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Arroya sweetwood growth habit ...

roselee z8b S.W. Texas
6 years ago
last modified: 6 years ago

Since seeds of Arroya sweetwood, myrospernum sousanum have been mailed to several people some pictures were taken yesterday so folks could get an idea of its growth habit.

In the foreground is a young tree that volunteered a couple of houses up from mine. It's never been pruned. Notice how multiple trunks like to 'swoop'. It could be pruned to a slightly more upright form ...

This is a younger tree that volunteered next door to me. You can see the leaves are starting to turn their showy yellow color with the fall weather ...

My tree by the street in front showing the leaning limb that is propped up with a big rock because I like the look ...

For those who will be growing it I hope this gives an idea of how to place this beautiful tree in your landscape. Here are more images.

Comments (52)

  • roselee z8b S.W. Texas
    Original Author
    6 years ago

    Mara, it seems like this tree would do well on your land. Do you have it growing?

  • wantonamara Z8 CenTex
    6 years ago

    I keep trying but my summer deadlines make for dead plants . I just planted some more from the swap. The thing is that I forget to water the establishing plants when they are planted away from the hose reach. Things get ;lost in the tall grass. Maybe third time is the charm.

    roselee z8b S.W. Texas thanked wantonamara Z8 CenTex
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  • here2learn (Zone 8 TX)
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Thanks so much for posting this! I planted a small plant last month (from the natural gardener) and wasn't sure if the yellowing leaves were a sign of stress or just the changing of the seasons. I suppose it could still be either, but I feel less anxious about it now!

    P.S. your tree is gorgeous and your earlier posts about it were the reason I wanted one!

    roselee z8b S.W. Texas thanked here2learn (Zone 8 TX)
  • trussin.22
    6 years ago

    Thanks for posting - I didn't know they get so big! I planted 3 one gallon trees last year that I purchased from hill country natives without knowing a thing about them. Two have teally taken off (about 3' new growth). Mine may be spaced too closely (probably 6-8' on center), but time will tell. I look forward to next spring - hopefully they'll produce the odor for which they're known.

    roselee z8b S.W. Texas thanked trussin.22
  • roselee z8b S.W. Texas
    Original Author
    6 years ago

    Trussin, my tree is about 25 years old so has had time to grow large.

  • here2learn (Zone 8 TX)
    5 years ago

    Roselee, if you don't mind my asking, about how big do you think your tree is (spread)? I read online that they have a maximum spread of 15 feet so I planted the center of mine about 9 feet from my house, but looking at your photo I'm wondering if I didn't plant it too close...

  • roselee z8b S.W. Texas
    Original Author
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    It's not that the spread is so great, but it's the lean you'll have to watch. But it can be trained. Just cut the branches that lean toward the house, or lean more than you want in any direction. It grows fast so don't hesitate to prune. The energy propelling the growth of the trunk or branch pruned will quickly be directed elsewhere. It may be best to let it be multi-trunked when young so that as it grows you can select the trunks you want to keep.

    I love this tree. Can you tell? ... lol

    I'm harvesting seeds now so if anyone wants some let me know through my Houzz page.

  • here2learn (Zone 8 TX)
    5 years ago

    Thanks! That sounds like a great plan!

  • bossyvossy
    5 years ago

    Tell me re about this tree? How about self-seeding, is it a problem?

    20' is pretty tall for an understory tree type setup. Does it take to selective top pruning?

  • roselee z8b S.W. Texas
    Original Author
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    It does self seed. The little ones are easy to pull, however.

    It takes to all kinds of pruning. A little whirl wind blew through a couple of years ago and took out the top of the one by the front curb. It never skipped a beat and quickly grew back.

    Be aware that it's the natural tendency of this tree to lean. That is part of its charm.

  • judijunebugarizonazn8
    last year

    I see that this is an old post, but I would really like some seeds from the Arroyo Sweetwood tree. I like in Arizona in zone 8 and would love to try some. Is there a way I could get you to mail some to me, roselee?

  • roselee z8b S.W. Texas
    Original Author
    last year

    Judi, If you will message me through my houzz page with your mailing address I will get some seeds to you.

  • judijunebugarizonazn8
    last year

    I sent a message to you yesterday, but after it said there was an error in sending. So I don't know if you got it or not.

  • roselee z8b S.W. Texas
    Original Author
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Judi, I did not receive a message from you. I forgot exactly how it works, but I think the sender has to be registered as well. I posted this several years ago. I hope it is still accurate information.

