Mastic Tree (Pistacia lentiscus)

14 years ago


Once the weather cools off, I'll be planting a few trees in my yard. One I am seriously considering, but not quite sold on, is the Mastic Tree (Pistacia lentiscus).

If anyone living in the Phoenix metro area has this tree, would you be willing to share your experiences with it? Most sources say it's evergreen - does it really keep its leaves year round? It seems there are many 'evergreen' trees that don't quite live up to the name. :-)

I've read conflicting info regarding the litter, too. Some sources say low, others report moderate. How clean is it? I don't mind some leaf drop, but I really don't want a lot of seeds and flower drop.

What about pests and diseases? Has the tree been relatively trouble free? Or is it always a battle keeping it healthy and looking good?

Would love to hear your experiences growing this tree.

Thank you! :-)

Comments (13)

  • User
    14 years ago

    I have a young one, it's been in the ground for one year. It didn't even realize we had winter much less a pretty severe one (zero leaf loss) and I have seen zero litter from it. These are the reasons I put in the tree and it has held true.

  • billyjt
    14 years ago

    good idea to wait. I planted two this summer and almost lost them. Put shade around them and now they have fresh green growth. very pretty trees. I got mine at bakers on 40th st. They did not have very many. I later found that Jackrabbit Nursery on Jackrabbit Road in Buckeye has a very good selection of them, 24 " box and smaller. very nice owners.
    I did a lot of prep with the soil, very large hole, mulch, and vermiculite
    best of luck

  • ckr97
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Thank you to everyone who responded to my inquiry. My backyard is about 80-85% desert landscaping. It gravel (no grass) with lots of cacti, yucca and agaves. Many small to mid-size bushes border the walls.

    I have two fruit trees in a back corner and three Queen Palms around my pool. The palms are now about ten years old. A local nursery had highly recommended them as an ideal tree for pools that provide shade. Thankfully, I have a sense of humor and can laugh about it now. ;-) If they provide any shade at all, itÂs for my neighbors!

    From my experiences with the bushes I planted, I learned the plants donÂt always read the books or the attached tags. ;-) IÂve had to move many that grew much larger than expected, or didnÂt grow large enough! IÂm hoping to avoid that with my future trees.

    I want to stay away from messy trees like the Mesquite, am allergic to the yellow pollen dropped by Palo Verde trees and have never been impressed by the Acacias. My ideal tree would be well adapted to our climate, be relatively clean, have darker green foliage and provide shade on the denser side. The Mastic Tree seems like it fits all this criteria  so I kind of wondered if something was wrong with it. :-) IÂm happy to hear everyoneÂs good experiences with it.

    Thank you,
    CKR (who needs shade)

    P.S. billyjt, thanks for the nursery recommendations. Both are a bit of a drive for me, but I always enjoy learning of new places to visit.

  • legend1930_hotmail_com
    10 years ago

    Mastic tree is one of the most beneficial trees for human being its fruit uses in toothpastes to keep the tooth clean and strong, it help stomach, liver, and Arabs use it in their Cookies. you should do some research about that great tree.

  • Michael O (USDA Z9 San Tan Valley AZ)
    6 years ago

    I know this is an thread, but I wonder about my tree.

    I just got one a couple a weeks ago from Berridge Nursery, and yesterday I did not water it and by the evening most of the leaves were dry and yellow. Is it dying? Any thing I can do to keep it alive? It was in full sun, but I moved it to get afternoon shade now.

  • joncongaroo
    6 years ago

    Mastic trees are pretty tough. If it's still in the nursery container you'll need to water it at least once a day as warm as it's been. Keep it in light shade or p.m. shade until it shows new growth and get it in the ground. If you don't see any growth in two weeks, it's probably a goner.

    I planted mine from a 5 gallon container in full sun in Feb. 2008 with no amendments added to the soil. Now that it's established, I water it deeply every two weeks during the summer. It wants to be a shrub growing sideways instead of up. I cut off at least 50 percent of the foliage every March trying to train it into a tree shape. It's now about ten feet tall and wide with a 5 inch diameter trunk.

  • Michael O (USDA Z9 San Tan Valley AZ)
    6 years ago

    Thanks, I think it is a 15 gallon container ( nursery), I water it good and gave it a bit of fertilizer (half strength). I sure hope it is going to make it.

