Palo Verde in Albuquerque?

camnewmexicoMay 5, 2006

I found a variety of Palo Verde called Desert Museum that is hardy to 15 degrees, grows to 20 x 20, and is relatively trash free.

I have a large courtyard enclosed on all four sides where I would like to put this tree.

Do any of you have any kind of Palo Verde in Albuquerque? What do you adventurous gardeners think?

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adp_abq(7b NM)

If your courtyard has an excellent microclimate maybe... I kind of doubt it would survive in the long term; trees being long term kind of plants. Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2006 at 2:17PM
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I agree w/adp abq. Palo Verde is a very "iffy" albeit beautiful plant for Albuquerque, but it may do okay in a good microclimate, i.e., a south-facing or west-facing exposure. You will also probably need to provide some winter protection. Do you mind if I ask where you found one available?

A good alternative to palo verde would be Honey Mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) or Screwbean Mesquite (Prosopis pubescens), both of which are New Mexico natives, and therefore a lot hardier than palo verde. Both mesquites do quite well here in Albuquerque. And although they lack the greenish bark of the palo verde, they are in the same legume family. Another legume is the Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos), which is pretty common here in town, but not as graceful in appearance as the other two I just mentioned, and not as drought tolerant either. It also grows more quickly and larger than honey or screwbean mesquite.

Other alternatives are Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis) or Desert Olive (Forestiera neomexicana), but these are not legume trees.


    Bookmark   May 5, 2006 at 3:54PM
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I didn't find one in Albuquerque...only on the internet and they're from Arizona, of course.

I was afraid it was just wishful thinking on my part. I got fooled by Sunset Western Garden book including them in our climate zone...which they designate as 10, I believe. They said they were good in 8-14 but I was worried since I never see any here. Oh well...there are other alternatives. I am just in love with that color.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2006 at 7:21PM
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adp_abq(7b NM)

I second the suggestion by cactus dude about the screwbean mesquite. Great tree for albuquerque. I have one. It's leaves are similar to palo verde. Also good for patio. It doesn't get too large.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2006 at 10:46PM
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adp abq

What about the screwbeans? and how old is your tree? And about how large is not too large?

This tree will be planted on a west wall out of the main traffic flow...but it will be visible and a focal point. I wanted something interesting trunk, shape, or color. The landscaper has specified a Smoke Tree for this location. There will be underplantings and gravel beneath it, so I'm wondering about trash...though screwbeans sound fun.

What about Mexican Elder?

I'm looking it up right now...the mesquite.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2006 at 11:06AM
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adp_abq(7b NM)


Mine is 3 years old. Still young
It can get up to 20 feet. It depends on how much water you give it. It likes deep infrequent waterings as do most desert trees. I like the look of it. It will have shaggy grey bark as it gets older. Gives it an ancient look (so I hear). Good for underplanting because they will get a filtered shade as opposed to complete shade (since the leaves are small and it's canopy is not dense). Mexican elder is another great tree. I like those also. Has a dense canopy though. Really lush. I know in cruces and el paso the mexican elder is summer deciduous (loses it's leaves in summer). Here it might not do that.

I think screwbeans are interesting especially since you don't see them too often in albuquerque. Most people are not aware of them it seems. But it definitely is fit for our climate (native to nm). More interesting choice than desert willow or the other common suspects.

You can find screwbeans and mexican elders at santa ana nursery or plants of the southwest.

screwbean mesquite #1

Here is a link that might be useful: screwbean

    Bookmark   May 6, 2006 at 1:48PM
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I went on a search mission last night to High Desert and ended up finding every hawthorn that I could find.

I'm still in a dilemma here trying to find three patio trees that will work...

One speciman that has interesting form and dappled shade, one for shade in a sit-around planter, and one that blooms or has interesting color and form. Oy.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2006 at 2:41PM
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jfr1107(ABQ z7 and denial)

Is the screwbean mesquite evergreen in ABQ?


    Bookmark   May 12, 2006 at 6:05PM
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No, screwbean is deciduous here in the Duke City.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2006 at 9:55AM
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SteveNMZ8a(Z8a NM)

For a courtyard, skip screwbean - looks better in the wild. MX elder is OK but weedy and may be damaged in a heavy freeze as they have very soft wood. If you have a good microclimate (altho 4 walls may hold cold air) and want to go out on a limb a bit, try AZ rosewood, loquat, pineapple guava, or TX mountain laurel. All would make great patio trees.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2006 at 11:39PM
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My neighbors in Abq have a beutiful screwbean on their patio. It is even interesting in winter when bare. Loquat and pineapple guava, while thriving in Las Cruces, are marginal here. AZ rosewood or TX mountain laurel would be beautiful --- if you're patient with the slow rate of growth. Golden raintree (Koelreuteria paniculata)makes a fast growing beautiful patio tree for here, a bit messy when losing its leaves in fall but beautiful and delicate when in bloom; very drought tolerant, too. Good luck.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2006 at 11:49PM
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