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Gardening Answers Knowledgebase

Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Paulownia tomentosa, Woody plant propagation, Invasive plants

How can I propagate a Paulownia tree?


Something to consider before propagating this tree is its invasive potential. Depending on your location, increasing the population of Paulownia trees may not be wise. TheU.S. Department of Agriculture lists Paulownia tomentosa as an invasive species. If you are in King County in Washington State, you may be interested to know that the Center for Invasive Species shows this tree in its Early Detection and Distribution map.

Nevertheless, directions for propagation are available. Peter Thompson's book, Creative Propagation (2nd edition, Timber Press, 2005), states that Paulownia is best propagated by seed in the spring, or by semi-mature root cuttings laid horizontally just below the surface of the soil. I suggest that you think twice before propagating this tree.

Date 2018-04-21
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Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Invasive species, Ailanthus altissima, Paulownia tomentosa, Insect pests

I've been hearing lately that there's a new invasive insect called brown marmorated stink bug.

What plants does it damage, and how can I prevent or control the damage?


Yes, the brown marmorated stink bug is a recent arrival in the Pacific Northwest. Washington State University Extension has a Pest Watch fact sheet that provides details on its life cycle, contrast with similar-looking bugs in our area, and potential damage the bug causes. "BMSB," as it is called, is well-known on the East Coast for damaging agricultural/edible crops and ornamental plants, as well as seeking refuge inside houses during cold weather (they don't harm people, but they do emit offensive odors).

The website "Stop Brown Marmorated Stink Bug" is the main information clearinghouse on controlling this pest.It includes a list of host plants (two of the most attractive to BMSB are invasives themselves: Ailanthus altissima or Tree of Heaven, and Paulownia tomentosa or Empress Tree). Washington State University is involved in research on natural predators and control methods for this invader (as well as another recent one, Spotted Wing Drosophila). Most chemical interventions attempted so far have had limited efficacy. Research into organic controls is ongoing.

For now, get to know what the bug looks like, and if you think you see one in your garden or home, report it as a citizen-scientist using the form on the website of Stinkbug-Info.org or contact your local WSU Extension office.

So far, the only officially reported sightings in Washington State have been in Clark and Skamania counties.

Date 2018-08-15
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May 31 2018 13:14:08