This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V24", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
"H. S. A.," Selins Grove, Pa., writes : "I am at present very much interested in getting the latest and best information about the qualities of the Ailantus tree. The Town Council of Selins Grove have just ordered the destruction of two fine Ailantus trees standing in front of our homestead, on the ground of unhealthiness. If they are right I would like to know it. In the American Agriculturist, April, 1878, is an item thus: 'Prof. Sargent, Director of the Arnold Arboretum, of Harvard, and also a member of the Mass. S. B. of Agriculture, has contributed to the annual report of the Secretary of that Board some notes on tree planting. That portion of most interest to us relates to the Ailan-tus. It is true that the tree has one, easily avoided fault, which cannot, in the mind of any sensible person, offset its usefulness, etc.' I would like to get that report, and am ignorant of the name or address of any one from whom I might get them. If you could help me get that report and any other information on the subject you may know of, I should take it as a great favor." [There are hundreds of Ailantus trees about Philadelphia, a number of them within twenty yards of the spot from this writing, and though some of these trees must have been where they are growing for twenty-five or fifty years, we never heard a hint that any one suspected them of being in any way injurious to health.
We should not hesitate to say positively they are not. It would indeed be strange if, in the midst of the talent and fame connected with the medical colleges of Philadelphia, no one of the thousands of eminent men educated in them should have discovered the unhealthy character of this tree, some of which actually grow about the University. We should be inclined to carry it to the courts, if any Town Council ordered any of our Ailantus trees cut down for such reasons as these. - Ed. G. M].