The Q&A Archives: California Pepper Tree

Question: We have two pepper trees that have been in the ground for approximately 6 months. While the tree has grown approximately 3 feet, the lower limbs are still touching the ground. Should we remove these limbs? Should we fertilize and with what? Is there a "food" that should be given to the tree to help it's growth?

Answer: Schinus molle, the California Pepper Tree is a fast growing tree, reaching a mature height of 25-40 feet. The branches naturally emerge on the lower part of the trunk, but you can prune these back without harming the tree, especially if you want to walk under it. Pepper trees adapt to most soils, require little water once established, and doesn't need to be fed. Fertilizer will only encourage weak, spindly growth and bothersome surface roots. Your trees should become established by next spring and will probably begin a vigorous growth spurt then.

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