This blog is about growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area

August 5, 2015

Why Tamarisk trees (Salt Cedar) are so rare in Phoenix, Arizona

If you're interested in Phoenix history, like I am, and are a tree-hugger, like me, you know that certain trees are only seen in very old, untouched parts of town. And one of those trees is a Tamarisk, or Salt Cedar.

Apparently the Tamarisk tree was a mistake. It was planted beginning in territorial times, and the trees had become a serious problem within a few decades. Nowadays they're considered an invasive species, and clog rivers like the Hassayampa.

So, when you see a Tamarisk tree in the Phoenix, you are seeing something that was probably planted before the 1950s, maybe even earlier. By the mid-twentieth century, people in Phoenix were wising up. And the next time you see one of these trees in real life, walk up to it. Its leaves kill everything below it. There's no chance of growing anything but dirt underneath a Tamarisk.

So, no, please don't plant a Tamarisk tree in Phoenix. They are messy trees that infect Arizona's waterways. But if you see one, like the one in the photo above, which is at the Pioneers' Cemetery at 15th Avenue and Jefferson, you know that you are traveling back in time.
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