The Maclura Pomifera is commonly known as Osage-orange is renowned for its high canopy. It typically grows up to 8 to 10 meters. When the fruits are cut or damaged, they secrete a sticky white latex. Despite the name “Osage orange” it has nothing to do with oranges. It belongs to the Mulberry family. Because of its rubber secretions and woody pulp, the fruit is rarely eaten by humans and even fewer by scavenging animals.
What is the meaning of Maclura Pomifera (Osage Orange)?
This tree is unknown to many people if you mention it as “Osage Orange”. Although the Osage orange tree (Maclura Pomifera) is not related to citrus, the fruit has a mild orangery aroma that has earned it the name. Green brains and hedge apples are two common names given to them because of their unusual shape and color.
The tree has long thorns and is sharp as steel and capable of shredding tires. As a result, it’s a solid option for a defensive hedge. These trees were employed as hedges for many years in the eastern side of the country. Farmers clipped the sturdy tiny trees to keep them bushy and planted them in tight rows.
Living Osage hedges died out when barbed wire was introduced, but the wood was still used for fence posts. Tetrahydroxystilbene, an anti-fungicide that may dissuade insects, is present. Somehow this chemical is responsible for the dense wood’s rot resistance. Fence posts and ship masts are also made from this timber.
If you want to plant a Maclura Pomifera (Osage orange) tree in a hedge, it will normally remain under 20 feet (ca. 6 m) tall. The trees in the wild can reach much higher heights. The trunk can reach a diameter of several feet.
Dimensions of Mature Trees
The average height of an Osage orange tree is roughly 35 feet (ca. 11 m), but under ideal growing environments, the tree can reach 50 feet (ca. 15 m). With an average dispersion of roughly 25 feet (ca. 8 m), the tree’s broad, unevenly formed crown is almost as broad as it is tall. Trees can reach a width of 60 feet (ca. 18 m) on rare occasions. The trunks of old trees can be up to 2 feet (0.61 m) in diameter. In comparison to other trees, the Osage orange has a limited lifespan, only living up to 75 years.
Leaves and Branches
The leaves are intermittently arranged in a skinny growing shoot 90–120 centimeters (3.94 ft–4 ft) long. They are simple, with a long oval terminating in a slender point. When fully grown, the leaves are 8 to 13 centimeters (3–5 in) long and 5 to 8 centimeters (2–3 in) wide, thick, firm, dark green, shining above, and paler green below. They turn a brilliant yellow in the autumn. The leaf holes contain formidable spines that grow to be about 2.5 centimeters (1 in) long when mature.
Branches are bright green and pubescent at first, then turn light brown tinged with orange during their first winter, and finally a paler orange-brown. Branches have a yellow pith and are armed with stout.
Growth Influencing Factor.
Maclura Pomifera (Osage orange) thrives in a variety of soil types, which include alkaline soils, loam, clay, and sand. It can withstand both dry and wet environments, including stagnant water in flood-prone places. The species grow best in moist, well-drained soils and appreciates 25 to 40 inches (ca. 1 m) of yearly precipitation. The plant, on the other hand, adapts to dry soils and can thrive with very little as 15 inches (ca. 38 cm) of yearly rainfall. In its first few years, the Maclura Pomifera (Osage orange) thrives best when it is watered often.
Choosing a tree and Caring
Maclura Pomifera trees are hetero-styled. It means that the male and female blooms are produced on separate trees, and only the female trees bear fruit. A tree with male flowers must be growing near the female trees in order for the inedible fruits to carry seed pods. Plant only trees with male blooms to avoid a chaotic fruit drop in the landscape. While the traditional Maclura Pomifera cultivar is thorny, there are thorn-less and fruitless cultivars that may be more acceptable in specific conditions. “Park,” “White Shield,” and “Wichita” are thorn-less varieties. Select only healthy, fresh, and disease-free specimens when planting young Maclura Pomifera trees.
