Chinese tallow…. Brazilian pepper… Mimosa….
These are all invasive trees in central Florida. An invasive plant is one that is out-competing native plants in natural areas. Invasive plants compete for nutrients, water, sunlight and of course, space. Sometimes they do it so well that our natives cannot keep up the pace. Removing them is imperative, but it must be done correctly.
Now is a great time to effectively remove an invasive tree. As our day length and temperatures decrease, trees are sending their resources down to the roots where they will be reserved during the dormant season. Because of this process, we can successfully remove these invasive organisms without repeat applications of herbicides. One method I will recommend for small trees is the cut stump treatment. Ask a professional tree trimmer or arborist for assistance with large and tall trees. It can be extremely dangerous for someone who lacks training. With cut stump, as the name implies, you are cutting down the tree to a stump. Immediately afterwards, apply herbicide to the stump. This will prevent the tree from attempting to produce suckers. The goal is for the phloem to transfer the herbicides throughout the tree. This is why fall is the ideal time. Nutrient reserves are being pushed down, and now carrying herbicides with them.
As you may know, we prefer not to use pesticides unless absolutely necessary. We want to prevent the herbicides from landing on native plants or persisting in the soil. You can accurately apply it to the invasive tree by using a thin paint brush. Mix your herbicide as the label recommends. Then, use the paint brush to apply it to the stump. Again, do this immediately after you cut down the tree before it tries to seal itself. For recommendations on herbicides, refer to our EDIS publication: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ag245.