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Mr. Smarty Plants - Life expectancy of Desert Willow in Tucson, AZ

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Saturday - April 06, 2013

From: Tucson , AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Life expectancy of Desert Willow in Tucson, AZ
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

What is the life expectancy of a Chilopsis linearis under ideal circumstances.

ANSWER:

Dessert WillowChilopsis linearis (Desert willow) is a popular landscape plant, and several cultivars have been developed. Its native range extends from central Texas, west to California, and south into Mexico. This statement from its NPIN profile; “Adapted to desert washes, it does best with just enough water to keep it blooming and healthily green through the warm months” gives a hint of what its ideal circumstances might be. The profile also talks about other growth conditions.

It is considered a fast growing tree, and is the case with many fast-growing trees, it is relatively short-lived (more info). This link to arborday.org defines growth rate of trees in terms of inches per year, and it describes fast growth as 25” per year or greater.
Now life expectancy is hard to pin down, and this statement from the Garden Guides article is a little confusing; ” At maturity, the typical Desert Willow (linearis) will reach up to 25 feet high, with a maximum height at 20 years of 15 feet.”  This seems to imply a growth rate of only 18” per year. However, one might infer that a Desert willow can at least live up to 20 years. 

 

From the Image Gallery


Desert willow
Chilopsis linearis

Desert willow
Chilopsis linearis

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