Forests of the Domain

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Exotic Species Control

At the University of the South, like many locations in the southeast, we are currently fighting the invasion of the Domain by exotic species of trees and plants. These plants range from the dense patches of Nepal-grass that form alongside many trails to trees such as tree of heaven and royal paulownia (empress tree) and generally grow quickly and are very resistant to physical damage. For instance, a cut tree of heaven can resprout from its old roots and grow to a height of 10-13 feet in a single year (Silvics of North America, Miller) and a paulownia can produce prolific seed after only a few years' growth.

Because of their resistance, prolific reproduction, and often rapid growth, these invasive species are usually suited to invading recent cuts or other human-cleared areas (roads, trails, yards). When trying to control them, the Office of Domain Management often focuses on such areas using manual clearing methods (Swedish axes, brush hooks, chainsaws) to physically remove stems to prevent thier spread. However, manual clearing is only temporary. Herbicides provide a more permanent solution by killing not only the top of the plant but its root, preventing resprouting.

The following is a list of the major species (linked to the PCA Alien Plant Working Group) that are considered exotic and invasive to the Cumberland plateau.

Scientific Name Common Name
Ailanthus altissima tree of heaven
Albizia julibrissin mimosa or silk tree
Celastrus orbiculatus oriental bittersweet
Ligustrum spp privet
Lonicera spp Japanese honeysuckle
Paulownia tomentosa princess (empress) tree
Pueraria montana var. lobata kudzu
Rosa multiflora multiflora rose
Spiraea japonica Japanese spiraea