After Craig asked:
> Is there a useful insight as to introducing yet another foreign plant into
our region (Southeast)? Does anyone know of potential problems with this
and Bargyla commented:
>Incidentally, its wood is very brittle. Tree branches break off so easily.
Although I cannot speak of the Southeast USA, I have seen kudzu in this
country, gone mad, and I don't think paulownia is any such threat. I had
written to Craig before seeing the Mark and Bargyla comments, and so I set
out my note to Craig below.
The brittleness comes with the very rapid growth - the objective being to
get 20 ft in the first year, without side branches, to form the millable log
at 8 to 12 years. The tree is thus very vulnerable to windstorms when young.
However, it is conventional practice to chop the tree at ground level in its
second year, so as to produce a first growth stronger and taller from one
At field days here it has been suggested that in the US paulownia is
considered good for poor soils. If this were so, we agreed, then your poor
soils are like our best and deepest soils.
I wrote previously:
We have a couple of dozen paulownia trees in and around an orchard on deep
black soil in South East Australia.
We also have an investment in a project growing the trees a couple of
hundred miles from here - but we have no commercial interest in promoting
them to you or others.
I would have thought these guys would be your local experts:
Our experience is that:
in shallow soil, the trees do not grow at all. We have friends who put in
trees when we put ours in 5 or six years ago. Ours are 20 to 40 feet high,
theirs are zero to four feet, on shallow soil.
ours have grown from broken roots, where these have been chopped. But only a
few, and usefully, being able to transplant these.
the flowers in spring have not led to any seeding of trees
there are no self generating suckers, as with poplars, alders, etc.
I have tried to take cuttings of young branches broken or pruned - they
The forestry project where we have invested presents as a very orderly
operation with no appearance of runaway trees. the great virtue of the trees
in the operation is rapid straight growth, plus coppicing, so you get quick
You seem to need root cuttings and they then need nurture - they can be
My impression from observation, rather than science is that, certainly in
our environment, they are about as dangerous as hydrangeas
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