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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Tree Replacement for Ash

Q. I am particularly having trouble with a tree to replace the ash trees that doesn’t grow so tall and does well in our climate. We took out our ash trees because they were giant and the roots were all at the surface. I am now guessing we have a soil issue?

A. I no longer recommend ash trees for our climate. We have had too many problems with them over the years.
There are a number of smaller trees that work well in our climate. It is hard to give you direction without us going back and forth a lot. It is simpler if you go to a nursery and develop a list of four or five trees that appeal to you and I can help you narrow them down.
Shallow roots usually indicate a very heavy soil or shallow irrigations or both. Planting in our desert soil requires a lot of soil preparation where the tree is to be planted. That is a major key to success.
The second major key is irrigation, both the proper amount and the timing when to apply it. Make sure your trees receive enough water each time they are irrigated. Space near irrigations far enough apart so that the soil drains adequately before the next irrigation.
Thirdly, I would include in that using a surface mulch of wood chips after planting. Although not needed for all plants, woody plants that are not from desert climates do much better if a surface would mulch is applied.
I can hardly wait for the criticism on this list! Please, let's make comments constructive. Medium sized tree, tolerant to at least 20F.

Some possible replacements for ash:
Fruitless olive (allergy problem)
Chinese pistache (large tree)
Evergreen elm (large tree)
Carob (slow growing)
Goldenrain tree
Texas ebony
Sweet Acacia (thorns)
Oleander (tree form)

This is a late posting of a picture sent to me by a reader of the surface roots of an ash tree in his yard and causing damage to his foundation. His comment to me is posted in the comments section.
Readers picture of the surface route from an ash tree. This route was causing damage.

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