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Empress Trees?

Posted by queenamy Zone Seven (amyausbun@aol.com) on
Tue, Feb 20, 07 at 12:49

Can anyone tell me their experiences with Empress Trees, also called Paulownia trees? I know that they are not native, and I have seen them labeled invasive. I like the pretty flowers and the fast growth, but I would rather research than plant something like this and regret it.

Amy


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Empress Trees?

Amy I have two growing now. This is only the thrid year I have had them so can't say anything but they grow fast and have pretty blooms. I have been told they were invasive but I don't know from first hand experience. They are planted in an open area away from the field lines of my spetic tanks. The blooms do make for good conversation.


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RE: Empress Trees?

They aren't invasive until they start flowering, that's when the seeding starts. And just because you don't see seedlings in your yard, that doesn't mean they're not coming up in the woods miles away. Southern Catalpa is a good native alternative.


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RE: Empress Trees?

  • Posted by nelson 7b in Alabama (My Page) on
    Tue, Feb 20, 07 at 21:41

That fast growth comes with a price - weak wood that breaks and shreds very easily during a typical thunderstorm, often leaving the tree misshapen. That, along with the resulting cleanup (and other negative aspects), makes them not worth growing, IMO.

Nelson


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RE: Empress Trees?

listed at the link below by the southeast exotic pest plant council as having "extensive and dense infestations" in alabama or "severely invasive" in a neighboring state in urban areas along with "scattered and localized infestations" in managed forests and natural areas of alabama.

Here is a link that might be useful: se-eppc statement


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RE: Empress Trees?

Thanks for that information... I do not want to plant a pest, and I live on top of a ridge with a LOT of wind, so weak wood is a bad thing. I had to deal with a mimosa at my old house.... and that stupid thing sent colunteers everywhere! And cutting it to the ground just made it happier and it came back tougher. I will have to look into the Catalpa.

Amy


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RE: Empress Trees?

You will have to deal with the Catalpa Web Worms which will completely defoliate your trees in short order as well as send tons of their "poop" all over decks, patios...I grow them, but I cut them back each year in order to get the leaves to grow HUGE. "Pollarding" I believe is the correct term. I can then control the caterpillers with picking and safe sprays. By the way...they make great fish bait and my catfish pond appreciates the ones that I allow to grow near waters edge. They are not invasive in the slightest for me. Just pick the huge seed pods off as they develop.


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RE: Empress Trees?

I guess it depends on where you live with the catalpa caterpillars, there are some large trees here that never get defoliated. Tulip poplar is another good alternative to the Empress tree.


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RE: Empress Trees?

I had seen some information on the tulip poplars, and they are lovely. I would rather try them than the Catalpa if I am going to be overcome with worms....

Amy


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RE: Empress Trees?

Tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) is a member of the magnolia family and is a beautiful tree. It is a fast grower and has beautiful blooms. Call around to local nurseries and see if they have it or will order one.


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RE: Empress Trees?

Glad to see you nixed the Empress Tree idea. We have at least one growing in the wooded area behind out house and I'm constantly pulling up the volunteers in the non wooded area.
We had a catalpa at the home I grew up in. During caterpiller season, every year, a group of men would come by and pick all the caterpillers for bait. The seed pods made great produce for our pretend "store".


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RE: Empress Trees?

That tulip poplar is gorgeous! I do have an empress tree, and the blooms are beautiful. However, i don't think i will let it get very tall, to try to keep the seedlings and the limbs under control - an added plus is that it appears the leaves will get bigger as a result of pruning!


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RE: Empress Trees?

It's a challenge to keep a tree that will easily grow to 50 feet in height 'under control'. And the problem with invasive species is that unless you remove the tree...or absolutely prevent it from going to seed, you cannot control where those seeds go. The birds take care of spreading the seeds far and wide.

Keep it an an oddity in your yard until you tire of it, but don't hesitate to have to removed before it gets out of control.


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RE: Empress Trees?

