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Chinese Pistache: Shade Tree Superstar For Texas

Which characteristics are most important when choosing a tree to shade and beautify your home? First, to realize the "Earth-Kind" goal of attractive, productive plants, with minimum effort but maximum protection for the environment, an enlightened selection of plant materials is crucial. Secondly, with the specter of oak wilt threatening live and red oaks in many areas of Texas, there is an urgent need for more diversity in tree species being planted in our state.

 Image of Chinese Pistache changing color So what is the best medium-size shade tree for most areas of Texas? The name is unusual but the performance is outstanding; it's called the Chinese pistache (pronounced pis-tash'). Botanically it is known as Pistacia chinensis.

Abundance Of Texas Advantages

Highly recommended for many years by horticultural experts at Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and Kansas State universities, this native of China possesses a number of special advantages:

Ugly Duckling To Beautiful Swan

Although considered by many experts to be near perfect for this area of the U.S., the Chinese pistache does have a couple of minor faults. First, young pistache in 5-gallon containers (a nice size to purchase) are often rather awkward and gangling in appearance. Rest assured that after 5-6 years of tender loving care in your landscape, this "ugly duckling" will have been magically transformed into a most "beautiful swan" as its canopy develops and begins to mature. Secondly, shaping and pruning your tree when it's young may be necessary to encourage proper branch spacing and structure and for best crown development. Even without such pruning however, the vast majority of pistache will eventually make very nicely shaped trees on their own.

Buying Tips

Pistache Culture At A Glance

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