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Old 02-23-2014, 02:35 PM
5 posts, read 10,609 times
Reputation: 15


I am going to be planting some slow growing desert trees, such as ironwood and texas ebony. I've checked out nursery's and they have variety of sizes. I've done some research that says buying a bigger tree isn't always better because they bigger they are the more shock they go into when removed/replanted. Due to the shock they work on regrowing their roots for the first 2 years vs. growing leaves/branches. Thus a smaller tree doesn't go through as much shock and will grow faster. My concern is that I am choosing trees that are rather slow growing and would like to know if it's better in this case to just buy a bigger tree, such as a 42" box? They are substantially more expensive so I don't want to buy a bigger box tree if in 2 years the smaller tree would catch up to this size anyways. Does anyone have experience with either of these trees or have suggestions on what is the best size to purchase?
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Old 02-23-2014, 02:37 PM
Location: Hyrule
8,390 posts, read 11,373,984 times
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Go small and learn how to grow them strong trunked. So many people loose there trees and parts of their fence or home during monsoon storms due to large weak trees.
Most grow pretty fast, smaller is better. IMO>
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Old 02-23-2014, 03:27 PM
Location: Sonoran Desert
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I had a Texas Ebony once. Slow growing is an understatement.
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Old 02-23-2014, 05:50 PM
Location: Amongst the AZ Cactus
7,068 posts, read 6,270,891 times
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I usually go with smaller size version of trees and shrubs and find they often catch up to the larger sized plants in a few years. I learned this by planting several sizes of the same shrub or tree over the years in different parts of our yard(1 gallon, 5 gallon, 15, etc.) and often in a few years, my experience has been that they are all about the same size. Might be a root bound thing which makes the little guys establish quicker, as was mentioned possibly less shock, perhaps some field grown large varieties getting their roots cut back to fit in the 24" or larger size box, etc ......don't know why for sure but I know what my results/experience has been.

Not really much one can do with a plant that's slow growing except to water it properly and fertilize it with the proper fertilizer(if it's even necessary as some desert shrubs/trees make their own nitrogen from a combination of nitrogen that exists in the air and a bacteria that exists in our soil).

Backyard Gardener - Legumes and Nitrogen Fixation - February 15, 2012

Other than that, patience is paramount....or learn to like a faster growing tree.
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Old 02-23-2014, 09:11 PM
Location: Out there somewhere...a traveling man.
43,536 posts, read 59,960,553 times
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15 gal or 24 inch box trees are ideal sizes to start with for a DIY. They're ez to plant and fast to get established. Larger sizes need to be planted by the pros with big equipment. Yes it can take a 36 inch or larger tree up to 2 years to get established. The smaller trees take 90-180 days normally when planted during the growing season which is now, before the extreme hot weather sets in.
Most desert trees with the exception of a few are naturally slow growing. Slow growing trees live much longer than fast growing trees.
Success in any planting is proper soil preparation. Make sure you study up on your plants and how to plant and take care of them. Most that die are generally due to improper watering
Suggestion: Plant different sizes, it makes the landscape look more natural and professional.
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