Preferences for Site and Soil
The Maclura Pomifera prefers to grow in an open area with plenty of sunlight. This tree may thrive in a variety of soil types. Those with a lot of clay, sand, loam, acidic or alkaline soils. The importance of good drainage, on the other hand, cannot be overstated. Although it may withstand flooding on occasion, a Maclura Pomifera will suffer in wet soils. It also has a good wind tolerance and a modest tolerance for salt spray.
Fertilization and Irrigation
A Maclura Pomifera tree can withstand drought after it has established itself. Soil settles around the roots after a thorough, gentle watering at the time of planting. Watering the tree every three days for a few weeks and then supplemental irrigation of approximately an inch per week or two will help it establish. During long dry seasons, heavy watering on occasion can help trees keep their vigor. Fertilization is only required if the tree is experiencing poor growth or a nutrient shortage.
Pruning young Maclura Pomifera trees will help shape the tree and prevent problems as it matures. If there is no interference for light from other trees or shrubs, Maclura Pomifera trees establish dense thickets. And can grow as multi-stemmed shrubs without pruning. Pruning gets rid of rival leaders, leaving only strong, upright branches with uniformly spaced scaffold branches. Pruning also removes rubbing or broken branches, as well as young sprouts emerging from the tree’s base. Wear gloves, long sleeves, and pants when pruning the tree to avoid thorns and the plant’s milky sap.
Potential Pests and Diseases
Maclura Pomifera trees are resistant to pests and diseases, still, they are sensitive to fungal diseases such as wilt and cotton root rot. It can be prevented by ensuring good site drainage and removing sick plants as soon as possible to prevent disease spread. Rodents can nibble on young tree trunks, and borers like mulberry borers can dig into them. The tree can also be infested by scale insects such as the San Jose, European fruit titanium, and cottony maple scales. Borers and scales are usually only a problem on trees that have already been injured or stressed.
Growing Conditions for Maclura Pomifera.
Planting Maclura Pomifera trees is simple because they can be grown from both seeds and cuttings. It can be difficult to separate the seeds. It’s simplest if you wait until the fruit has fallen to the ground and frozen in the cold season, the chilly temperatures make seed removal easier. Plant separate seeds in containers indoors to start developing trees. Start them outside only if you have a clear idea of where you want them to grow in the yard. These trees are difficult to move to other locations outdoors.
Maclura Pomifera is a robust natural tree that doesn’t mind a variety of growing situations. This makes it simple to care for Maclura Pomifera trees. A sunlit site, well-drained soil, and proper watering help the tree develop quickly and stay productive. If all this research about Maclura Pomifera trees has piqued your interest, the squirrels will appreciate it. Squirrels enjoy eating Maclura Pomifera seeds.
Osage orange can be grown from clippings or seeds. Female Osage orange trees are the only ones that produce fruit. The seeds are concealed deep inside the plant’s green fruit, which is 5- to 6-inches in diameter. It’s hard to crack open the shell because it’s so tough. To get the seeds out, you may need to soak the fruit overnight to loosen it, then split the ball and remove the seeds. In most cases, 50% of the seeds sprout within 1 month. A second way to grow Osage orange is to take softwood cuttings.
After Planting Maintenance
You’ll need to nurture your Maclura Pomifera (Osage Orange) bonsai tree (carefully) than a conventional garden plant once you’ve potted it. To maintain it in good shape, take extra care and make sure to water properly.
Re-potting is normally required by immature bonsai trees every two years, but older trees can stay in the same container for up to five years. When the roots are visible and looping around the bottom of the pot, you know it’s time to re-pot. If you need to re-pot your tree, do so when it is still inactive in the early spring. When you switch to a larger container, make sure the soil composition isn’t too distinctive from what the tree has been used to.
In comparison to other trees, Maclura Pomifera (Osage Orange) has a lifespan, only living up to 75 years.