Carrotwood gets its name from the vivid orange wood that’s hidden beneath a layer of bark. It is known as one of the shadiest trees to plant near houses. However, some people are unfamiliar with this tree and even confuse it with the American toadwood – an extremely rare species. If you desire to plant a carrotwood tree, understanding its characteristics is necessary. Let’s get right into this post to learn more about this fantastic plant!
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What Is A Carrotwood Tree?
It was a beautiful day in 1955 that Carrotwood was first discovered in Florida on a cultivated plant in St. Lucie County. However, it was not until 1968 that this plant was commercialized in the market.
After 22 years, the seedlings had established themselves in various habitats, both disturbed and undisturbed on Florida coasts. People discovered carrotwood trees in commercial and private landscapes and naturalized them throughout the coastal nations from Hillsborough and Brevard south to Collier and Miami – Dade.
Carrotwood is a single-trunked evergreen tree that can grow to be 35 feet tall. In reality, the bark has a dark grey color, which emphasizes its strength among other neighborhoods. When it comes to leaves, we must say carrotwood are compound, alternating, and even-pinnate.
The base of the petioles (leaf stalks) is enlarged. Leaflets are stalked, leathery, bright yellowish-green, oblong, to 8 inches long and 3 inches broad. In January and February, numerous white to greenish-yellow flowers appear in branches that are up to 14 inches long.
The most distinguishing feature is the fruit, a short-stalked woody capsule up to 1 inch across with three distinct hard parts. When mature (April/May), the fruit turns yellow-orange and dries to a brown color before splitting apart to reveal three lustrous oval black seeds covered in a yellow-red crust.
The leaves have a dark green color with a leathery texture and a glossy look. Even though carrotwood leaves look weak, they are strong and pinnate, expressing throughout the ribs of the leaves.
They are measured 4 inches in length and 3 inches in width, with oblong or long oval leaflets. There are around 4-12 leaflets on each compound. The leaves’ sides are smooth, while the tips are somewhat rounded.
Twigs and Bark
Carrotwood naturally has a smooth gray outer bark with a fine texture. Twigs are brownish-gray in hue and slender, but if looking deep inside the bark layer, you can easily catch sight of fresh orange color.
Carrotwood flowers are in full bloom in the winter, and the tree is monoecious. They come in 14-inch branching clusters with five petals and six to eight stamens. The fruit ripens in the summer and has a yellow/orange capsule that can range in size from a quarter to a half-inch in diameter and grows in.
How to Plant Carrotwood Trees?
The best condition to plant carrotwood trees is in a sunny area with ordinary, somewhat moist soil. Continuously, you need to dig a hole twice as broad as the root ball.
When the hole is half-filled with dirt, fill it with water to let any air pockets settle, then backfill until the soil in the hole is level with the suction cup. Don’t forget to remove surplus soil from around the tree’s base. When the hole is filled, softly press down with your foot.
This tree seems light, airy, and suitable for growing around your home or even city streets. As it takes up little space and grows slowly, you can easily plant carrotwood trees at home for shade in a small yard or as a specimen. In the eyes of many tree growers, this plant is the simplest to care for of any plant.
In case there is no rain, you just need to water newly planted plants once a week. When they become hardy and can absorb nutrients on their own, they only need to be watered a few times if the weather is dry for an extended period.
Furthermore, this plant can grow on its own without the need for fertilizer. However, we can use a little fertilizer to sprinkle around the root zone if the tree grows weakly and slowly.
Carrotwood has two varieties: a single-trunked specimen or with multiple trunks. The type of multiple trunks can naturally branch and divide into many branches, so they require significant space to flourish. For a single-trunked specimen, simply keep one branch and discard the rest.
As carrotwood is a tropical plant that grows almost all year, you can freely prune it at any time of year.
Trim away branches as needed to thin out the internal canopy and enable the sunshine to reach the soil below, allowing the lawn or even other plants to thrive.
Choose branches that grow inwards toward the trunk, toward one another, or any that might cross. Remove any crowded branches that might be causing a congestion point, as well as any sections of the canopy that are more densely branched than the rest.
When you look upward to the canopy, the rest of the limbs and primary branches have to jut out into the trunk in a fairly spaced pattern. With a fine-toothed pruning saw, you can prune any wood bigger than 1/2 inch.
Reduce the canopy’s spread for aesthetic reasons or to avoid entanglement with other plants or structures nearby. Trim the branches’ terminal tips back to the appropriate length.
To create a professional and beautiful appearance, you need to work evenly around the tree, following the natural round contour of the canopy. Note that you must only remove up to 1/3 the canopy volume every year, but no more than that.
Cut back any branches or limbs that are weak, broken, dead, or cracked. One more step is cutting back to the parent branch or down to the primary stem if needed to stabilize the limb structure.
The carrotwood tree is one of the ideal plants to create shade for your house or even city streets. It provides a colorful and fresh atmosphere with the dark green of leaves, the white color of flowers, and the orange color of its fruit. With these trees, you can synchronize yourself with nature and relax around your garden after a stressful week of work. If you want to grow a tree to decorate and shade your home, then a carrotwood tree is a great recommendation.