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Melia azedarach
( Texas Umbrella Tree )

A deciduous tree reaching 25 feet tall. Branches form in an "inside-out" umbrella shape. The rich green summer foliage changes to yellow-green in fall. Fragrant, lavender flowers, 3/4" diameter, are borne in large, loose panicles (up to 16" long) in late spring, but are somewhat hidden by the foliage. The fruit is an attractive yellow drupe appearing in fall, persisting through to spring. Very adaptable, often grown along the highway, and not troubled by pests. A bit of a nuisance tree, which has escaped and naturalized in many areas. Native to northern India, western China. In cultivation since the 1500's.
Important Info : Poisonous berries.


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Characteristics
Cultivar: Umbraculiformis  
Family: Meliaceae  
Size: Height: 20 ft. to 30 ft.
Width: 15 ft. to 20 ft.  
Plant Category: trees,  
Plant Characteristics: spreading,  
Foliage Characteristics: deciduous,  
Foliage Color: green,  
Flower Characteristics: fragrant,  
Flower Color: purples,  
Tolerances: drought, heat & humidity, pollution, rabbits, slope, wind,  
Requirements
Bloomtime Range: Late Spring to Late Spring  
USDA Hardiness Zone: 7 to 10  
AHS Heat Zone: Not defined for this plant  
Light Range: Part Sun to Full Sun  
pH Range: 4.5 to 8.5  
Soil Range: Mostly Sand to Some Clay  
Water Range: Semi-Arid to Moist  

Plant Care



Fertilizing
Light
Conditions : Full Sun

Full Sun is defined as exposure to more than 6 hours of continuous, direct sun per day.

Watering
Conditions : Regular Moisture for Outdoor Plants

Water when normal rainfall does not provide the preferred 1 inch of moisture most plants prefer. Average water is needed during the growing season, but take care not to overwater. The first two years after a plant is installed, regular watering is important. The first year is critical. It is better to water once a week and water deeply, than to water frequently for a few minutes.

Planting
How-to : Planting a Tree

Dig out an area for the tree that is about 3 or 4 times the diameter of the container or rootball and the same depth as the container or rootball. Use a pitchfork or shovel to scarify the sides of the hole.

If container-grown, lay the tree on its side and remove the container. Loosen the roots around the edges without breaking up the root ball too much. Position tree in center of hole so that the best side faces forward. You are ready to begin filling in with soil.

If planting a balled and burlaped tree, position it in hole so that the best side faces forward. Untie or remove nails from burlap at top of ball and pull burlap back, so it does not stick out of hole when soil is replaced. Synthetic burlap should be removed as it will not decompose like natural burlap. Larger trees often come in wire baskets. Plant as you would a b&b plant, but cut as much of the wire away as possible without actually removing the basket. Chances are, you would do more damage to the rootball by removing the basket. Simply cut away wires to leave several large openings for roots.

Fill both holes with soil the same way. Never amend with less than half original soil. Recent studies show that if your soil is loose enough, you are better off adding little or no soil amendments.

Create a water ring around the outer edge of the hole. Not only will this conseve water, but will direct moisture to perimeter roots, encouraging outer growth. Once tree is established, water ring may be leveled. Studies show that mulched trees grow faster than those unmulched, so add a 3"" layer of pinestraw, compost, or pulverized bark over backfilled area. Remove any damaged limbs.

Problems
Miscellaneous
Glossary : Specimen

A specimen can be a tree, shrub, ground cover, annual, or perennial that is unique in comparison to the surrounding plants. Uniqueness may be in color, form, texture, or size. By using only one specimen plant in a visual area, it can be showcased. Specimen plants are accents in the landscape, just as statues, water features, or arbors.

Glossary : Deciduous

Deciduous refers to those plants that lose their leaves or needles at the end of the growing season.

Glossary : Tree

Tree: a woody perennial with a crown of branches that begin atop a single stem or trunk. The exception to this rule is multi-trunk trees, which some may argue are really very large shrubs.

Glossary : Landscape Uses

By searching Landscape Uses, you will be able to pinpoint plants that are best suited for particular uses such as trellises, border plantings, or foundations.

Glossary : Drought Tolerant

Very few plants, except for those naturally found in desert situations, can tolerate arid soils, but there are plants that seem to be more drought tolerant than others. Plants that are drought tolerant still require moisture, so don't think that they can go for extended period without any water. Drought tolerant plants are often deep rooted, have waxy or thick leaves that conserve water, or leaf structures that close to minimize transpiration. All plants in droughty situations benefit from an occasional deep watering and a 2-3 inch thick layer of mulch. Drought tolerant plants are the backbone of xeriphytic landscaping.

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