Monday, February 28, 2011

Texas Ebony

Today is the last day of February and also the last post on perfect Zone 9 plants for the garden.  They must be green through our hellish summers and freezing winter nights and use little water to qualify.  Today's plant is the Texas Ebony.
Surprisingly, this tree is not utilized in many landscapes and yet is greener than any desert tree I've seen around here.  It packs a punch in the yard and makes for a nice green addition to your plant collection.  Little water needed once established, the Texas Ebony thrives on sun and heat.  It's a slow grower and can reach an amazing height(25 feet!) as you can see in this pic taken at the Tucson Botanical Gardens.  In fact, I didn't know about this plant until I had to deal with another Texan issue in my garden....Texas Root Rot!!!  I had to find a tree that would be resistant to this nasty fungal disease and discovered that the Texas Ebony was perfect for that area.  It has done well now for 2 years and has grown a couple inches.  The only drawback is that it's spiny and your clothes will catch on it so be careful handling this tree.   It grows 30 feet high and just as wide.
"Texas ebony tree grows quite well in Southern Arizona. Native to the Chihuahuan desert, this highly decorative tree is remarkably drought tolerant. Under ideal conditions, it grows to 30 feet tall with an equal spread. Medium green, compound leaves are arranged along thorny branches that twist and change direction repeatedly. Cream colored, fragrant clusters of flowers are produced from late spring to fall. These sweetly fragrant flowers are followed by large, dark brown seedpods. Texas ebony grows rather slowly, eventually becoming a small to medium-sized tree with a dense canopy.
Plant Texas ebony tree in the fall or spring in full or partial sunlight. It tolerates almost all soil conditions from deep, well-drained soil types to heavy clay. Water newly planted Texas ebony trees thoroughly, every 7 to 10 days, for the first year. In its natural form, Texas ebony grows a dense canopy to the ground. Prune in early summer to raise the canopy. Prune only a few side branches, until the crown is at the desired height. Wear protective clothing when working with this tree, as its stipular spines are very sharp. Water established Texas ebony trees twice a month in the summer and monthly in the winter. Falling seedpods create litter that may be a problem in high traffic areas."

We'll take another break from my journal notes and explore Arizona and around the world.  More from Las Aventuras tomorrow.......


  1. Nice posts on the tough, beautiful plants for the SW. I was happy to see TX Ebony do fine in Las Vegas NV for future reference on projects there, and they get colder than you do.

    I am lucky to have work outside of Abq to specify other plants you safely use in Tucson, but that are limited by our "cold".

  2. I need help! I bought a patio home with a small yard and the previous owner had planted 2 Texas Ebony trees!! They are totally inappropriate for the size of the yard and I hate the spines!

    I have had them removed twice -- roots and all -- but they keep coming back! How can I permanently remove them? a Chemical? something permanent! I will appreciate any suggestions.

  3. Hi there. They are beautiful tree but I understand your anger as the spines are pretty bad:) I wouldn't use any chemicals as it would ruin the area around the tree. If you can have a tree company go in and take them down, you'd be in a better spot. Or cut the trees down and have a company come in to ground up the roots. I think if you can grind them up, you'll have taken care of the situation. They sound pretty aggressive. How big are they? Or are they just small little new trees popping up?

  4. thank you for your answer. they were about 20 feet tall, but I have succeeded in reducing them to mainly roots. the trouble is that if i ignore them, within a year they are 3' tall. The roots appear to be extensive and up to 1 1/2" in diameter, I'm not sure grinding will get them all.

    the last time i had to deal with an aggressive plant, I poured pool muriatic acid on it -- it was gone!

    1. I will say that it's a pretty tough tree. My only recommendation is to be careful putting that acid in the area because if you decide later on to put something else in that place, it may not grow. We had a homeowner here drill a hole in one of the invasive privet trees and pour that acid in the hole. The roots and all were soon gone:) and it was easier digging out the root from our planter. The only reason I mention grounding up the stump is because it really shreds deep down. With some oleander, we rented the equipment from Home Depot and did our work:) But I've also hired people to help out when I don't have the time. Thanks for stopping by and good luck to you!


Thanks for stopping by!