Choosing the Right Tree

What is the best tree?
The best tree is the tree that most nearly fits your particular site, personal preferences, and maintenance expectations. Asking a few questions before visiting the nursery will help you choose the tree that is just right for your yard.

• Litter – how much litter is too much? Living plants create litter, some significantly more than others. Deciduous trees lose leaves seasonally, usually during winter, growing new ones in early spring. Even evergreen trees shed leaves, though at a more constant rate. Flowers and seeds can also contribute to litter.
• Size – how big is the space for a tree? What are the dimensions of the space? And are there limitations such as powerlines?
• Purpose – how will the tree work in the landscape? For shade? Simply adding shade can also increase energy efficiency in the home. To attract wildlife? Trees that are native to a region will provide food and nesting sites that attract and support native birds.
• Preference – how do you envision your tree? Do you like green or gray leaves? Colorful flowers? Easy care? Desert trees offer a wide array of colors, shapes, and attributes to meet your landscaping needs.

The Best Tree Picks

Palo verdePalo Verde – With a wide variety of species in the family, the all-around versatility of palo verde trees can’t be beat. Ranging from small to large, slow growing to fast, thorny to thornless, palo verdes offer the choices to fit your site, preferences, and maintenance expectations.

Native to our region, they are well adapted to life in the desert. Green bark is not only a striking feature of palo verdes, but an amazing trait that allows this family of trees to drop all leaves in times of drought and still perform photosynthesis to manufacture food.

Chilopsis linearisDesert Willow – Colorful and long flowering, few trees can match the prolific bloom of the desert willow. Branches are leafless through the winter (a plus for energy efficiency) and heavy with fragrant pink to purple flowers from spring to fall. A thornless, medium-size tree, desert willow is attractive to wildlife and a good choice for shade and screening.
Acacia willardianaPalo blanco – Graceful and small-stature are traits that combine to form an uncommon and lovely tree and allow the palo blanco to fit into tight spaces. Peeling, paper-thin white bark is unusual and interesting, and slender branches with delicate leaves belie its sturdy character.
Eysenhardtia orthocarpaKidneywood – Fragrant white flower spikes adorn the tips of branches, attracting tiny blue butterflies. Small and lacy, the multitrunked kidneywood is ideally suited for use as a small shade tree. You may need to ask for it at local nurseries or request a special order from a local grower, but you’ll find it worth the wait. With its popularity on the rise, availability should soon meet the demand.


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