What Are Allelopathic Trees?

What can you do when you need to remediate the damage from allelopathic trees and plants on your property? An expert tree service in Los Angeles, like International Environmental Corporation, is an excellent place to start.

Below, we discuss why you may want to address naturally occurring and artificial allelopathic compounds on trees as soon as possible.

What is Tree and Plant Allelopathy?

Part of the convenience of living in a suburb includes the manicured lawns, air-conditioned malls, and three-star restaurants within reach. However, this setup makes it easy to forget that trees and other plant life live in a world where survival of the fittest is the only rule. If you take a closer look, you’ll see this ruthlessness in action right in your backyard.

Allelopathy is a scientific term. The word originates from the Greek words allelo (a collective) and pathos (suffering). Allelopathic effects refer to biological events where trees, shrubs, crops, and other plants release chemicals to hinder the growth of neighboring plant life. 

Typically, allelopathic plants or trees eradicate nearby plant growth or cause competing vegetation to develop malformed roots, flowers, leaves, and stems. It’s a form of sabotage that gives the tree better access to the local ecosystem’s scarce resources. Thankfully, arborists can use the negative effects of this primitive chemical warfare for natural weed killing and the expulsion of invasive species.

How Does Tree Allelopathy Work?

Tree allelopathy can occur in different ways, and scientists are still working to identify them all. For example, multiple parts of a tree can produce allelopathic compounds in different seasons. They also change their approach during harsh weather, such as freezing winters or droughts. 

The resulting toxins may come from many components, including:

  • Tree flowers
  • Bark
  • Root systems
  • Foliage
  • External leaf tissues

The process usually starts in the fall. Toxic leaves fall from allelopathic trees and saturate the ground to inhibit seedling growth beneath the tree. After these compounds decompose, nearby grass, shrubs, and trees will exhibit signs of malnutrition and death.

Can Tree Allelopathy Be a Good Thing?

North America’s superstars are some of the most common perpetrators, including pine, eucalyptus, and the maple that appears on Canada’s flag. The black walnut tree secretes allelopathic compounds through its roots, nut hulls, and buds. These trees alone kill millions of potatoes, eggplants, peppers, and other nightshade plants each year.

Thankfully, chemists and arborists have found ways to leverage these natural allelopathic compounds for good. For example, they create all-natural, biodegradable herbicides with no side effects on plants, animals, and humans. Allelopathy in trees now makes sustainable agriculture possible, an ironic twist on its original role.

Contact the Experts in Allelopathy and Trees Today

Why not ask our ISA board-certified arborists about tree services that fall under HOA tree policies? We offer a leading tree removal, land clearing, and landscaping service in Los Angeles County. 

Call International Environmental Corporation at (818) 892-9341 today for more on a native plant, invasive species, and allelopathic trees in Los Angeles, CA, and the surrounding areas.

International Environmental Corporation

Our team of certified arborists boast a vast knowledge of tree services, making us the top choice in full-spectrum tree care and property services. Our work helps to improve the safety of residential and commercial properties that play home to trees of all sizes.


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