  • judijunebugarizonazn8
    last year

    Just want to let you know, Roselee, that I received your generous pack of seeds in the mail this week and have planted 6 pots of them. Looking forward to seeing these lovely little trees sprout and grow. Thank you so much! You are very kind to share them so freely with those who ask.

    roselee z8b S.W. Texas thanked judijunebugarizonazn8
  • roselee z8b S.W. Texas
    Original Author
    last year

    Wonderful! I'm looking forward to hearing how they do for you. :-)

  • Kevin Murray
    last year

    Roselee, would it be possible to get seeds from you? I planted an arroya sweetwood. We did this about 3-4 weeks ago. Now we are seeing yellowing of leaves and the small tender limbs are kind of withering. Any idea what this could be? I’m going to hope we can connect. Would love to plant more of these.
    Love the conversation.
    Thanks for your helpful comments.

    roselee z8b S.W. Texas thanked Kevin Murray
  • roselee z8b S.W. Texas
    Original Author
    last year

    I apologize for taking so long to get back to you! As for your little tree if your weather was anything like it has been in San Antonio it might be the several weeks of rain with cooler weather and then the sudden higher temps that is making it droop and the leaves to turn yellow. It is a strong growing plant and I feel like it will recover.

    The seeds have dropped on my Arroya Sweetwoods, but I managed to find three seeds. Message me though Houzz if you would like for me to mail them to you.

    Wishing you the best!


  • Xtal in Central TX, zone 8b
    last year

    I believe that you have singlehandedly brough the Arroyo Sweetwood back into yards of Central Texas where owners are looking for something out of the ordinary. Mine is planted on top of my Hummingbird Bed. Time to get out there and clean up some leaves at the bottom to see how many trunks have developed and then to see about giving them a hand to go in a direction that I'd like.


    I, too, can thank you for your seeds. You've been great about mailing them out to people. One day, I'll have seeds too and can follow in your footsteps. Thanks so much for your influence and ideas!

    Xtal

    roselee z8b S.W. Texas thanked Xtal in Central TX, zone 8b
  • Kevin Murray
    last year

    Hello Roselee, thank you so much for the arroya sweetwood seeds. Will give them a good home. Still trying to figure out what’s going on with the young arroya we planted. Now, all the leaves/small stems have dropped off. The small branches and trunk are still green. It’s a mystery!
    We really struggle with all landscaping because of all the rock. We just keep fighting the fight.
    Thx for being so passionate about

  • Kevin Murray
    last year

    Oops! Hit send too fast.
    Thx for your enthusiasm and love of plants.

    roselee z8b S.W. Texas thanked Kevin Murray
  • wantonamara Z8 CenTex
    last year
    last modified: last year

    How are you preparing the ground? Planting trees in rock is hard. Where are you located? and what kind of limestone is it? I get my rock breaker and pick axe out and dig a bigger than normal SQUARE hole with rough sides. The roots get stuck in a corner and will find a crack to break through. Round holes in unfriendly soils get the roots growing in a circle and then the roots strangle the tree. I learned this trick from Bamberger at his semenar at Selah Between Blanco and Johnson City. If my limestone is that really hard shelf stuff: I don't plant there. I look for areas where the rock is naturally brocken up. Some people IN my neighborhood where it is BAD have been known to laborously remove a huge trench to plant trees. He removed large boulders out of his trench. I am lazier. When I un pot the tree; I make sure that the roots are not growing in a circle. I will untangle them gently so they are not circular. A rock breaker is a large rebar ( 1.5" - 2" diameter X at least shoulder hieght) with a sharpened point. I would love a jackhammer. Such is life. I have a small arroyo sweeatwood tree that is in a pot getting larger waiting for October planting. I got it at Barton Springs Nursery in Austin.

    roselee z8b S.W. Texas thanked wantonamara Z8 CenTex
  • roselee z8b S.W. Texas
    Original Author
    last year

    Mara, thank you for your tips about planting trees in limestone.

    Xtal, in the early days before Arroyo Sweet wood trees were known I passed around a lot of seeds as they were passed along to me by Mr. Cox, horticulturist at the S.A. Zoo, but now am glad to see they are available in most nurseries. I'm happily amazed that they survived the big freeze with no damage whatsoever.

    Kevin, wishing you the best with your growing endeavors. Keep us posted.

  • lovepatterns
    last year

    What an interesting tree. Wondering if it's deer resistant. I'll have to do some googling.

    I'm just west of Austin. We LOVE our jack hammer and wish we'd bought one years ago.

  • wantonamara Z8 CenTex
    last year
    last modified: last year

    I am experiencing jackhammer envy!!!! My mind is sitting here wondering where west of Austin you are and can I borrow it. LOL I am off Hamilton Pool rd. I am joking ,....but not joking LOL.. The deer have not not gotten to the Arroyo Sweetwood tree that is in the ground..... boy howdie are the deer bad this year.