    It can not go in the ground yet since I still have to take out a big shrub that it will be replaced by the tree.

  • aeneasilion
    5 years ago

    I live in the Carefree/Cave Creek area and have nine mastic trees of varying ages on my property. I love them. Believe it or not, those that have done the best came from a Lowe's plant nursery. Although some commenters above have stated that mastic trees are true evergreens, they nevertheless do experience some leaf loss at this time of year (March and April), but it is no where anything like that experienced by deciduous trees. The first year that this happened with my first mastic tree I became alarmed that the tree was in a state of collapse, but this turned out not to be true, especially in light of the fact that it also was pushing out bright new green leaves. All nine of my mastic trees are currently experiencing some minor leaf loss of older leaves while putting out new healthy growth, so I have to assume this is normal.

    Although mastic trees are generally drought tolerant, they require some coddling for the first year or so until they are established. For the first two weeks after I plant a mastic tree, I water it every day in the morning. Then I go to watering every other day. When the really hot weather comes in I go back to watering every day until temperatures moderate in the fall (established trees don't require as much water). As fall progresses I water once a week for all trees, then every three weeks during December and January. Even though we had a few occasions this past winter when temperatures dropped below freezing, my mastic trees showed no ill effects. And, as the days got longer and the weather warmer, they put out lush new growth.

    The photograph shows a mastic tree that I bought in a 2-gallon container in December 2013 for $19 at a nearby nursery. When I bought it it was more of a bush than a tree, but I found one stem that could serve as the main trunk, so I am training it to grow straight using stakes I bought at Home Depot. Its height is now 64 inches. In the background along the cinder block wall are three mastic trees that I bought at Lowe's in January 2015. They are growing beautifully. All of these mastic trees pictured get morning and early afternoon sun, but a large mesquite tree to the left of these trees and not seen in the photograph later provides shade as does the cinder block wall and the house next door as the sun moves lower in the western sky. So, some shade will reduce heat stress during the hot months.

    Happy planting!

  • HU-486215893
    last year

    My 3 month old mastic tree seems to be simultaneously sprouting new leaves and filling out, while many other leaves are now turning yellow and falling off. I can't seem to find whether the yellowing is an indicator of over or underwatering it. I was told by the nursery to water it everyday for 5 minutes for the first month to take root, then go to every other day or so during the summer. I have followed this routine, but not sure if I'm killing it or if this yellowing of the leaves on some branches is natural shedding...can anyone help with advice? Thank you!

  • Lana Kinberg
    last year

    Hello! I found your post because I’m having the same issue and was internet searching. I live in Summerlin NV. My tree was planted Feb 2019 so technically has survived 2 winters and has grown over a foot and continues to sprout new leaves. Just recently I noticed many of the interior leaves are yellowing. I have not changed the water cycle or anything else and believe it’s due to normal leave loss based on what I’ve read however I don’t mind saying it makes me nervous. My plan is to trim all the yellow leaves at the branch and allow the new sprouts to keep going. I have heard and read that these trees can grow very quickly and take over ones yard if not too careful leading me to believe they sprawl if not trimmed properly. I’ll post again if I learn more.

  • amazingarizona
    last year

    Hi, I have two baby multi-stemmed mastic trees in full sun (6 weeks now) and they have not changed one bit, planted at 3500 ft elevation. Is that normal? My mastic bushes started growing almost immediately. I have been watering them every other day (90-103F), seems to be OK.
    How do I trim and train these trees? I was told to let my multi-stem olive tree grow wild and not cut anything off (just new ground level shoots) for a couple of years to make its trunks thicker. Is the same true for the mastic?

    Can they handle full sun without any sun protection? So far they look good and my bushes are doing great (planted 2 years ago) but they don't have sun-exposed trunks.

    Love these plants. They shed so little and the leaves are so small they disappear into the gravel. Yellow/orange leaves in the spring seems to be normal, some bushes seem to drop more leaves, and are more tree like while one is almost like a sage bush, many many branches and very bushy, can't see stems at all. Very different look but sold as same plants.

  • HU-191275974
    6 days ago

    Would you be willing to sell me a few of the leaves from your Mastic Tree? And one branch the size of a switch? Thank you, Ali E.