How Long Will My Tree Live?
That’s a question that’s asked far less often than “What’s the best fast-growing shade tree?” I wish I could change that, because longevity is far more critical.
So to help you understand, I’m going to boil down part of a list I have on pages 80 and 81 of my book Neil Sperry’s Lone Star Gardening (see mention of the book on Main page of this e-gardens). I’ve listed my estimates of life expectancies of all the common Texas shade trees. From that longer list, I’ll choose the top ones.
What I really want you to notice is the inverse nature of speed of growth with life expectancies of these trees. The fast-growing trees will be in a logjam at the top of the list.
Life Expectancies of Texas Trees…
In case you’re considering planting a new tree in your landscape sometime in the next few months, do consider its expected longevity. I’ve made a list of my estimates. These will vary considerably. For example, Arizona and Leyland cypress have become highly susceptible to Seiridium canker. It will bring their numbers down. So will the Emerald ash borers that are now becoming a threat in Texas.
You might say, “Well, I’ll never live that long anyway,” but remember that quality shade trees also have far fewer problems along the way. And they add more value to your property at the time of resale. Fast growth is rarely an asset.
|Tree species:||Life expectancy:|
|Purple plum||5-7 years|
|Weeping willow||5-10 years|
|Ornamental pear||10-20 years|
|Leyland cypress||10-20 years|
|Arizona ash||10-20 years|
|Siberian elm||15-20 years|
|Eldarica pine||15-20 years|
|Fruitless mulberry||15-25 years|
|American elm||20-40 years|
|Silver maple||20-40 years|
|Green ash||20-40 years|
|Lacebark elm||20-40 years|
|Fruiting mulberry||25-50 years|
|Golden raintree||25-50 years|
|Deodar cedar||25-50 years|
|Arizona cypress||25-50 years|
|Mexican plum||25-50 years|
|Post oak||50-75 years|
|Loblolly pine||50-75 years|
|Red maple||50-75 years|
|Japanese maple||50-75 years|
|Eastern redcedar||50-100 years|
|Yaupon holly||75-100 years|
|Possumhaw holly||75-100 years|
|Crape myrtle||75-100 years|
|Chinese pistachio||75-100 years|
|Cedar elm||75-100 years|
|Bois d’arc||75-100 years|
|Bur oak||100-150 years|
|Chinquapin oak||100-150 years|
|Water oak||100-150 years|
|Shumard red oak||100-150 years|
|Southern magnolia||100-150 years|
|Bald cypress||100-200 years|
|Live oak||100-500 years|