Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

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
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
1 rating

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

More Trees Questions

Plants beneath native bald cypress trees in Thibodaux LA
September 14, 2009 - I have a bed that needs to be revamped and it has two beautiful 18 year old Bald cypress trees. I would like to work the soil and plant some appropriate shade tolerant plants. How do I work the soil...
view the full question and answer

Disappearing oranges from Satsuma orange in Austin
June 25, 2008 - I had many tiny future oranges on my Satsuma Orange Tree until a few days ago. Suddenly, all were gone except one. They weren't on the ground and the tree itself seems incredibly healthy. It is gr...
view the full question and answer

Dying branches on Texas Mountain Laurel from Kempner TX
September 14, 2012 - The branches on my Texas Mountain Laurel are very dry and brittle. The leaves are also starting to die. The tree has been in my yard for six years and prior to that it sat wrapped in burlap for ov...
view the full question and answer

Diagnosis of problem and treatment of damaged Cedar Elm
February 01, 2007 - Part of our mature Cedar Elm looked damaged last summer. We were advised by a landscape designer to spray it with Kocide in late January as a treatment. Is there an alternative to this? Should we h...
view the full question and answer

Leaves dropping from a potted Mesquite
August 11, 2014 - I have a Prosopis pubescens (Screwbean Mesquite) that I purchased at a nursery in Alpine, TX just a few miles away from me. It was a in nursery style black plastic container. The mesquite is perhaps a...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.