There is a ranch near here that must have over a hundred Empress trees lining both sides of the drive. I can only imagine the amount of stray seedlings that will be coming up in the woods in the future. Strangely, Cordova Mall in Pensacola also has them in their parking lot islands.


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RE: Empress Trees?

You probably have tons of Tulip Poplars in the woods near your home. It would be easy to find a seedling for transplant.


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RE: Empress Trees?

Hey everyone,
I am so wanting a TULIP TREE for my garden .Pretty sure I am in Zone 7b here on Sand Mountain..any suggestion where I can purchase or find me a seedling of a Tulip Tree???
Greetings
Susanne(SUE)


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RE: Empress Trees?

I have 3 Empress Trees. I'm not finding them invasive at all, then again, in Illinois, it may be that the seeds cant really survive our winders.

It was a gamble to try them. The first winter, I thought I lost all three. The one I had high hopes for looked like a 6 dead stick in the ground. I thought I lost yet another sapling I had tried.

Being unwilling to give up, I left it in. It grew AROUND itself with new shoots. Now, 3 years later I have a 25 foot Empress tree giving me shade RIGHT where I wanted it. (In Illinois, yes, its 25 feet in 3 years.) My neighbor said she felt sorry for me - she watched me try all these little trees and watched all of them die. She was thrilled for me when this one lived.

And the other 2 which I didnt have hopes for came into their own. They went BOOM and took off.

One is now offering shade to the west side which gets beat on unmercifully by the late afternoon sun. Id like to "top" it to force it to leaf out more rather than grow in height.

They make a wonderful "structure" plant in the winter with xmas ornaments.

In the summer, they are large, soft, gentle looking trees. A nice break in Illinois with non-stop maples, oaks, pines, etc. They also make a wonderful "temporary" tree while you wait for your more permanent landscaping trees to fill in.

As someone noted, with that speed probably comes a cost, however, I havent found it invasive. Im sure the life span is short but Im betting that when the tree dies, I will have already departed myself.


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RE: Empress Trees?

This is quite an old post but in hopes that some of you will come back to read this I wanted to inform you of a new species of hybrid Empress that I have had an amazing experience with... The Empress Splendor has the same growth rate of the Tomentosa without it's terrible invasive qualities. I purchased them awhile back from World Tree Tech and they were very informative.

If I knew how to post pictures I would! Take a look here... www.worldtreetech.com


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RE: Empress Trees?

balderdash, twaddle and claptrap! this is nothing more than a hopped-up version of the species that they want to sell. it's all about the wood.
check out this quote from the website:
"Its broad leaf and blossom clusters soak up bad odors and negative energy and immediately help restore the visual, olfactory, and psychic feel and appeal of the area around it.
The Empress Splendor Tree stimulates and promotes restoration and remediation and helps to bring back that new and fresh feeling of harmony and tranquility in an area."

lmao


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RE: Empress Trees?

All about the wood? What do you mean by that?

I don't see any problem relating to those that believe in restorative energy and appeal?

Yes, it's a selling line but you cannot deny that this tree has amazing attributes? I wonder why you bash the Splendor off the bat? Do you have a bad experience that you would like to share?

If you don't have any interest in it, than it's simply not for you. Don't spoil the name of a wonderful tree because there is a company that markets it? How would you suggest they do it?

It is not a tomentosa, it's a hybrid created through splicing the tissue culture of the Elongata and Fortunei. What part of that combination do you believe to be "hopped up"?


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RE: Empress Trees?

do you have an affiliation with any of the paulownia growers associations?
i saw you made a post today on another gardening forum with pretty much the same text as the one here.
i think you are making an attempt to market this weedy tree. so, you live in canada and grow these in arizona?
by hopped-up i refer to the "amazing growth rate of 20' the first year" as a tree on steroids or growth hormones might perform.
based on current documentation of the invasive tendencies of this genus, i think we should refrain from introducing another paulownia to our native ecology.
"soak up negative energy"? come on now.


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RE: Empress Trees?

