Chinese Pistache Tree – Texas Superstar

The Chinese pistache tree is a common landscaping choice among Texas gardeners. It is ideal for a xeriscape landscape due to its ornamental attributes, but it also fulfills a valuable niche for common wildlife in the state. This moderately-fast growing tree is virtually pest and disease free, which is another reason why it is the superstar among North Texas trees

In this article, we will talk about the Chinese pistachio tree, its characteristics, uses, and maintenance. Keep reading to find out more!

Chinese Pistache Tree – Facts, Uses, and Maintenance


The Chinese pistache tree is a very notable ornamental tree, recommended by tree services Texas. The tree is known for its fall foliage when its dark green foliage changes to a dramatic profusion of red and orange leaves. Besides, the tree has a broad canopy and provides excellent shade. In the optimal environment, this deciduous tree will grow to about 60 feet in height. 

The leaves of this tree are about a foot long. They are usually, long pinnate leaves and have about 15 leaflets. When bruised, the leaves will produce a slightly aromatic smell. 

Interestingly, even though the tree is related to pistachio, it doesn’t produce nuts. The female tree will produce red berries if a male Chinese pistachio tree is present, making the fall in Texas beautiful. The females bloom in April and have green blossoms that later develop into clumps. The berries will get a blue-purple hue in the winter. 

However, the berries are not edible for humans, but birds simply love them. Another thing to keep in mind is that these bright-colored berries will leave stains on your walkway when they fall. If this worries you, you can always opt for a fruitless male clone named P. chinesis ‘ Keith Davey’

The tree is native to China, the Philippines, and Taiwan, but it grows without any problems in Texas too. It is relatively long-lived and grows about 20 inches per year. Also, the tree is tolerant of many Texas soil types and is considered drought-tolerant. 


Tree experts don’t consider the Chinese pistachio tree a fussy one. It grows in USDA 6-9 hardiness zones and a variety of soils, as long as it is well-draining. Besides, it has very deep roots and is generally a sturdy tree, making it ideal for planting even near sidewalks and patios. Also, the tree is hardy to about 20 degrees and relatively resistant to fire and tree diseases Texas

Usually, this tree is planted anywhere there’s a need for shade or its opulent fall appearance. Landscapers all over Texas love this tree due to these reasons and we get positive feedback from owners most of the time. The tree is a member of the Anacardiaceae family, meaning that it is also suitable for container planting so you can put it on your patio or a specific spot in your backyard. 

Related Post: Best Time To Plant Trees In Texas


Tree service Texas companies recommend planting this tree in a spot where it can get at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. As already mentioned, the tree is not particularly picky about the soil, but it will grow the best in a well-draining one. Also, it prefers fertile soil that’s deep enough to accommodate its long root. Keep in mind that the tree has a big canopy, so don’t plant it near structures. 

To fit the root ball, dig a hole that’s about 3-5 times as wide as the root ball. Spread the roots out evenly and center the tree in the hole. Make sure you water the tree while it is young and spread a layer of mulch around the base, just do it away from the trunk to decrease the presence of insects and fungus. 

We recommend pruning the tree at least once a year to facilitate its signature umbrella shape. Once the tree is tall enough, start pruning the tops of the trees, and as branches emerge, choose one as a branch, one as a trunk, and prune out the remainder. Consult with your local tree pruning Texas company to make sure pruning is done properly. 


Q: Are Chinese pistache trees messy?

A: Chinese pistache trees in Texas don’t have messy fruit, unwanted broken branches, and leaf drop. This medium-sized tree is well behaved and comes with brilliant fall color. Most owners consider it to be a very clean and low-maintenance tree. 

Q: How fast do Chinese pistache trees grow?

A: These trees grow about 13-24 inches per year in Texas. This is considered a moderately-fast growth rate, considering that the tree reaches about 60 feet in height at maturity. Usually, the tree will spread to about 30-35 feet as it matures. 

Q: Do Chinese pistache trees grow pistachios?

A: The Chinese pistache trees do not grow pistachios in Texas. These trees grow red berries that are favored among birds. However, they are not edible for human consumption. Interestingly, this tree is still closely related to pistachio, therefore it holds the name. 

Q: How can you tell if a Chinese pistache is male or female?

A: The main difference between male and female Chinese pistache trees in Texas is in the branch structure. Male trees have an upright tree crown with vigorous growth and small main branch angles. In contrast, female trees have an open, loose canopy and large main branch angles. 

Q: Is Chinese pistache poisonous?

A: The Chinese pistache trees are not necessarily poisonous, but are not suitable for human consumption and can cause gastrointestinal problems as the result of ingesting them. Also, horses and dogs are known to be intolerant of the berries from this tree, but birds love them. 

Local Tree Experts Overview

The Chinese pistache tree is a widely used ornamental tree with many interesting features and attributes. It always finds its way into Texas landscapes because it offers shade, interesting foliage, and even berries that are valuable to local wildlife. Consult with your local arborist about the maintenance of your newly planted Chinese pistache!

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