Chinese Tallowtrees

OVER 75,000 TALLOWTREES HAVE BEEN KILLED AS OF 2017 AND STILL COUNTING…

New Seedling, easy to pull out – MUST get root

Facts:

  • The Nature Conservancy has designated Chinese Tallowtree as “one of the ten worst alien plant invaders in the U.S.
  • The Georgia Wildlife Federation call Chinese Tallowtrees “one of the greatest threats to habitat in South Georgia.”
  • And the USDA has written “Once established it is virtually impossible to eliminate by known methods”

 

In early 2007, the Tallow Tree Removal Project began, spearheaded by resident volunteer, Ann Fenstermacher, with the goal of controlling this Priority One Invasive non-native species which threatened the diversity of Skidaway Island’s maritime forest.  The project has grown from a handful of committed people to an estimated 1600 involved residents.

What started with the help of two boy scouts, and an education blitz about the issue, became and continues to be  a multi-pronged community-wide effort. The Tallow Terrors, under the leadership of Don McCulloch formed in 2009.  Now in 2017, Ed Conant leads these 6-20 volunteers wielding chainsaws and and herbicide on Monday mornings, resting only for bird nesting season and extreme summer heat.

Ann Fenstermacher led spring and fall work parties of “hack and squirters” who penetrated the woods, killing trees to die in place using hatchets (hack) and herbicide applicators (squirt).  Several times Student Conservation interns joined this effort.

In combination these efforts have rid the island of more than 75,000 tallowtrees, with untold more trees removed by Club and Association maintenance staff and private residents, now alert and vigilant to the presence of this invasive.

“The easiest time to remove a tallow is before it gets established,” as Ann often states, “and seedlings are easy to pull up.”  Each seed-producing tree killed prevents a potential 100,000 seeds from sprouting which, each in turn produce more seeds in only three years.  ”This is a fight to preserve the diverse beauty of this island,” she continued,  “and clearly, the community thinks it’s worth the fight…. one tree at a time”.

The Georgia Urban Forest Council selected Skidaway Audubon to receive the 2012 Outstanding Civic Organization Grand Award for the Chinese Tallowtree Removal Project.

Skidaway Audubon provided financial support and a framework for community collaboration. That collaboration continues with the Landings Association, the Landings Club and Utilities Inc of Georgia, our water provider, as well as resident volunteers. The Tallow Terrors are still at it and will remove tallowtrees from private property when possible.

Chinese Tallowtrees are now prohibited at The Landings.  The newly revised Landings Association Architectural Design and Development Guidelines 2016 lists the Tallowtree, commonly known as Popcorntree (Triadica sebifera), as one of six invasive trees.  These are prohibited and must be removed immediately upon discovery in order to preserve our maritime ecosystem and help sustain the landscaping value of our homes and community.


 

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 Click Here to View the Tallowtree Timeline & History – Through July 2012

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