In some states Royal Empress Trees or Paulownia Trees are commonly thought of as invasive trees. In fact, they’re listed as invasive trees. This can be pretty jarring to hear while shopping for a new tree. No one wants to plant something that will spread all over their neighborhood. However, not all Royal Empress Trees are invasive, there are sterile and non-aggressive varieties. Although, the Royal Empress varieties that are invasive will quickly spread all over.
Some varieties of Royal Empress Trees can produce up to 20,000,000 seeds per year that get released into the wind and carried far distances away. Those numbers can lead to huge amounts of new trees. Once these new trees get started they can be hard to stop. They’re very tough and drought tolerant. Royal Empress Trees can survive in a huge variety of different climates. They also take off and can get 40 to 50 feet tall and 30 to 40 feet wide. This large canopy spread often times creates large amounts of shade under the tree, which can block sunlight from local plants. Local trees and plants can’t survive with this lack of sunlight. Once a Royal Empress Tree spreads and takes over an area, they beat the local competition as well. This puts them on a lot of invasive trees and do not plant lists!
Noninvasive Royal Empress Trees
However, you don’t have to worry about our Royal Empress Trees spreading because they’re sterile. Our Royal Empress Trees are grafted from a sterile mother tree and can’t spread. The grafting process involves taking a cutting from the parent tree and planting it. The genetic makeup of grafted trees and their parent trees are identical; they’re more or less clones. This process ensures that a young new tree will have the same flower color as the parent tree and that the fruit tastes the same as the parent tree. Plants grown from seeds can often times turn out very different from their parents.
For example, if you eat a delicious apple and plant the seeds, then in a few years when your new tree produces fruit its apples can taste completely different. In the Royal Empress Tree’s case the grafting process ensures that the new young trees are also sterile, so they won’t spread all over your neighborhood. Seeds that grow on sterile trees will still be released in the wind, but they won’t be able to produce new trees.
We often look for varieties of this tree with low rates of spreading and nonaggressive roots. The Paulownia Elongata is a trusted noninvasive variety. The Paulownia Tomentosa is another popular Royal Empress Tree variety carried by many nurseries that’s known to be dominating and invasive.
Royal Empress Trees often reproduce with seeds but they also produce root sprouts. With sterile trees seeds are nothing to worry about. Root Sprouts can pop up with both sterile and non-sterile trees but they shouldn’t cause any concern. Root sprouts commonly known as water sprouts or suckers are small growths that grow from the root system of an existing tree near the trunk. In most cases suckers or root sprouts only grow a few inches away from the base of the existing tree.
These growths can occur on many different types of trees that are known as surculose trees. Root Sprouts are technically part of the same tree and they’re a nuisance that should be removed. Root sprouts will not turn into new trunks or limbs on the existing tree. They spring up like weeds from existing root stocks and steal energy and nutrients from the main trunk of the tree. In some cases a root sprout can kill the main trunk of a tree.
Tree stumps and trees that appear to be dead above the soil line can grow root sprouts or suckers as well, because their root stock under ground is still healthy and full of nutrition. After a forest fire surculose trees are often the first trees to return and repopulate the area, because the tree’s root systems have remained unharmed by the fire and can push out new growth.
If you have a tree that appears dead, it’s best to remove the suckers, and cut your tree back. It should recover. The number one way to remove a root sprout is to get a firm grasp on it and pull it upwards out of the ground in a twisting motion, similar to removing weeds.
Again, root sprouts or suckers are nothing to be concerned about. If you spot one on any of your trees ranging from flowering, fruiting, or ever green trees simply remove them. They stay close to the trunk of an existing tree and won’t spread all over a wide area. Suckers may occur more frequently with trees that have more aggressive root systems.
Some suggest if you water your trees lightly and often instead of giving them a slow deep watering less frequently then the tree’s roots will stay close to the ground’s surface. Oftentimes roots grow down to look for water, but if it’s frequently provided close to the surface they’ll stay close. With roots closer to the ground’s surface root sprouts can pop up more easily. Trees will always benefit more from a slow deep watering every few days instead of receiving a little bit of water every day.
Royal Empress Tree Benefits
Now that you know that our Royal Empress Trees are noninvasive and safe to plant let’s talk about how great of a tree they actually are. If you’ve heard that they’re invasive before, then you’ve probably also heard that they grow extremely fast. It’s one of their most talked about qualities. They grow about 6 to 10 feet a year and reach their mature heights of 40 to 50 feet tall very quickly. Royal Empress Trees get a lot of attention once planted, because before your neighbors know it you’ll have a massive tree in your yard that seemed like it was a newly planted little tree just yesterday.
They’re commonly used for shade trees because their thick canopy blocks the sun and creates a nice shaded area for people to sit in and enjoy. The shade can also provide heat relief for homes and lower AC bills. Furthermore, Royal Empress Trees lose their leaves in the fall letting sunlight through their branches when people need it to stay warm. Royal Empress Trees also make beautiful ornamental trees because in the spring they have hundreds of purple blooms that last for weeks. The flowers provide a sweet spring aroma similar to jasmines and gardenias to freshen up yards after winter.
Royal Empress Trees are low maintenance survivors. You can plant them and forget them. They’ll grow in full to partial sunlight and in a variety of different soils. However, they love sandy soil. You can also mix sand or a fine potting mix with your natural soil to make it loamier. Royal Empress Trees are recommended for growing zones 5 through 11, so they’re cold hardy and can beat the heat. They can withstand temperatures down to about negative 10 degrees Fahrenheit.
The only thing that bothers these trees is too much water. They’re very drought tolerant and like to stay dry. When selecting a planting location for your tree make sure it won’t sit in a low area of your yard that collects standing water or where a lot of run off passes by. Before you water your Royal Empress Tree make sure that the soil is dry down about 2 to 3 inches below the soil’s surface.
Fertilizer is a great treat for Royal Empress Trees. They can’t get enough of it. While they don’t require any fertilizer, you can give them a boost with an organic fertilizer that’s high in nitrogen twice a month during the growing season from early spring to early fall. Doing this will help your tree spring up even faster.
Plant your Tree and Watch it Grow Without Taking Over
Remember not all companies sell sterile Royal Empress Trees, and they aren’t considered to be invasive in every state. Also, some varieties like the Paulownia Elongata aren’t considered to be invasive. Take these things into consideration before purchasing a new tree. If you’re looking for a tough tree that will take off the Royal Empress Tree is for you. You won’t have to wait a lifetime for a tall shade tree, and it will give you a ton of fresh air and beautiful pink blooms. Don’t worry about it being invasive. While some Royal Empress Trees are considered to be invasive trees in a few states, ours aren’t. Our Royal Empress Trees are sterile, and will give you fast upwards growth, without taking over your neighborhood.