Plant of the Week
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Shoestring acacia is a strikingly unique tree widely used in the desert Southwest, not only for its beautiful form and weeping habit, but also because it thrives in extreme heat with very little water once established.
As with the majority of Southwestern species, this tree will not take kindly to poorly drained soils, so if you have heavy clay, you might want to choose another species.
Shoestring acacia grows 20 to 40 feet tall and will have a canopy about 15 feet wide. From a distance, it resembles a willow tree, with very long, shoestring-like leaves. I could go off on an excited botanical tangent here, about how the “leaves” are actually modified structures called phyllodes, but I’ll spare you that plant-nerd ramble for the moment.
It’s a relatively fast-growing tree, with all of the potential issues that come with it. It has a rather thin trunk and long, thin branches, leaving it more susceptible to breakage and wind damage. This tree is evergreen, and is best used as an accent, to enhance the beauty of your landscape: with its diffuse leaves and billowy habit, it provides very little shade.
Shoestring acacia has a similar, powder-puff flower to other Acacias, but you may hardly notice them amongst the graceful foliage. The bees will flock to them, though!
Although this tree can be virtually ignored once established, when you do water it, be sure to do so deeply and thoroughly, but not too much or too often, or it might develop root-rot.