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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.

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Friday - October 23, 2015

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Soils, Trees
Title: Growing Osage Orange in Caliche in Austin
Answered by: Mike Tomme

QUESTION:

Does Osage Orange tree grow in caliche? Do nurseries carry it?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants is trying to recall if he has ever seen a bodark, sorry, I mean Maclura pomifera (Osage orange) growing in caliche and I can't remember any offhand. But, that doesn't mean they won't. Here's what the US Forest Service has to say about it's preferred soil conditions:

Osage-orange grows on a variety of soils but does best on rich, moist,
well-drained bottomlands.  It occurs on alkaline soils, shallow soils
overlaying limestone, clayey soils, and sandy soils.  It can
occur on bottomlands which are seasonally flooded.

Obviously caliche is not optimal, but caliche fits the description of alkaline, shallow soils overlaying limestone. Given the wide variety of conditions where bodarks (oops, sorry again) have been successfully transplanted, I suspect it will do just fine.

As far as availability in nurseries, it is not common, but not unknown. Call around to nurseries specializing in native plants. If they don't have it in stock, they can probably order it for you.

 

From the Image Gallery


Osage orange
Maclura pomifera

Osage orange
Maclura pomifera

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