Jeff,

No I have no affiliations, just a grower... I have been very interested in doing something that will help with the condition our Earth is in today. I know that I have only planted a few trees (in Arizona, where my family is located. It is far too cold for them to survive here in B.C. where I am located) but I do believe that every tree makes a difference. I have just been extremely happy with how they have done; simply put. And wanted to share that everyone here, including in other forums.

I believe that we need to do something for our environment and from what I can see, with the amount of carbon the Splendor sequesters, it may be the best tree to do so... I would never recommend another species of Empress (especially the tomentosa) because of it's invasive tendencies... But, when I have found a tree that does not carry this characteristic what is the harm in that?

People need to quit being so scared all the time and embrace the fact that not all new things are terrible. It's a simple science that this company has used to rule out invasive traits.

It is obvious that you have made up your mind on what you feel you believe about this tree, and that is fine. I will just keep this conversation in mind the next time I am in sunny AZ enjoying a nice cool drink relaxing under the shade of my Empress Splendor thinking, "What was all the worry about?"


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RE: Empress Trees?

Angelfairy - ref your post above

"You will have to deal with the Catalpa Web Worms which will completely defoliate your trees in short order as well as send tons of their "poop" all over decks, patios...I grow them, but I cut them back each year in order to get the leaves to grow HUGE. "Pollarding" I believe is the correct term. I can then control the caterpillers with picking and safe sprays. By the way...they make great fish bait and my catfish pond appreciates the ones that I allow to grow near waters edge. They are not invasive in the slightest for me. Just pick the huge seed pods off as they develop."

You cut them back to get leaves to grow large - see - that is what i am thinking of doing - kinda - and i want to know if it will work - the tree is BEAUTIFUL - and dang it - my power bill, on the budget plan - dropped $20 a month (so it really dropped a lot overall) - I am certain it is b/c of the tree - which IS huge - i am thinking of cutting it back each year - and I can pull the seedlings up - what do you think?


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RE: Empress Trees?

One comment regarding the Empress Splendor and it's "non-invasive" characteristic. I'd like to know the science behind that characteristic. There have been trees before that were advertised as "sterile" which eventually became fertile. One recent example that you may have heard of is Pyrus calleryana 'Bradford'. When introduced, it was sterile. Later, other cultivars of Pyrus calleryana were introduced and when one of the new ones is near 'Bradford', the cross pollination effect allows a 'Bradford' pear to produce viable fruit. This fruit is carried away and now wild Pyrus calleryana trees are springing up, sometimes in large numbers.

Here is a link that might be useful: The role of hybridization in reproduction and establishment of invasive Pyrus calleryana


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RE: Empress Trees?

What about parking under an Empress Splendor?


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RE: Empress Trees?

Esh ga,

Too be honest I am not completely familiar with the science of the Empress Splendor and as hard as I tried to understand the link that you supplied it was just a little too far over my head? Perhaps when conditions like that exist anything can be possible? I just know that from all the testing over the years they have never had any examples of this... And the few trees I have had have never even sprouted pods?

Carlacf,

In answer to you question I don't find them a messy tree at all. Of course, they are like any typical decidious tree and shed their leaves and blossoms during the fall season. So, you might have a few petals pasted to your vehicle. But, as I stated above, unlike other Empress' species this tree does not grow pods. So you won't have to worry about anything like that dropping down and scratching the paint...


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RE: Empress Trees?

we have no shortage of trees here in the southeast to sit under but you may need a tree like that in arizona. also, your area may not be suitable habitat for establishment by wild populations.
here, and even more so in florida, many asian plants quickly spread into natural areas as the climate is similar to that of their native range.
an excellent example provided by esh gives credence to my feelings of skepticism about the advertised traits of this "non-invasive" paulownia. bad things can happen outside the test tube and there usually is no way to undo them.
perhaps if you could drive through the southeast u.s. and see the "forests" of kudzu, mimosa, japanese honeysuckle and privet with cogongrass, tallowtree, etc. in hot pursuit you would appreciate our reluctance to embrace another potential exotic invasive.
fwiw, even that company's website motto, "one world, one tree", doesn't speak well to the subject of biodiversity.


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