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

Possible woodpecker damage in Monterrey Oaks
November 17, 2006 - I live in NW Austin and have two Monterey Oak trees, each about 30 - 45 gal in size. They both were planted approximately 9 months ago. Both trees seem to have some cracking bark on the trunk along w...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on southern magnolia
April 11, 2005 - I live in East Texas and there are two 50-year-old southern magnolia trees in front of my house on the highway right-of-way marked to be destroyed. The Texas Department of Transportation has allowed t...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Anacacho Orchid tree in Austin
May 17, 2010 - I have an Anacacho Orchid that is about 9ft tall. It is early May and has not started to put out leaves yet on the old growth. I can't even see any noticeable buds yet. It is still alive because I ha...
view the full question and answer

Privacy hedge for Palm Springs CA
July 04, 2013 - Dear Mr. Smarty Pants I have a 6 foot block wall, and my house is elevated, and I need a privacy hedge or tree (even flowering) to create more privacy. I do not want to use Ficus as I hear they can d...
view the full question and answer

Damaged oaks from Hurricane Ike in League City, TX
August 25, 2009 - After hurricane IKE, one of our oak trees (in front yard) was partially uprooted from the ground. We did place it back, and tie it down with supports. Further, we inserted fertilizer spikes, and give ...
view the full question and answer

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