topic will produce numerous hits all documenting the value of Paulownia as both a crop and a crop enhancing planting. Maybe not so important in this country but nonetheless enough of an agricultural benefit in some areas so that extensive studies have been done.

One person's weed is another person's treasure.


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

I agree that Paulownia has it's place and benefits ... in it's land of origin.


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

  • Posted by brandon7 6b (like 7b now) TN (My Page) on
    Fri, Nov 12, 10 at 23:49

Come on Gardengal, playing devil's advocate is one thing, but SPAMmer's advocate?....It's not worth it. Jenny either works for one of those disreputable, con-artist, flim-flam nurseries that sell this tree or just doesn't have a clue.


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

  • Posted by lkz5ia z5 west iowa (My Page) on
    Sat, Nov 13, 10 at 10:49

I think a person has to be openminded to see that there is actually alot of value in the Paulownia genus. As gardengal has mentioned, there has been significant studies on it already, but as always, Brandon's eyes are closed tight in his native mantra.

The cold fingers of death reach out of the ground on this frigid November morning
Image and video hosting by TinyPic


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

I read and read and read and read.....and the only conclusion that I can come up with is how horribly self involved humans are. Some of us are trying to promote this and that, and whats better for me and what looks great for my lawn and I think as someone mentioned the real problem is humans.....true, that and many more things that I cant possibly adress due to my lack of knowledge and time. How invasive can a plant be if it is planted in a single space of horribly wasted and polluted atmosphere amidst acres of concrete, skyscrapers and factories and everything else you can think of. A picture paints in my head the whole time....something possibly out of a book or educated imagination...or even Uneducated imagination......thousands of years from now, life at its beginnings once again or at its ends whatever you want to imagine, remember its only imagination.....when the enormous plate tectonic movements have overpowered brazil and africa, forcing them to share a boundry without water.....and all signs of life are gone. Then a single sprout, a single sign of life......green with hope, an empress baby. Cool huh? and we would all jump around and hug each other and value the empress as such knowing that there is hope for our forests to be rebuilt so we can invade it once again and bring its ruins. There are so many more problems out there today and here we are debating about whether we should plant this tree or that......when we SHOULD be debating HOW MANY OF ANY trees we should plant and how much land we should set aside for future growth......how to cut down on our exploitation of our open waters, our natural reservoirs of seafood which we so pompously take for granted as being infinite......the uncontrolled manslaughter of dolphins that takes place annually in Taiji, Japan....the millions of resources we literally burn through every year....sucking the life out mother earth.....in this ultimately superficial and selfish world. Sad to say, the empress tree or any other tree is not really on trial.....we are at an internal war zone with ourselves and each other......a silent one, not many realize the problems that humans create or at least most turn a blind eye, only a few realize how invasive humans actually are. its nice that people are trying to preserve the ecosystems present in our world because i love them, i enjoy every living creature and their freedoms and yet I have a fishtank at home and my mother keeps cockatiels. We dont live in an ideal world and I say we just enjoy and make the most of it, if you can make a difference yourself then that is fantastic and more power to you....but that is your personal choice.....and it is great that people inform us of what goes on otherwise I would be just as naive as any other out there.....but what good is it to compell others against an action such as planting a tree? I would say FANTASTIC! plant 5 of them, I DONT CARE WHAT KIND JUST PLANT! for every new apartment complex, condo, home that goes up, a new patch of land is stripped of its natural beauty. Personally, i read about the POSITIVE characteristics of the empress tree and found it so profoundly unique that I had to have it and I am thoroughly enjoying its growth in my front lawn. Will my tree possibly seed neighboring front or back lawns? maybe, will some seedlings be left unkept and allowed to grow to new heights? will that be one more tree, one that is especially beneficial to the environment, that was not previously there? the way some people upkeep their lawns YES! I for one find the Oak tree far far far more invasive than anything else but it is still a grand sight to see. I still pull out every single sprout with its hardy acorn still attached to prevent its growth in my tiny backyard but I appreciate those around me. But honestly, seriously......will this empress tree RUIN the surrounding ecosystem? what ecosystem? if there are those who are fortunate enough to reside where nature can still greet you with a warm and puzzling majestic beauty.......and you have the will and determination to keep it that way, fantastic! i hope to one day witness lands and sights that only pictures can show me. For now, I will enjoy my front yard and my backyard and my neighbors and the few "WEED" flowers that grow on small patches on the sides of the street.

Finally, on a more realistic level and pertaining to invasive properties of the species.....i would use the word "intrepid" rather than invasive, for this plant only does what it knows best and what has brought it into todays existance after millions of years........just as a plant or animal's fiery red in the wild is an adaptive property that screams "dangerous or poisonous"......this equally adaptive property has "evolved" (not really but in a sense) for its survival as it appeals to humans for its color and beauty. was this a part of its genetic scheme? far from believable.....but as red has evolved to mean danger, lavender has evolved to mean beauty and adds to the trees hardiness. If you are ecofriendly and eco-conscious then consider your geographic position and how prolific this tree will become and IF in fact it is OVERLYprolific then maybe with an ecofriendly mindset you may choose another tree. but it is a beautiful tree.

PS, these are simply my thoughts as if it isnt apparent from my rambling haha, my words lead to no specific point or conclusion. If you agree or disagree it doesnt matter since I am neither seeking approval or disapproval......you're free to think, you're free to act until you step on another's freedom (or money =P). oh and sorry for my mispellings or erros =)


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

People are worried about changing nature and trees taking over. The earth is changing all the time anyways. I looked at another site and everyone loved them.lol. We have more important things to worry about than if a beautiful tree is taking over our back yard. I live in North georgia and have never seen one. I am going to plant one in my yard and hope a 1,000 sprout. The trash in all the nieghbors yards is hurting the enviroment more then this tree.


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

I was told by a local nursery that the Royal Empress wold not grow here in Las Vegas because it is to hot and dry. B.S. I planted it anyway. It grew at least 15 feet the first year and I am excited about this tree. It will provide some much needed shade on my house and my 7 year old daughter is looking foward to having a picnic under it. I get alot of people stoping to ask me about the tree and I try to promote it to them as much as possible. We are having fun watching it grow.


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

I didn't have time to read every entry but overall- it helped me a great deal on deciding if I should get a few Empress Trees or not. Well...the verdict is....YES I will! After reading the posting right above mine (thanks Mark) it looks like my wife, son and I will have a great learning experience watching them grow. Now the question is "Where can I get few- online or nursery?"


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RE: Advice on Royal Empress Tree

I live in the arizona desert. Does anyone know if that's a good place to plant them? We don't have cold to slow them down and there's so much pollution that they can thrive on. I bought a thing of 400 seeds off amazon for $5.


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