Q. My husband really wants to plant a tamarind tree from seed. My question: is this doable here? I know it can get to be a very big tree but he says he will see to it that it’s pruned well. Being a tropical tree, will it survive our winter and adapt to our climate when established? As my backyard is not that big, we will be planting it about 10 ft from the house. I am concerned that its litter will be problematic when it gets to be as tall as the lower part of my roof, like the wind blowing it’s fine leaves into the nooks and crevices of the roof tiles (that’s why we removed our mesquite). My husband is from Cavite, Philippines, and this is one tree he misses a lot.
A. Forget the tamarind tree in Las Vegas if you want a consistent production. It is tropical and will not survive undamaged or it will die during a cold winter in Las Vegas when temperatures drop below freezing. If it does survive the first few years, its because of a lack in winter freezing, it will get damaged or even die when it does freeze.
The extent of damage depends on how cold it gets, for how long and the age of the tree. We have tamarind on our farm in Batangas (I am here now and can see it from here) but it is truly tropical. It will not produce any pods for about 8 years if planted from seed. Our tamarind is now flowering and fruiting because it is 8 years old. Pick a tree that will survive the cold.
It would be a shame if you were to plant it and it gets four years old, big and then there is a freeze. You might lose the entire tree and it does not sucker well from the base as some other tropical trees can like horseradish tree (Malungay).which can be cut close to the ground and it will sucker..
It is better suited to warmer dry climates like the warmer, dry Sonoran Desert. For more information on Tamarind growing in the US try the Rare Fruit Growers fact sheet on it. Click here.