North Port Florida Mast Trees

You may have heard about the rising popularity of mast trees in North Port, Florida and are probably wondering what they are, where they came from, and why they are suddenly so desirable. Let Palmco help answer those questions for you!

North Port Florida Mast Trees

Palmco grows dozens of varieties of top quality tropical and cold-hardy palms, clumping bamboo, and ornamental plants and trees. Plus, we have more than 600 acres under cultivation.

We nurture every plant in our warm, fertile environment, giving it ample space to grow with the proper nutrition. When it’s time to dig your trees for pick-up or delivery, our digging and strapping techniques leave no scarring or trauma to the plants and trees.

A Mast Tree Education

Mast trees (Polyalthia longifolia) are relatively new to Florida. They belong to the same family as the ylang-ylang tree. Historically, they were used for their straight trunks to build the masts for sailing ships, which is how they got their name.

In the past, Italian Cypress trees were the go-to trees for designs that required a tall, straight tree with drooping foliage. However, Florida humidity can cause the temperamental Italian Cypress to suffer with root rot, spider mites, fungus, and cypress canker disease.

Polyalthia longifolia is native to India and Sri Lanka and is also called the False Ashoka, Buddha Tree, Indian Mast Tree, and Indian Fir Tree. It belongs to the Annonaceae family – one of the largest families of flowering plants that is commonly referred to as the “custard apple” family.

Once a year in the spring, Polyalthia longifolia blooms with fragrant star-like pale green flowers that typically last for two to three weeks. This is followed by clusters of fruit that start out green but ripen to purple or black. The False Ashoka is also known for attracting butterflies and birds.

The leaves of the Mast tree start out a coppery brown color, turn light green as they age, and eventually become a shiny dark green. They remain on the tree in all seasons, almost completely covering the trunk, and the natural color contrast makes a spectacular show when the trees are planted in groups.

Tall, narrow Mast trees can be used as hedges, privacy screens, noise screens, windbreaks, to line driveways, avenues and walkways, or as architectural accents to frame entryways, soften building corners and vertical edges, and cover vertical drain-pipes. They are also suitable for narrow spaces because they grow quite tall but stay slender.

Mast trees are not very tolerant of cold weather (below 30° F), so they are best suited to USDA Zones 10a to 11. They are not recommended for use north of coastal Hillsborough County on Florida’s west coast or Indian River County on the east coast.

Plant them in full or partial sun in rich clay, loam, or sandy soil, and make sure the soil is well-drained. Mature Mast trees are drought-tolerant, moderately salt-tolerant, have no pest issues of note, thrive in bright locations, tolerate partial shade, and have very little leaf drop.

If you’re interested in planting Mast trees in North Port, Florida, you can count on the experts at Palmco for advice. Give us a call at 239.283.1329 so that we can answer all your remaining questions or help you place an order!