Sissoo tree growth rate

Arizona rosewood is a tall evergreen shrub native to southeastern Arizona, far southwest New Mexico, and adjacent Mexico, including Saguaro National Park-East. The dense foliage of this 15 foot x 15 foot shrub makes it an excellent choice as a screen or barrier or as a background for other plants. Clusters of showy white flowers appear at the ends of branches in late spring (May).

Arizona rosewood may grow very slowly for the first year or two after planting. After that is is a tough shrub that needs little care. It has a naturally symmetrical form so needs little pruning other than to remove the wayward branch. Gradually remove lower branches if you want to grow as a small, multi-stemmed tree. This plant will need occasional irrigation during the summer even after establishment.

This shrub has few problems, but is occasionally bothered by sucking insects such as spider mites and psyllids. Look for yellowing, spotted leaves (see photo above) and the presence of a sticky liquid (known as honeydew) on the leaves. Established plants will not be bothered by a few pests. Use a stream of water to wash them off if desired. Fallen leaves can be raked and discarded.

Wildlife value: bees enthusiastically visit flowers. Dense, evergreen foliage is shelter for birds and other animals

More Information

Weekly Plant on Arizona rosewood

Horticultural information from ASU

Horticultural information from Pima County Master Gardeners

Map of distribution in US

In books:

Native Plants for Southwestern Landscapes by Judy Mielke, page 270

Trees and Shrubs for the Southwest by Mary Irish, page 304

​From the Anthem HOA Design Guidelines:

  • Extremely Small Front Yards
    • Landscape Area less than 600 Square Feet. If the square footage of the landscape area of your front yard is less than 600 square feet, you must plant at least one of the following:
      • 24” Box Tree from the Approved Plant List
      • 15 Gallon Size Tree from the Approved Plant List
      • Saguaro (Carnegiea Gigantee) of at least 15 gallon size and six feet in height
      • Ocotillo (Fouquieria Splendens) of at least 15 gallon size and six feet in height​
    • Landscape Area Between 600 Square Feet and 1,100 Square Feet. If the square footage of the landscape area of your front yard is greater than 600 square feet but less than 1,100 square feet, you must plant at least one of the following:
      • 24” Box Tree from the Approved Plant List
      • 15 Gallon Size Tree from the Approved Plant List
  • Standard and Oversized Lot Types. All other yards are classified into four (4) categories: interior Lot, corner Lot, cul-de-sac Lot and over-sized Lot. Minimum planting requirements for each category are as follows:
    • Interior Lot
      • One (1) tree; 24″ box size
    • Corner Lot, ​Cul-De-Sac Lot, ​Oversized/Large Lot (Over 9,200 S.F.)
      • ​One (1) tree; 24″ box size
      • One (1) tree; fifteen (15) gallon size
    • Substitutions. Except for Extremely Small Front Yards, the following substitutions may be made:
      • ​​A fifteen gallon tree may be substituted with either a Saguaro (Carnegiea Gigantee) or an Ocotillo (Fouquieria Splendens) provided that the plant is a minimum of fifteen (15) gallon and six (6) feet in height.

Sissoo Tree Information: Learn About Dalbergia Sissoo Trees

Sissoo trees (Dalbergia sissoo) are attractive landscape trees with leaves that tremble in a breeze much like quaking aspens. The tree reaches heights of up to 60 feet with a spread of 40 feet or more, making them suitable for medium to large landscapes. Light green leaves and light-colored bark make sissoo trees stand out from other plants.

What are Sissoo Trees?

Also called rosewood trees, sissoos are grown in their native areas of India, Nepal and Pakistan as an important source of high-quality lumber that is used for making fine furniture and cabinetry. In India, it is second only to teak in economic importance. In the U.S. it is grown as a landscape tree. Sissoo trees are considered invasive in Florida and should be planted there with caution.

Sissoo Tree Information

Young and newly planted trees die when exposed

to temperatures below 28 F. (-2 C.), and older trees can sustain serious damage at freezing temperatures. The trees are rated for USDA plant hardiness zones 10 and 11.

Sissoo trees bloom in spring with small clusters or flowers at the tips of the branches. These flowers would hardly be noticed if it weren’t for their powerful fragrance. Once the flowers fade, slender, flat, brown seed pods develop and remain on the tree throughout the summer and most of the fall. New trees grow quickly from the ripe seeds inside the pods.

