woodland newbie w/? re: Ailanthus altissima etc
I recently moved to a wooded area near Appalachian Trail in Northern VA (Mt. Weather area). The property is covered (90% of all understory) w/Lindera benzoin (spicebush) which has been growing for over 20 yrs as some of it is at least 12ft. The previous owners put hay down for whatever reason and this seems to have sprouted. There are tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima) seedlings EVERYWHERE and some other extremely invasive species...could be brazilian pepper...I'm not sure. There are a few pawlonias but these don't seem to have moved much from the parent tree.
My question is: how would you control the invasives? It seems that the trees of heaven have been cut repeatedly but continue to grow....short of digging thousands of these things up, is there any other way to kill them? Would mulching the area stop the hay from growing or should I get a cow :( ?
One more question...I'm trying to figure out what type of forest this is....we are at about 1200ft, spicebush is dominant...trees are tulip poplar, paw paws, oaks, very few maples, some ashes...oddly enough NO evergreens! No pines, no cedars, no holly...I've never seen this in a woodland before! Wildflowers are Jacks, hepatica, LOTS of black and blue cohosh, rue, bloodroot.
Thanks for ANY input!