Weed identification

Asked July 10, 2020, 9:29 AM EDT

Hi, Could you identify this weed for me? I find it every year in my flower bed but haven't been able to find it online. It has a strong smell when you pull it up. Thanks!

Frederick County Maryland

1 Response

This sample looks (and sounds) like it has the classic ID features of Tree-of-Heaven (Ailanthus altissima), a very invasive weed tree. The scent of crushed leaves or rubbed stem is pungent and unpleasant and has been compared to burnt peanut butter. More information can be found here about ID and control options if infestations are hard to remove: https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/tree-heaven-ailanthus

If young, you can keep pulling them up as soon as you see the seedlings. Sprouts returning from root suckers trimmed in previous years need to be cut down vigilantly to starve the roots and kill the plant. Otherwise, herbicides to kill the sapling's roots would be needed, and caution must be used in their application to avoid harming any nearby desirable plants in the flower bed.