Shade Trees - The Dilemma

MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZSeptember 26, 2008

It's time for me to buy some shade trees for the backyard. Please help!! It's down to two: mesquite or (and?) Desert Museum Palo Verde. We have room for (and want) a large spreading canopy. I would like to be able to plant under the tree(s) and sit under them. This will be a new patio area.

Sunset magazine this month recommends a thornless Honey Mesquite. Before I read that I was considering a thornless Chilean Mesquite. While researching those, I found Mountain States Wholesale Nursery has cloned a new mesquite:

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Prosopis x Phoenix® (Thornless) Size: 35 x 35; Low water; Yellow flowers; 15 degrees cold tolerant; Zone 8

This grafted tree is thornless, fast-growing, and semi-evergreen.The top of the plant is a clone of South American hybrid mesquite, while the rootstock is our native Prosopis juliflora.This rootstock has slowed down the top growth, resulting in healthier branching structure and a solid root system. Lush green compound leaves provide dense summer shade. Light yellow catkin flowers are followed by a few brown seedpods. Plant in full sun and prune as needed in the summer.

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Does anyone here have experience or comments about the mesquites, especially the newly cloned Phoenix Mesquite and/or DM palo verde as a solution for a blazing hot backyard?

I stopped at Summer Winds at Tatum and Bell yesterday and talked to a real nice guy, Bryan. They purchase some of their stock from Mountain States and can order the prosopis phoenix for me but he also showed me a Desert Museum Palo Verde that has been in the ground there for about six years. Wow! What a gorgeous tree.

Any comments folks? Thanks.

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petzold6596(8b southern NM)

From the info you have given, I seems to me the question you have to answer is: How much shade do I want? Both trees will do well AZ.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2008 at 11:03AM
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I planted the 'Maverick' thornless honey mesquite three years ago from a 15 gallon container. It is now about 10 feet tall and 15 feet wide. At this point the interior hasn't filled in much yet, but it will with time. It has a graceful appearance with large leaflets and pendulous branches.

If you want shade, I'd also recommend the Sonoran Emerald thornless palo verde. It has a deep green color rather than the yellow-green of the Desert Museum. It also has a thicker canopy than the DM. I've planted two DM's in the past and have switched to the Sonoran Emeralds. I have one tree in my yard now that was planted less than three years ago. It's 15 feet tall and at least 20 feet wide and provides great shade.

This tree is grown locally by Arizona Wholesale Growers and is available at most retail nurseries. Here's a photo of one in bloom.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sonoran Emerald palo verde

    Bookmark   September 29, 2008 at 11:57AM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

WOW! what an astoshining tree in that picture. It's beautiful!!

petzold: I want dappled shade under a large canopy - the dominant words being large and canopy.

treelvr: I was hopin' you would show up. ;~) I'll earmark that Sonoran for a later project. As it turns out, Summer Winds is having a 'Special' on the chilean mesquite until Oct 15th, 2-24" box trees for $200. The price is so darn right, and that tree is on my short list. I can fit two in my backyard so will probably do that.

Thanks to both for taking the time to give me your comments. Much appreciated.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2008 at 8:23PM
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What an absolutely gorgeous photo, aztreelvr.

My neighborhood is full of Chinese Elm and sissoo trees. Both give decent shade, but need to be well-managed to keep the seedlings from taking over the yard.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2009 at 12:37AM
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