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Mr. Smarty Plants - Cold hardiness of native Wild Olive in Austin

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Saturday - October 11, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Cold hardiness of native Wild Olive in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am considering purchasing a Mexican/Texas Olive (Cordia boissieri) at the upcoming Wildflower Center plant sale to put in my yard in east Austin. I know this tree naturally occurring range extends to south Texas and I am concerned that this frost-intolerant tree might not make it or die back to the roots in the winter. Do you have any advice on the survivability and fitness of the Mexican Olive being planted in the Austin area? Thanks!

ANSWER:

We really can't tell you a whole lot more than our webpage on Cordia boissieri (anacahuita) does, that it is hardy to Zone 8, that it can survive in San Antonio, but still get nipped back to the ground by a hard freeze, and may drop all its leaves in a milder freeze. The fruit attracts birds and other animals, but is not considered a suitable food for humans. From a couple of other resources, including USDA Forest Service Wild Olive, we learned that it has better chances in a sheltered spot, in full sun and perhaps where reflected heat, as from a brick or stone wall, might be available. It is said to have a frost tolerance to 18 deg F, but still could lose all its leaves at that temperature. We also learned that shelter is important because it is not very wind-tolerant. It would appear that if you can provide the right, protected environment you could very well enjoy this tree/shrub for a long time. 

We also should caution you that the species on the Species Plant List for the Fall 2008 Plant Sale, October 17 (Members only), 18 and 19 are those that have been available in the past, and are not guaranteed to be at this sale. It is based on availability, and some are few in number, and may be sold out quickly. Many are provided by vendors, and we may not know until they are delivered exactly what we will have on sale.


Cordia boissieri

Cordia boissieri

 

 

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