Florida Mast Trees An Offbeat But Satisfying Landscape Choice

Southwest Florida mast trees look like they’ve stepped out of a quirky fashion magazine. Tall and slender, their feathery branches droop all the way to the ground, resembling floor-length pencil skirts that totally obscure their trunks. These attention-getters have glided their way into Sarasota Florida landscapes as an unconventional option to the more traditional Italian Cypress. You’ll also see mast trees on Siesta Key, Longboat Key and Venice Island.

Florida mast trees
The unique weeping branches of Florida mast trees stretch top to bottom, obscuring their trunks when mature.

Mast trees sail through Florida’s humidity with ease.

Also known as False Ashoka, the Mast Tree is native to southern India and Sri Lanka. The “Mast Tree” name derives from how its tall straight trunk is used for ship masts and other products. Compared to the Italian Cypress, mast trees sail a bit more easily through Florida’s high humidity and heavy rains. They’re totally content to be left alone, basking in full sun (although they’ll tolerate some shade). Mast trees are resilient and require very little maintenance. Leaf drop is minimal, pests aren’t a worry, and salt tolerance is moderate.

Florida mast trees
A newly installed mast tree at Dockside Waterfront Grill in Venice, Florida. These pale lime leaves will fill out, maturing to coppery brown and then eventually to a rich glossy green.

Their main claim to fame is how they grow tall in the Florida skies but remain oh-so slender. Pendulous branches of glossy leaves droop because they’re supposed to and provide them with the tropical Florida look that we love, not because they need water. These offbeat tropical evergreens can reach 30 to 45 feet tall and won’t get much wider than four to five feet. They’re the perfect choice for confined spaces. Just be sure to avoid overwatering and plant in well-drained clay, loam or sandy soil to provide enough drainage for the Florida rain.

Florida mast trees
Whether used as an architectural accent or living hedge, mast trees aim to impress with their off-beat good looks.

How to best use these moderate growers? Mast trees look amazing surrounding a tropical lanai, lining a fence, or fringing a driveway. You can also use them as unusual architectural accents or as a living hedge for sophisticated privacy. Plant them in a row you’ll have a beautiful natural windscreen that reduces noise as well.

Florida mast trees
Long glossy leaves droop naturally down, enhancing the mast tree’s tall vertical look. If you’re looking for a clean, columnar species that truly fits the definition of low maintenance, consider the Mast Tree.
ArtisTree Landscape Designers
Headquartered in Venice, FL, ArtisTree Landscape serves many Southwest Florida counties including Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, and Lee county.

Contact ArtisTree Landscape Maintenance & Design

Want to get your Sarasota landscape renovation started now? Check out ArtisTree’s portfolio and then call us at 941.488.8897 to meet with one of our award-winning designers. We proudly serve Sarasota, Manatee, and Charlotte counties.

ArtisTree also provides complete landscape maintenance services for HOA communities throughout Southwest Florida. Contact Michael Casper at 941.488.8897 for your custom proposal.  

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