'Desert Museum' and 'Sonoran Emerald' Palo Verdes

dlg421October 9, 2006

The last thread on these two trees was about a year ago so I thought I would ask if anyone has either or both and could offer current opinions on them.

Also if you know what nurseries carry them (15 gallon), that would be helpful.


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I bought a Desert Museum and it has doubled in size in a year and I love it. Very easy to grow. They have them atTreeland on Arizona Ave and also(a lot cheaper) at A and P Nursery on Baseline and 101. Couldn't decide if I should buy another to replace my blown -over Mesquite or a Sissoo. I decided to try the Sissoo and spent today getting it planted. Hope it does as well as the DM has...
Treeland has every tree you ever heard of.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2006 at 8:22PM
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We just got our beautiful Desert Museum PV from Summer Winds in N. Phoenix today-- it is GORGEOUS. (I took this forums advice and skipped Moon Valley). Thanks, Lazygardens for the recommendation! I don't think I've ever been this excited about a tree in my life! It was like Christmas. Of course, it was like Christmas because we splurged on a 36" tree, since we've been told how slow-growing palo verdes are. But they had plenty of smaller trees and 15 gallon Desert Museums. I was going to get a Foothills but glad we got this one, instead. It is a huge, full tree with such emerald leaves and trunk and we've already had birds sitting in it. Looks like it has been growing there for years- doesn't have the telltale bad pruning job, either. I was VERY happy with how Summer Winds handled everything... the supervisor stayed throughout the whole planting, they were all very polite and raked the gravel back over and everything before they left. I will definitely use them again. Oh- I also got an 8' bare root ocotillo from them for $50- it's one of the fullest ocotillos I've seen. I just can't say enough about this nursery.


    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 1:56AM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

azrangeramy, did they plant the ocotillo for you too? That sounds like a great price!

    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 9:16AM
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Both the popular thornless Palo Verde hybrids are great trees, each with its own individual differences. The Desert Museum was the first hybrid introduced and is a medium green color, fast growing to about 25' x 25', has small leaflets which create a fine textured look. It blooms with large yellow flowers in the spring.

The Sonoran Emerald sports more of a blue-green color to its bark and leaves. Also a fast growing tree it produces a bit more shade that the DM because its canopy is slightly more dense. It's leaves are a bit longer and this gives it a little more graceful look. In April it is covered with typical yellow flowers.

Neither tree produces many seed pods.

There are several other palo verde hybrids being grown locally but these are the two which are easiest to find at local nurseries.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 11:20AM
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Thanks to those who have responded. Any other input ( from long term owners) on these two trees would be appreciated. At this time it seems that Baker Nursery is the only one that has the 15 gallon Sonoran Emerald available. What are opinions on Bakers?

    Bookmark   October 11, 2006 at 2:29PM
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I am also considering the desert museum. How would wide does it get? I'm considering planting it on the edge of my patio about 3 ft from the boundary wall of our backyard and I'm just curious how it would do in that location size wise and also having its roots under paving.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2006 at 7:19PM
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The Sonoran Emerald is grown locally by Arizona Wholesale Growers, 623-581-3100 (wholesale only). If you go to your favorite nursery, they should be able to order this tree for you. I have purchased 15 gallon Sonoran Emeralds at Treeland on Country Club south of Guadalupe Rd. in Mesa.

Here is a link that might be useful: Treeland Nurseries

    Bookmark   October 12, 2006 at 11:55AM
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I purchased a Sonoran Emerald at Baker's 3 yrs ago in a 15 gal pot. It was probably about 5-6 ft tall at the time. It is now about 20 ft tall with a canopy diameter of 30 ft. and is an elegant and beautiful tree. One of my favorite things about this tree is its tidy growth habit. I have only done a little pruning to it and it looks great. I have a huge palo brea in my front yard (also from Bakers 5 yrs ago) and it's a great tree but has a very tangled growth habit and needs to be pruned often.

I have very good luck with Bakers. They were ranked the top nursery in the US for "customer information" by a nurseryman's magazine last year. If they don't have something, they can usually get it for you.

