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Invasive or Just Great Fall Color

Invasive or Just Great Fall Color

Fall color of Chinese tallow

Fall color of Chinese tallow. Image credit UGA Extension

Chinese tallow tree (Sapium sebiferum (L.) a  deciduous and very aggressive tree. Many people appreciate the fact that it grows fast, provides great shade, and has a beautiful reddish fall color.

Despite it’s attributes, it is highly invasive and considered a noxious weed. It has spread to every coastal state from North Carolina to Texas, and inland to Arkansas. In Florida it occurs as far south as Tampa. Chinese tallow was listed in Florida as a noxious weed in 1998 which means that possession with the intent to sell, transport, or plant is illegal in the State of Florida.

The Chinese tallow tree can reach heights of 30 feet and the seeds resemble popcorn, hence its other name, popcorn tree. These popcorn shaped seeds and the aggressive root system sprouts make it very hard to control the spread of this tree. Animals also spread the seeds freely!

Although the Chinese tallow has great fall color problems come with it.

Some questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you want great fall color and a yard full of Chinese tallow?
  • Hey what about the neighbor. Do they want Chinese tallow in their yard?

Think about more than fall when planting.
To read more on how to control Chinese tallow follow this link: edis.ifas.ufl.edu/FR251


Author: Eddie Powell – pep5@ufl.edu

Residential Horticulture
Educate the residents of Walton County who are unfamiliar with growing certain landscape and vegetable plants that grow in north Florida. Provide homeowners with information about why a good looking healthy lawn is important. Teaching proper fertilization and irrigation practices for successful backyard gardening and container gardening.
Master Gardener Coordinator
Develop in-school programs with use of Master Gardeners to reach school kids and youth. Also provide educational programs for developing community gardens and provide educational material at local festivals.


Eddie Powell

Permanent link to this article: http://okaloosa.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2014/10/07/invasive-or-just-great-fall-color/