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pistache

Try Chinese Pistache for a Small Tree Selection

Many people often request a recommendation for a small tree that will be suitable for their landscape and one to consider is the Chinese pistache, Pistachia chinensis. Although not a native tree, Chinese pistache does not have invasive potential so it can make suitable option for both commercial and residential landscapes.

Berries also offer nice fall color. Photo by Beth Bolles, UF IFAS Extension Escambia County

The best features of Chinese pistache are the fall color it offers with orange leaves, followed by clusters of salmon berries. It will lose its leaves as days shorten but you can enjoy the textured bark during the winter season. Compound leaves offer interest as well during the spring and summer. Adding some medium to fine textured foliage plants under and around trees will provide a nice landscape display.

Chinese pistache has been an attractive feature in the Escambia County Demonstration Garden for over 20 years. Photo by Beth Bolles, UF IFAS Extension Escambia County

A positive feature of Chinese pistache is that once it is established, it is tolerant of drought.  Expect trees to be about 25 to 30 feet in height with a 20 to 25 foot spread.  Each tree will have it own unique branch structure and some pruning will be required when trees are young to develop strong connections.  You may plant as a full sun tree to provide a little dappled shade for your garden or use as an understory tree in partial shade.