Going back outside to sit under the Sonoran Emerald (tonight I'll be sitting out under the Palo Brea drinking margaritas with friends - it's one of our favorite things to do as the tree and my front fence have formed an enclosed area where I have table, chairs and lanterns in the branches.)

    Bookmark   October 12, 2006 at 12:51PM
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How fast does the sonoran Emerald grow? Why does this board recommend not using Moon Valley nursery. I' will be buying some trees soon and would like to know what is the best nursery in the Phoenix area.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 1:54PM
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The posts above give names of several nurseries in the Phoenix area, all of which are good. As far as Moon Valley goes, there is a whole thread about this nursery and the issues patrons have had with them. Just do a search from the main Arizona gardening page.

As far as how rapidly the Sonoran Emerald grows....it grows fast. I planted one from a 15 gallon container three years ago and it is now 20 feet wide and tall. I water it deeply once a month in the summer and less often in the winter.

Keep in mind that fast is not always a good thing for trees. Fast can mean weak - as in the case of mesquites. In general the slower a tree grows the stronger the wood - like oak trees whose wood is very dense and strong.

Here is a link to Arizona Wholesale Growers web site. The photo on their home page is the Sonoran Emerald in bloom.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sonoran Emerald

    Bookmark   August 26, 2008 at 11:36AM
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I did purchase the Sonoran Emerald from Baker's in October 2006. At that time Baker's had the best looking trees in stock. My tree has more than doubled in size during that time and is very pretty. Only minimal pruning is necessary to give it the proper shape.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 11:45AM
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Go for the smaller trees. They grow into bigger more healthier trees than the big ones. Something about being in a pot too long stunts their growth long term.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 11:57PM
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My Desert Museum Palo Verde tree has several areas on the larger branches/trunks that have a significant number of spots. Some of the spots have holes in them. They are mostly, but not exclusively, on the north side of the tree. They are from about 3 feet high to 6 feet high on the tree (none of the low main trunk or the higher smaller branches. Anybody know what this is?

    Bookmark   January 25, 2015 at 3:10PM
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Dong know but my DM palo verde had discoloration like yours as well.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2015 at 3:21PM
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My Sonoran Emerald pv got like your picture. There were some sort of grubs under the bark and the holes are most likely from woodpeckers going after the grubs. My tree eventually died. I hope you have better luck than I did.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2015 at 6:38PM
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Woodpeckers (aka sapsuckers). Harmless.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2015 at 6:58PM
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I took pictures of my tree to a tree nursery yesterday. They told me that woodpeckers make the holes so that insects will move in, then later the woodpeckers come back for the insects. They said since the tree looks otherwise healthy, it's fine. Also, if the tree starts to look sick, there is a systemic pesticide that can be put in the ground around the tree and is safe for the tree. Time will tell, but I have renewed hope.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2015 at 11:27AM
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Based on my experience, if I were you, I would start the systemic treatment right away.

Best luck!

    Bookmark   January 30, 2015 at 3:02PM
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Is the pesticide safe for the woodpeckers?

    Bookmark   January 31, 2015 at 8:36AM
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I have two Sonoran emeralds in my yard I love love love these trees. The damage you see is from the woodpeckers but if your trees healthy will be no problem. They do grow very quickly so be careful not to overwater
As this will lead to a week cellular structure and the branches will break easily in our monsoon weather.... That is what happens to many of the mesquite trees around here,too much water. Trim and shape them when they are young the wounds will heal properly. The tree pictured is 11 years old.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2015 at 11:22AM
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Some cicada exoskeletons... Still hanging in there in the summer the tree has hundreds of them hanging on.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2015 at 11:24AM
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Woodpecker damage ,all the little marks you see on the tree are from woodpeckers.... They are not my friends but they live here too!

    Bookmark   January 31, 2015 at 11:27AM
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Thank you, everyone, for your feedback. I haven't used a systemic pesticide yet, but if I do, I will make absolutely sure it won't hurt woodpeckers.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2015 at 10:38AM
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