Explore Plants

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 

Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
3 ratings

Saturday - May 30, 2009

From: San Jose, CA
Region: California
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Problems with non-native Chinese pistache tree in San Jose CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We have a Chinese Pistache tree that is between 25 and 30 years-old. Over the past couple years, we have observed more and more branches dying. They turn black, and remain leafless in the spring, when new growth appears on the rest of the tree. It is a sidewalk tree in a square of about 4 feet. Also, we've noticed two characteristics on the trunk. The first is random spots of fuzzy yellow matter. Another is that on the main trunk, there appears to be a black blob. One day, I did notice a black beetle run across the trunk. Is this poor tree a victim of a pest or a fungus? Is there hope? We would like to save the tree without the service of an expensive arborist.

ANSWER:

Pistacia chinense is native to China, Taiwan and the Philippines, and therefore out of our range of expertise.  The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is committed to the care and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. Here is a website from the USDA Forest Service which might give you some information you need. 

However, while we have your attention, may we give you a couple of reasons why we would be happy if you replaced your tree with something native? First, read this Texas Invasives.org Plant Detail Page on Pistacia chinense. Then, check out Dave's Garden Forum on Chinese Pistache. There are two very negative opinions about the tree, one from Texas and one from San Jose, CA.

Since there are apparently a lot of this tree in San Jose, we suggest you go to the University of California Cooperative Extension office for Santa Clara County, CA. They should be able to help you with the diagnosis and treatment of the tree's problems. 

 

 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Removing non-native juniperus x pfitzeriana in Arvada CO
June 25, 2009 - We have 200' of large juniper pfitzers (3' tall - 4' wide) that completely enclose our front yard. We want to remove all of them but the estimates to dispose of them have been extremely high. One...
view the full question and answer

Transplant shock in non-native Mexican Ruda
July 14, 2006 - I hope that you can help me. I planted some Mexican Ruda in a large pot. Planted it in good soil. The plant is not doing well. It's droopy and drying out. I watered it every other day. It is in t...
view the full question and answer

Pruning of non-native abelias in Fair Oaks Ranch, TX
January 24, 2011 - I have some old established Abelias that are leggy at the bottom. Can I cut them back, and if so, how far and best time to do so?
view the full question and answer

Is India Hawthorne a deer-resistant plant?
July 03, 2011 - Is India Hawthorne a deer resistant plant in Beaufort County South Carolina?
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native ixora in Punta Gorda, FL
April 16, 2009 - We are having problems with our Ixora plants. The leaves turn yellow, then fall down.
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.