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.
Thanks for your defence of the Ailantus, one of our most beautiful and useful trees, one that, for the roadside, or for poor soils, when scarcely any other tree will succeed, has no equal. F. J. Scott, Esq., says of this tree ; "There are many features of the Ailantus that give it a rare and peculiar beauty, admirably suited to add to the variety of colors and forms in groups of trees. We have no tree that can take its place; none with such immense compound leaves, which alone give the tree a unique character; and they are thrust out boldly from the tree, thus showing their character to the best advantage. Their color is also of that thrifty yellowish green, rare among our native trees, therefore more needed in contrast with them." Why this warfare on a tree of such great beauty, and withal so valuable as a timber tree ? Is it because of the disagreeable odor of the flowers? If so, that is easily avoided and the tree spared to our roadsides. The tree is dioecious ; that is, the male or stami-nate flowers are borne on one tree, and the female or pistillate flowers on another. The female flowers are inodorous, in fact inconspicuous, and are succeeded by those beautiful clusters of fruit, an important feature in the beauty of the tree.
To avoid the disagreeable odor, plant the female trees only. As this tree is rapidly increased by root-cuttings, this is a very simple matter and may be carried on to an almost unlimited extent. Any farmer who has one of the fruit-bearing trees of medium size can get sufficient young stock, by cutting up the roots into short pieces, in the course of two years, to plant all his roadsides.