It might look pretty, but it can have an ugly impact on the local ecosystem.
Staff from the District of Lake Country will be out this month in Carr’s Landing and Okanagan Centre removing an invasive tree species known as the ‘Tree of Heaven’.
Its scientific name is Ailanthus altissima and it is native to parts of China and Taiwan. It can spread quickly, preventing other plants from growing and spreading seeds over a wide area. The tree also has abundant pollen, which can trigger allergic reactions. The leaves, bark and seeds can also cause skin irritation.
Crews will be working on public land, including parks, starting at the Toby Road end near Gable Beach in Carr’s Landing.
In a news release, the district says that unfortunately, there are invasive plants in most natural areas of the region and, with limited resources, eradication efforts will focus on the most pressing issues.
Invasive species have spread rapidly in the Okanagan in recent decades due to their use in landscaping. The ‘Tree of Heaven’ became popular with gardeners due to its rapid growth, but that’s also the problem. Its rapid spread and hardiness threaten other native plant species by crowding them out.