Shade trees in AZ: Fantex Ash, Chinese Elm, or Holly Oak?

Pauly_in_AZMarch 10, 2013

Good morning gardenwebbers. One of my fav lists by far. So im in the hunt for a new shade tree here in the Phoenix desert. I've now tried Ficus and Shamel Ash to a not-so-impressive outcome (Ficus killed by frost, Shamel Ash hit hard by frost too). So went looking around at the nurseries, looking for the overall best alignment to these requirements:
...1) providing shade in the summer, (ie, grow large)
...2) tolerating both frost AND baking summer heat
...3) not being too messy/invasive/problematic
...4) moderate to fast growth
So far, the three trees that meet these criteria nicely are the Fan Tex Ash, the Chinese Elm, and the Holly Oak. Among my subjective opinions of the three: The Fan Tex is pretty close to the Shamel Ash and i've not been happy with its handling of frost this 2013 winter, so Im skittish it may be more of the same. The Chinese elm.. its leaves are little and its scraggly looking. The Holly Oak, i like its name, but wonder if the tree will really grow large or just be a medium-size overgrown bush (ya, i know its a tree, just being smartaleck).

Looking for other experiences out there, your help/suggestions appreciated. :)

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I vote for Fantex Ash. It goes dormant in winter. Not a single problem frost. It puts on slow to moderate growth, but is not invasive. Nice shade and a very beautiful symmetrical tree.

Chinese evergreen ash is also nice. Small leaves but beautiful trunk and nice canopy. The drake variety is supposed to be a faster grower. Also goes dormant in winter and no probs with frost.

Can't go wrong with either one.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 1:45AM
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I vote for Chinese Evergreen Elm (Ulmus parvifolia). They don't mind our heat, salty soils and are cold hardy to 20 degrees. Only deciduous for a couple months in winter - they are leafing out now.

Ash trees (including Fantex) are huge water guzzlers and IMO not appropriate for most landscapes in the desert.

Here is a link that might be useful: Evergreen Elm

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 12:15PM
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be carefull with those chineese elms they can be quite invasive like to upheave walls and concrete the rio grande or shamel ash is better or if you don't mind the acorns the southern like oaks are really nice

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 12:05PM
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