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