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One of our favorite mid-sized shade trees for urban landscapes is the Chinese Pistache (Pistacia chinensis). This quick growing (2-3’ per year) tree reaches heights of 40-50’ tall and 30’ wide. Although it can look a little scraggly as a young tree, it will grow into a beautiful rounded, spreading specimen.
Chinese Pistache must be planted in full sun with well-draining soil. They are great urban trees because they withstand heat and drought, and can tolerate a wide range of pH. In fact, they do so well in our area, Texas Agrilife Extension has named them a ‘Texas Superstar’.
The deep green leaves are pinnately compound, with as many as 20 leaflets. While the summertime foliage is lush & wonderful, Chinese Pistache really put on a show in the fall. Leaves will turn brilliant shades of red, orange, and yellow and truly be the talk of the neighborhood.
Bonus: Chinese Pistache is one of the first trees to change color in the fall, making it a true standout in the landscape.
We suggest Chinese Pistache to those that are looking for striking fall color, or live on a smaller lot, but still long for a shade tree.