Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Chitalpa Tree

I'd like to highlight my Chitalpa tree and give my opinion on this variety.
This is my single-trunk "Pink Dawn" Chitalpa Tree, planted in March 2016 (so just over a year ago). It was purchased at Treeland Nursery in Mesa, AZ for about $50 (15 gallon size).

Here's how it looked the day I planted it (March 11, 2016), next to my 6 year-old (at the time) daughter.
Basically a large twig with about a 1 inch diameter trunk. 

Here is the tag that came on the tree. 

And a better photo of it a few days/weeks after planting.

Over the past year, I have needed to brace it a few times with tree stakes because our winds seem to always be blowing to the east and the tree started looking lop-sided, and still does, especially when it has no leaves in the winter time. I have watered it on a newly planted, desert adapted watering schedule, once every 1-3 weeks depending on the season/temperatures. It's growth rate has been incredible and it has proved to be very strong in high winds even without staking. It was barren for several months in the winter, losing it's leaves after most deciduous trees I observed and growing them again it seemed almost overnight in March. The flowers took the show in April and I love staring out my windows and front door at it's beauty.  

Overall, I am so happy with my choice to plant this tree in my front yard. I am excited to watch it grow larger (20-25 feet tall). I sometimes wish I could have found the multi-trunk variety, but sometimes I see them around town and they look more sprawly with less dense canopies, so I usually end up just loving the one I have. 
The Chitalpa is a cross between the Desert Willow and Catalpa trees. I planted a multi-trunk Desert Willow in my yard this past fall and even though it's tiny now, I know that the two will look great together with their similar blossoms, which are both pale pink. 
Slightly off-centered trunk

I love this tree and am happy about it's flowering, size and low water needs once it is established in my yard. 

In the Edible Garden - May 2017

My four garden beds are mostly occupied with tomato plants, but I have one bed dedicated to cantaloupe melons and several other crops going on currently; trellised Armenian cucumbers, multi-colored carrots, bell pepper (no fruit yet), pole green beans, luffa squash, zucchini squash, green onions (always), basil (always) and garlic (I've harvested several small bulbs). Strawberries are still growing in a pot near my porch where they get morning sun only. 

Armenian Cucumber

Armenian cucumber

Cantaloupe melon (aka muskmelon)

Cantaloupe Melon (aka muskmelon)

Rosemary (finally growing well with partial shade)

Basil from seeding mother plant