Chinese Pistacho

We built our house on a rise so that there would be no problem with flooding from the creek and because we wanted a breeze.  Going up in elevation, we are about 100 yards from the creek.   So guess how many times we’ve had problems with flood water since we’ve been here.  Right.  Zero.  But It could happen .

Then, there’s the breeze.  What we actually have is a gale most days.  All this to say that we choose our building site based on those two factors, not on shade trees.  There are plenty of places with groves of native oaks we could have chosen.

The view is great here, and we love that.

But here we were with a yard that needed shade trees.  So we proceeded to acquire trees.  This was a chance to get some types of trees that we’d never had before.   We moved into the house in Jan. of 2005.  In early spring we had three trees – two oaks and a Chinese Pistachio – planted.

This Chinese Pistasho is in the front yard and most times has a lovely shape.  Sometimes in a growth spurt it has some crazy shoots like the branch on the top left of the tree pop out.  It also has a tendency to have some low hanging branches.  We cut them off if they interfere with mowing.

Chinese Pistasho or Pistache, Pistacia chinensis, is winter hardy and long lived.  Best of all, it is drought and soil tolerant.  In the fall the leaves turn a red orange.  The average height is 10 – 40′ tall.  This one is probably 12′ now.

In the spring, there are clusters of white flowers  before the new leaves emerge.  The inedible fruits are small, about 1/4″ in diameter.  They start out red but turn dark blue-black.

In 2007 we had another Chinese Pistachio planted in the back yard.  We have bought most of our trees from someone who has a tree farm about 35 miles away.  He’s also willing to dig the holes and plant them for a fee.  Big plus factor.

This is the one in the back.  Looks like a fan with too few ribs.  But now view it from another angle.

Can you make out the narrow shape?  There is a large native oak behind it.  Try to ignore that.

This crazy tree can make me laugh at how ridiculous it looks or sometimes I shake my head and sigh with disappointment.  I guess it depends on my mood that day.  My husband is the eternal optimist and assures me that  branches will  grow out to balance it.  He has been saying that for five years.

The brown spots on the trees are not dead leaves but clusters of the berries.

In spite of the cockeyed shape of the one tree, we do like Chinese Pistasho, especially the fall color and the thick shade it provides.

“The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago.  The next best time is now.”  Chinese proverb




2 thoughts on “Chinese Pistacho

  1. I just planted the Chinese Pistachio last fall. So far no buds; maybe barely if you look hard. I’m in Northern NM and hope it made it through the winter, which wasn’t that bad. When did your trees bud out when they were new in the Spring?


    • Hi,
      If you mean when did the leaf buds appear, that was in March here because we had so much warm weather early on. If you mean the berry buds, they come in the fall. Our Chinese Pistachio is fully leafed out now.

      Good luck with yours.

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