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The Chinese pistache grows into a medium size deciduous tree with a round dome habit and typically reaching 25-35 ft. tall and as wide. Some older specimens can even reach up to 50-60 ft. tall. Foliage is comprised of pinnately divided leaves with 6-7 pairs of 2-2 1/2 in. long leaflets. Leaves turn bright orange-red and yellow with cool fall temperatures for a very showy display. A dioecious species that produces loose panicles of inconspicuous small flowers; female flowers can develop showy dark red berries that are visible after leaves fall.

Chinese pistache is native to cool and moist climate zones of central and western China and grows best in Inland Valley landscapes and gardens in loam soils, full sun and with regular moisture throughout the year. It is widely planted as a shade tree in residential gardens, as a street tree and for park landscapes. Overall, it has proven to be a tough tree that can endure lots of sun and heat and short periods of moisture stress.

Water Needs

Chinese pistache grows best in the Inland Empire with moderate amounts of water on a monthly basis throughout the year. Deep watering is recommended good rooting depth and to help maintain lush foliage character. It should be noted there are several winter months marked by an asterisk (*) when rains can provide sufficient moisture and irrigation is not needed. The high and low range of moisture indicates it can grow with varying amounts of water depending upon exposure conditions and size.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Moderate Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 4

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 3x 0x to 3x 0x to 3x 2x to 3x 2x to 3x 3x to 4x 3x to 4x 3x to 4x 2x to 3x 2x to 3x 0x to 3x 0x to 3x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
Inches per Month 0" to 3" 0" to 3" 0" to 3" 2" to 3" 2" to 3" 3" to 4" 3" to 4" 3" to 4" 2" to 3" 2" to 3" 0" to 3" 0" to 3"

Range of supplemental summer water: 17"-24"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-15"

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, follow this link.

For information how to calculate your irrigation system’s schedule and precipitation rate, please follow this link.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Tree
Foliage Character: Winter deciduous
Habit: Upright, Mounding
Growth Rate: Moderate
Height: 25 ft. - 35 ft.
Width: 25 ft. - 35 ft.
Water Needs: Moderate 4
Foliage Color: Medium green, Seasonal yellow, Seasonal red, Seasonal orange
Flower Color: Insignificant
Flower Season: Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Loam, Deep soil, Clay
Exposure Adaptations: Wind, Heat, Frost, Aridity, All day sun
Function: Specimen, Shade Tree, Residential spaces, Parks and open space, Foliage accent plant, Commercial spaces, Civic spaces, Background plant


Plan to prune as needed when young to establish a nicely balanced long-term structural from. Main pruning should be done in winter. Prune out overly vigorous vertical shoots (water sprouts) and young branches that hang too low any time of the year (D).



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