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

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Friday - May 17, 2013

From: Golden Valley, AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Pruning, Trees
Title: Planting and care of Desert Willow in Golden Valley, AZ.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I got a desert willow to plant in yard. Some of the leaves dried out before I could plant. Will that stop the tree from growing into a decent size tree or stay as a shrub?

ANSWER:

Desert Willow Chilopsis linearis (Desert willow) is  referred to as small tree or large shrub and should do well in Mojave County AZ. I’ve included the growing conditions from its NPIN page.

Growing Conditions
Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Drought Tolerance: High
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Well-drained limestone soils preferred, but also does well in sands, loams, clays, caliches, granitic, and rocky soils. Minimal organic content the norm.
Conditions Comments: Allow to dry out between waterings, as this will encourage more extensive waves of blooms. Avoid excessive water and fertilizer, as that can lead to overly rapid growth, fewer blooms, and a weaker plant. Prolonged saturation can result in rot. Wont grow as fast or get as large in clay soil but wont suffer there either. Can be drought-deciduous in some regions. Can survive temperatures as low as 10 degrees F.

It is not clear to me what the size of the tree is, or whether you have planted the tree yet. The dried leaves, if there weren’t too many, will probably have little effect on determining whether the plant becomes a tree or remains a shrub. This is more related to pruning as the tree develops.

To help you with your Desert Willow, I’m including links that deal with
 tree planting  and care Transplant Shock, and Pruning .

 

From the Image Gallery


Desert willow
Chilopsis linearis

Desert willow
Chilopsis linearis

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