Brassica oleracea Collard Tree
A tall growing, non heading member of the cabbage family, tree collards were introduced to California, probably during the latter half of the eighteenth century. They are nutritious and a 100 square foot bed can provide four times more protein and eight times more calcium than the milk produced from a fodder crop grown in the same area. In addition, tree collards contain no oxalic acid; therefore, they may be eaten raw without iron being tied up. Perennial Tree Collard leaves are rich in calcium (226 mg per cup, cooked), vitamins B1, B2, B9, and C (which may be leached by cooking, however), as well as beta-carotene (pro-vitamin A). They are high in soluble fiber and contain multiple nutrients with potent anti-cancer properties: diindolylmethane, sulforaphane and selenium. They gained national fame when Eric Toiensmeier cited them as one of the only decent tasting perennial brassicas he had ever tried in his book Perennial Vegetables. Tree Collards can be used raw or cooked in recipes that call for kale, collards or cabbage, and are especially good in soup. They take longer to cook than spinach but can be substituted in some recipes .Propagation is by cuttings. During the first year of growth, tree collards may grow 3 to 4 feet tall before winter comes. The following year, they may reach 6 to 9 feet tall. Tree Collards should be shaded before the hottest summer heat until about the end of Sept in Arizona Highly recommend a to 4 to 5 in mulch especially for Arizona. This will give the plant enough time to regrow for the winter harvest to begin. The goal is for the plant to produce fewer large leaves, smaller leaves are more tenderin my opinion. For ease of harvesting prune the plants just above a node,2 feet high the first year, 2.5 feet high the second year, and 3 feet high the third year, this gives the best yields over time. Prune out thin, weak bent or twisted stems. Leave the 3 to 4 healthiest and strongest stems that are "evenly radial" leaders (more or less evenly spaced around the stem). Remove the others. Leave any leaves on the remaining plant stems, but remove any small branches. Loosen the soil 3 to 4 inches deep around the tree collards and around the edges of the bed, to aerate the soil and let water in more easily. Cover the bed immediately with shade netting, to protect the pruned plants from excess heat, if necessary, until the new leaf sprouts are about 3 inches long. Water them in morning and evening to help them regrow and keep them moist until the they are re-established. One to two months later, prune off any small branches growing below 2 to 2.5 feet. Prune off smaller stems above this level if a lot of small stems shoot out after pruning, but be sure to leave 3 to 4 strong, evenly radial stems. These trees get very top heavy and should be staked because If you let them grow I promise you the leaves will get very large and the stem will grow to about four inches and they will not tolerate wind so please stake or loose it.
Small trees rooted in small pots or growbags $10.00 locally Phoenix area
I have taken some text from a collard tree blog because it describes what I have.
However my collard trees that I grow are not california purple, the tree gets much bigger and stems dont get as woody, These trees must be shaded from the Arizona Sun, However I have had some live years.
Available Late October - April
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