How to Grow a Sissoo Tree

Sissoo trees need full sun or partial shade, and will grow well in almost any well-drained soil. They need deep irrigation on a regular basis in order to develop a dense canopy. Otherwise, Dalbergia sissoo trees produce sparse shade.

These trees develop iron chlorosis, or yellowing leaves, due to lack of iron uptake in alkaline soils. You can treat this condition with iron chelate and magnesium sulfate fertilizers. Citrus fertilizer is an excellent choice for routine fertilization.

Although sissoo tree care is easy, it has a couple of drawbacks that add to your routine landscape care. The tree develops thick surface roots that make mowing the lawn a challenge. These roots can lift pavements and foundations if planted too close.

Sissoo trees also produce a lot of litter. The branches and twigs are brittle and often break off, creating a mess to cleanup. You will also have to clean up falling seed pods in autumn.

SelecTree: Tree Detail

General Notes

Useful for erosion control as it has a wide spreading root system. It thrives in lawn settings, as well as hot, reflected heat, granite areas. Magnesium deficiency is common. Branches droop and are susceptible to breakage.

Has fragrant Flower.

Native to Indian Subcontinent.

Family: Fabaceae


Amerimnon sissoo

Additional Common Names


Tree Characteristics

Spreading with a High Canopy.

Vase, Oval or Upright Shape.

Has Deciduous to Partly Deciduous foliage.

Height: 45 – 60 feet.

Width: 30 – 40 feet.

Growth Rate: 24 to 36 Inches per Year.

Longevity 50 to 150 years.

Leaves Pinnately Compound Odd, Green, No Change, Deciduous to Partly Deciduous.

Flowers Inconspicuous. Fragrant White to Greenish Yellow. Flowers in Spring. Has perfect flowers (male and female parts in each flower).

Persistent, Brown Pod, Medium to Large (0.50 – 3.00 inches), fruiting in Summer or Fall.

Bark Dark Brown or Light Green, Furrowed or Rough.

Shading Capacity Rated as Moderately Low in Leaf.

Shading Capacity Rated as Moderately Low out of Leaf.

Litter Issue is Flowers and Dry Fruit.

Sissoo tree needs space


Question: I really like my sissoo tree, but it is planted near my patio, and its roots have started raising the cobblestones. This sissoo is about 20 yards from my home, and the patio extends to my back gate. My question is, can I cut one of the roots, which is about 6 inches in diameter, and not injure the tree too badly? The tree is well established at about 40 feet and 20 or so inches in diameter at the trunk. It was thinned about two years ago, and I will be having it cleaned up a bit this year.

Answer: I honestly think your sissoo tree is located in the wrong spot. It will continue to lift the patio and cobblestone in that locale. This tree has been the topic of much discussion lately, because while it grows fast, it also has a large mass of surface roots that are searching for water.

I would not plant this tree within 40 feet of any hardscape or foundation. You can cut the roots, but expect them to return. I would suggest you plant another tree that doesn’t have these problems.

From your picture, it looks like an ornamental tree would fit nicely in the same location. I would plant a Lysiloma watsoni, or feather tree, in place of the sissoo. Lysiloma is a fantastic desert tree that appears to be multi-trunked and has luxuriant feathery foliage. The feather tree is extremely heat- and drought-tolerant once established. Its roots won’t destroy your patio, either!

Q:I have a large yellowbell tree and a large oleander that are blooming right now. They need trimming, but should we wait to prune them and enjoy the blooms?

A: I hope you would enjoy the heavy blooming period your trees are going through currently. Wait until this show has faded, then look at your overall plant/tree structure and do selective pruning. Only remove what’s obviously out of the overall boundaries you have set for your specimen. Tip pruning is a way to reduce size and weight without destroying the character.

Q: How often should I change the soil in my pots? I have been growing tomatoes in my pots, and they don’t look good this year.

A: The soil in your pots is degrading. The airspace created by the porosity of the particles in a typical potting mix will compact as the organic matter breaks down. Air and water can’t penetrate the soil and circulate in the root zone. You can tell if your medium is compacted and needs replacement if it takes a long time for water to penetrate or the water quickly falls between the medium and the side of the pot.

In a pot that I have planted with seasonal color or seasonal vegetables or herbs, I usually remove the soil yearly. I replace it with a soil mix of organic material, porous material and sifted soil from the garden.

Brian Kissinger is director of horticulture at the Desert Botanical Garden. E-mail your garden questions to [email protected] Read previous columns at

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