Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council Invasive Plant Manual
Common Name: Princess Tree
Scientific Name: Paulownia tomentosa (Thunb.) Sieb. & Zucc. ex Steud.
Princess tree, also known as royal paulownia or empress tree, is a showy, aggressive ornamental introduced from East Asia. It grows rapidly in disturbed areas, including steep rocky slopes that may also be habitats for rare plants. Recently it has also been grown in plantations and harvested for export to Japan where its wood is highly valued.
Cutting: Cut trees at ground level with power or manual saws. Cutting is most effective when trees have begun to flower to prevent seed production. Because paulownia spreads by suckering, resprouts are common after treatment. Cutting is an initial control measure and will require either an herbicidal control or repeated cutting for resprouts.
Girdling: Use this method on large trees where the use of herbicides is impractical. Using a hand-axe, make a cut through the bark encircling the base of the tree, approximately 15 cm (6 in) above the ground. Be sure that the cut goes well into or below the cambium layer. This method will kill the top of the tree but resprouts are common and may require a follow-up treatment with a foliar herbicide.
Hand Pulling: Paulownia is effectively controlled by manual removal of young seedlings. Plants should be pulled as soon as they are large enough to grasp but before they produce seeds. Seedlings are best pulled after a rain when the soil is loose. The entire root must be removed since broken fragments may resprout.
Foliar Spray Method: This method should be considered for large thickets of paulownia seedlings where risk to non-target species is minimal. Air temperature should be above 65Â°F to ensure absorption of herbicides.
Glyphosate: Apply a 2% solution of glyphosate and water plus a 0.5% non-ionic surfactant to thoroughly wet all leaves. Use a low pressure and coarse spray pattern to reduce spray drift damage to non-target species. Glyphosate is a non-selective systemic herbicide that may kill non-target partially-sprayed plants.
Triclopyr: Apply a 2% solution of triclopyr and water plus a 0.5% non-ionic sur-factant to thoroughly wet all leaves. Use a low pressure and coarse spray pattern to reduce spray drift damage to non-target species. Triclopyr is a selective herbicide for broadleaf species. In areas where desirable grasses are growing under or around paulownia, triclopyr can be used without non-target damage.
Cut Stump Method: This control method should be considered when treating individual trees or where the presence of desirable species preclude foliar application. Stump treatments can be used as long as the ground is not frozen.
Glyphosate: Horizontally cut stems at or near ground level. Immediately apply a 25% solution of glyphosate and water to the cut stump making sure to cover the outer 50% of the stump.
Triclopyr: Horizontally cut stems at or near ground level. Immediately apply a 50% solution of triclopyr and water to the cut stump making sure to cover the outer 20% of the stump.
Basal Bark Method: This method is effective throughout the year as long as the ground is not frozen. Apply a mixture of 25% triclopyr and 75% horticultural oil to the basal parts of the tree to a height of 30-38 cm (12-15 in) from the ground. Thorough wetting is necessary for good control; spray until run-off is noticeable at the ground line.
Hack and Squirt Method: Using a hand-axe, make cuts at 6.5 cm (3 in) intervals around the trunk of the tree between 15-45 cm (6-18 in) above the ground. Be sure that each cut goes well into or below the cambium layer. Immediately treat the cut with a 50% glyphosate or triclopyr and water herbicide solution.
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