OSAGE ORANGE ‘WHITE SHIELD’ (Maclura pomifera ‘inermis’)
This new fruitless & thorn less male (only female Osage Orange bear fruit) Osage Orange should be an excellent addition to our “Urban Forest Diversified Tree Species Planting List”.
The wood of the Osage Orange is very dense, storm and decay resistant. Some users reportedly make wedges from the wood that are used in place of steel when splitting oak. In the days before creosote, Osage Orange was used for decay resistant railroad ties that out lasted oak, chestnut and catalpa. These last three species showed wear and decay after two to three years, while Osage Orange ties checked after 21 years, were as good as when they were cut!
Osage Orange grows fast and begins to provide shade in 10 years. The tree ultimately grows to a height of 40 to 50 feet and nearly as wide in an open site. The leaves are a glossy green, three to six inches long, tapering towards the end. They turn a golden yellow in late fall. The small male flowers are pale green in color and once again bear no fruit. And as stated earlier, unlike the common species, the tree is thorn free.
‘White Shield’ Osage Orange is virtually pest free and highly deer resistant. This plant is incredibly tough, surviving severe droughts, poor alkaline or acidic, wet or dry……even compacted soils.
‘White Shield’ Osage Orange is not presently widely available at nurseries, but that is sure to change as demand for it increases. It can be found if searched for. This tree species has many other attributes, interesting facts and history too numerous to mention here. I recommend taking advantage of the specie’s tenacity by planting this selection in a variety of our most difficult urban sites for reliable and trouble free performance.
To learn more about our tree planting services, visit our page regarding tree spading and transplanting. Start diversifying your landscape today!
Harold Hoover, Board Certified Master Arborist, Kramer Tree Specialists