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Invasive Vegetation Management and Prairie Seeding

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, located in Montgomery County, Ohio, is the largest Air Force base in the United States. Wright-Patterson is one of the most famous and diverse bases, providing 24,000 jobs, innovative research, educational outreach, and national defense. The base is also richly steeped in history, with the Wright Brother’s first flight occurring on the adjacent Huffman Prairie, and its namesake designated in honor of Lt. Patterson who passed in a test flight crash.

In 2012, Davey removed over 1,000 Ailanthus altissima (tree-of-heaven) trees within both private and public woods on the base. Wooded areas on site were a combination of mature, immature, and bottomland disturbed forest. Disturbed areas had become susceptible to the invasion and establishment of tree-of-heaven, creating pockets of monoculture. Efforts were made to begin effective restoration on the fragmented forest areas.

To remove tree-of-heaven, Davey arborists and biologists utilized multiple control methods with a cut-stump treatment approach. The mechanical control method required Davey crew members to fell the invasive tree-of-heaven with a chainsaw and cut it into stumps. Chemical control entailed the treatment of felled tree stumps with hand sprayers. Sapwood on all stumps received treatment with Garlon® 4 Ultra (triclopyr) to prevent asexual re-sprouting and control the invasive tree population.

The tree-of-heaven invasive species project is a component of a multi-faceted restoration and conservation effort occurring on the base. Goals of the project were to:

  • Reduce the density of invasive trees 
  • Increase crown light exposure of the forest floor
  • Improve the potential for native tree re-generation 
  • Improe overall quality of habitat for wildlife


This project has contributed to Wright-Patterson’s successful proactive approach to natural resource management on the base.