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Monday - August 20, 2007

From: Pflugerville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Growth rate of trees
Answered by: Nan Hampton


What is the growth rate of the following plants. (How wide and tall each year? They are all in 1 gallon pots right now.) 1. Agarita 2. Anacacho Orchid 3. Silk Tassel. Is there anything that can be done to maintain it well so that they grow very fast? I am in Pflugerville so would it need any soil amendment? if yes what is the recommended amendment? I am specially concerned about the Agarita because it will be close to the eave of the house. This side of the house remains moist in summer up to about 2 feet from the wall of the house. The silk tassel will get the hot afternoon sun. So what can I feed them or take care of them to make them grow fast.


Since rate of growth depends not only on the genetics of the plant but the environmental conditions it experiences, Mr. SP can't give you the exact amount of growth for the three plants, but can suggest a possible expected range.

Mahonia trifoliolata (agarita) is a slow grower. Under the best conditions it might grow as much 5-8 inches a year, but 2-4 inches is probably a better estimate of yearly growth. It's maximum height is only about 6.5 feet. It prefers full sun, but will grow in some dappled shade. it is most often found in caliche with underlying limestone, but can be happy with most any kind of soil as long as it's well-drained. I would be a little concerned about it under the eaves of the house because of the shading it will get as well as the damp soil. You probably would be more successful with it if you moved it from that location into a sunnier, well-drained spot.

Bauhinia lunarioides (Anacacho orchid tree) is, relatively, a faster grower and can add 8-10 inches a year. Under cultivation it can reach 12-15 feet. It can be grown in partial shade or full sun and also prefers well-drained soil. It benefits from being on the south side of a cover (like a wall or a house) protecting it from winter winds.

Garrya ovata ssp. lindheimeri (Lindheimer's silktassel), according to Jill Nokes (How to Grow Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest), has a root system that is slow growing and takes 2-3 years to get well-established. Once established, however, it is moderately fast growing. Pushing them into faster growth with fertilizer appears to weaken them. It grows in well-drained soil in sun or partial shade. You can read more about silktassel in an article from the Boerne Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas.

You have chosen three excellent native plants for your property. Since agarita and silktassel are both native to Travis County, Texas it isn't necessary to add anything to your soil for them. They are both well-adapted to the calcareous clay soil of the county. Anacacho orchid tree's native range is southwest Texas and Mexico. The soils it lives in there are also limestone based so your Pflugerville soil should not need any amendments.



Mahonia trifoliolata

Bauhinia lunarioides

Garrya ovata ssp. lindheimeri



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