A persistent Tree-of-Heaven continues to break up the concrete along a sidewalk, despite being cut back previously.
By Bill Hayes for the New York Times:
“Someone asked me the other day how I had gotten over the sudden death of someone I loved. What I wanted to say but found myself unable to explain (for it would have sounded too strange) was that I learned a good deal about moving through grief from some trees I once knew. They were not my trees. I didn’t plant them. I lived in an apartment surrounded by them. The only tending done was to give them my full attention over the course of four seasons.
When I moved in it was April, still cold, and the branches were bare. Facing northeast, my view of Manhattan was unobstructed, seen through a latticework veil. There were five trees, each distinct. They were not beautiful. My next-door neighbor, a landscape designer, told me that the species, Ailanthus altissima, is an urban weed. But I never expected beauty. That they were tall and strong and present was enough. I found that Ailanthus derives from an Indonesian word meaning “tree of heaven.”"
continued here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/07/opinion/sunday/a-year-in-trees.html
Thanks for the heads-up, Hans.
semi-related, back in 1996, the species started to take a hit, according to the Times, but I think it bounced back quickly:
Slate patio slabs are no match for this spontaneous tree in Hoboken, New Jersey. Attending my friend David’s parties in this backyard several years back, I recall it being a Tree-of-Heaven (Ailanthus), but seeing it the other day in the winter, I’m not 100% sure now, without getting another peek at its leaves.
Tree-of-Heaven and Foxtail Grass carving out some shared space against a cinder block wall in Northern Liberties, Philadelphia (July 2012).
Horseweed and Tree-of-Heaven in an overgrown parking lot in Northern Liberties, Philadelphia. The role of the snake is played by an old rope. July 2012.