  • roselee z8b S.W. Texas
    Original Author
    last year

    It is a remarkable tree! Deer never brouse it and the big freeze did not damage it lt.

    Mara, maybe Santa will bring tou a jack hammer if you ask! ;-)

  • lovepatterns
    last year

    wantonamara, I'm in Drip. Omgosh, agree, the deer are sooo bad this year. Let me find out out what kind of jack hammer we bought. It's electric which is great.

  • lovepatterns
    last year

    We bought our jack hammer in June of this year so can't vouch for it's longevity. So far we are pleased with preformance. TR Industrial TR 89305 Electric Jack Hammer. $270 Amazon.


    roselee, woo hoo, a deer resistant tree! Although my deer seem to be more ravenous than most.

    roselee z8b S.W. Texas thanked lovepatterns
  • wantonamara Z8 CenTex
    last year

    I have counted 20 in my front field one tine and god they are no longer cute to me. True I have also run into 3 of them with my car through the years so that was not cute either.. I was wondering if a 68 year old very fit woman can handle the jarring? I am good with 12' long pole saws and chain saws. Have you used the jack hammer?

  • Chi Lu
    6 months ago

    Wow, what an interesting tree. Would this grow in the DFW area (zone 8b)? We had a couple years with hard freeze which covered the trees in ice. The tree service businesses here are still busy trimming/removing trees damaged by the freeze and ice. Even our Live Oak tree had broken branches from the weight of the ice.

    I'd like to try planting this tree. Would it be possible for me to get some seeds?

  • roselee z8b S.W. Texas
    Original Author
    6 months ago
    last modified: 6 months ago

    A few years ago I would have said DFW area is too cold for Arroya Sweetwoods, but with the present warming trend they may survive as mine did during "snowmagedden". I would send seeds but my trees are in flower now and have dropped all their seeds. I can find none on the ground. Perhaps there is someone reading this that has seeds, Otherwise send me a message in the fall and I will see what I can do then.

  • Kelly Kay
    2 months ago

    @roselee z8b S.W. Texas I have recently heard about this tree and am interested in possible seeds to see if I can grow one. I have to replace some trees lost due to the aforementioned "snowmagedden" and it's good to know yours survived (I'm in Austin). Not sure if they've started dropping yet with the shorter days.


    About how much growth happens in a year? There are some trees (juniper) I'd love to get rid of eventually (lost quite a few branches in that storm due to ice), but it gives me west shade right now, so I need to grow a tree in place before removing the other.

  • roselee z8b S.W. Texas
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Kelly Kay, Chi Lu, I have a few seeds. Please send me a private message. How to set up message system


    As for how much growth in a year, I haven't measured the growth rate from seeds, but last spring I decided I needed more shade in the back yard. Even though I had seeds I bought a tree about five foot tall. In one year it has more than doubled in height and quadrupled, or more, in bulk and width, and this in an extremely dry year, although I did keep it well watered nothing takes the place of rain. I have photos on my phone. Working from my computer right now. If I can figure how to get them on here I will.

  • roselee z8b S.W. Texas
    Original Author
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    This is spring 2021. The little light green bunch of leaves above the angel bird bath is the newly planted Arroya Sweetwood tree.


    Will take a photo in the morning of the tree as it is now.

  • roselee z8b S.W. Texas
    Original Author
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    I don't know why the photo didn't show above. Taken in May '21. All the lighter green above and in back of it is a mature A. Sweetwood.


  • wantonamara Z8 CenTex
    2 months ago

    I just bought a three foot tree and will be planting it soon. I did not water the small one gallon trees that I have scattered around and they almost doubled and they are planted in awful limestone rubble. These guys are tough. I am high up west of Austin .

    roselee z8b S.W. Texas thanked wantonamara Z8 CenTex
  • roselee z8b S.W. Texas
    Original Author
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Here is my tree, the light green area a little to the left of the bird bath, on 9/14/22 after a season and a half of growth from a 3 gal. pot.


  • Kelly Kay
    2 months ago

    @roselee z8b S.W. Texas With the bad soil and limestone, I definitely need something hardy! These do lose their leaves in the fall, yes? Is it very pretty while bare? I only ask considering a crape myrtle as well as their bark is at least pretty when leaves are gone and they also flower longer (but then, that's more mess for my front yard, the back I care less).


    I did message you yesterday but don't see a response yet.

  • wantonamara Z8 CenTex
    2 months ago

    Yes they loose there leaves. Mine did not grow as much as yours, Ragna.

  • judijunebugarizonazn8
    2 months ago

    I just want to come on here and let you know, roselee, that I have had great success with the seeds you sent me. I grew a dozen of them, but lost one. The other 11 have taken off beautifully and this summer when our monsoon rains began, I planted 3 of them out in an area that has poor soil. They don’t seem to know or care that I consider it poor soil and have promptly put on another foot of growth in 2 months time. I gave one to my dad who loves trees as well as I do, and three other friends are asking to try them in their yards. So I’m spreading them around and hope they all flourish and give joy to whoever sees them!

    roselee z8b S.W. Texas thanked judijunebugarizonazn8
  • Kelly Kay
    last month

    Texas - I messaged you again about seeds!


    Can you tell me how much mess they drop and how bad it is? I really need a tree that overhangs my driveway and sidewalk and all of the shorter trees make a huge mess.

  • Xtal in Central TX, zone 8b
    last month

    I can't tell you about the mess cause my tree now now has all the hummingbird plants growing around it. I plant my seedling on top of a tall berm so I could walk around the 'island' under shade. So, I can't truly answer that question. But, like any other deciduous tree, it will drop all it's leavers. I can send you some seeds if you like. I'm going to be mailing them to a relative who just bough an empty piece of land. It would make a great hammock tree.


    I've lost my cell, otherwise, I'd suggest that we talk. I'll try to keep an eye on this link. It's been so long since I was last on here, I don't remember how else to get it touch with you,

    Crystal

  • Xtal in Central TX, zone 8b
    last month

    I'm guessing that Roselee can mail you some seeds. I think she has singlehandedly popularized this tree. Mine is doing very well. Unfortunately, I can't take any photos at the moment because my cell is lost. I'll be pulling my seeds shortly.


    Another small tree that has fascinated me is the Texas Persimmon. The white legs it develops are incredible. It's not planted for the ftruit because they are too small. I haven't pruned mine. But, this winter I will be. It's another one you won't find for sale anywhere around here. I've been saving my seeds and have them stratifyiing in the fridge right not. i hope to get more started. I should check links here to see if anyone would like some seeds.

    Crystal

    roselee z8b S.W. Texas thanked Xtal in Central TX, zone 8b
  • roselee z8b S.W. Texas
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    As Crystal says Arroya sweetwood, myrospernum sousanum is not considered a messy tree. Yes, it drops it's leaves in the fall and flower petals in the spring, but those episodes are brief. Nor does it drop sticks or small branches like some trees. What might be of concern is that if it is planted near a flower bed the seeds germinate easily and have to be pulled.


    Also of concern is that it doesn't grow straight up like an 'ordinary' tree which is the subject of this thread. Looking at the very first picture at the top of the page you see the form it often takes. If you wanted a more upright tree you could prune the limbs on the left of the photo and stake the more upright trunk for a while.


    The seeds from my trees this year are about half their usual size due to our extreme drought. I haven't tried to germinate them so don't know if they are viable. The usual rainfall in San Antonio is over 30 inches a year. This year we've officially had 8 inches. My neighborhood is in a rain shadow and has received even less.


    Many non native trees are dying, but even a few native trees like red oaks are succumbing to the extremely dry ground. However, the A. sweetwood trees are very drought tolerant and are doing well .


    Crystal, so sorry you lost your phone. Hoping you are able to find it or replace it soon.

  • Xtal in Central TX, zone 8b
    last month

    Roselee, I would consider this a great tree for a hammock. Been saving my seeds to share. Everythink here has suffered. No rain for umpteen months, way beyond what other areas of Texas have. Fortunately the Arroyo Sweetwood has done well. Poor thing, it didn't get watered at all this summer. I love this tree and thank you for having sent me seeds those many years ago.


    One day, you'll hear back from me (after another iPhone gets ordered).

    Crystal

    roselee z8b S.W. Texas thanked Xtal in Central TX, zone 8b
  • Kelly Kay
    last month

    @Xtal in Central TX, zone 8b - I would love some seeds! I just ripped out bushes where I want to plant this tree in my front yard. Hopefully it can handle the full Texas west sun?


    Or @roselee z8b S.W. Texas? I'm happy to get seeds from you. You seem to have a hardy breed and I'm having issues locating one to buy locally (Austin).

  • wantonamara Z8 CenTex
    last month

    I have seen them at Barton Springs Nursery in Austin. Also check Great Outdoors..

  • blakrab Centex
    last month

    "Another small tree that has fascinated me is the Texas Persimmon. The white legs it develops are incredible. It's not planted for the ftruit because they are too small."


    Not at all...its sweet fruits are nickel-to-quarter-sized. So, they are perfectly bite-sized and delicious! Much larger than blueberries, and also better-tasting, IMO!

  • wantonamara Z8 CenTex
    last month

    The ones I ate were bigger than that

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