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Desert tree advice for newbie?

Posted by ccarroll (My Page) on
Mon, Sep 11, 06 at 18:58

Any advice on buying a tree for a small backyard in Phoenix, Arizona? I've seen some information on this site, but I thought I'd ask anyway, for any additional input.

I'm looking for something that:
would be leafy and green to provide some shade
would not grow too fast or too large
would not require much care or water (weekly sprinkling)
would not shed tons of leaves and buds all over

Does anyone know trees that fit this profile? I've asked around to various gardeners and nursery, but everything they suggest seems to have a drawback.

Thank you in advance for any advice - I've never bought a tree before!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Desert tree advice for newbie?

Hi. You might want to look at the following:
1. Little leaf ash (fraxinus greggi). It can grow to 15 ft. high and about 8 feet wide. It is an ideal tree for the Phoenix area, not too large, is drought-tolerant, and should fit into your back yard without any problem. It is deciduous, but, in Phoenix, it shouldn't be too much of a problem.
Three other trees you might consider are:
1. Catclaw acacia (acacia gregii) which grows to 18 feet with a width span of 15 feet. It is also deciduous, but great for Phoenix.
2. Blue Palo Verde (Ceridium x Parkinsonia), which grows to 20 X 20.
3. Desert Willow (Chilopsis linarus), 20 X 15. This is not a true willow, although it looks like one. It is more closely related to the western catalpa.
For a list of trees that are great for your area, you might try the following website:

Here is a link that might be useful: Desert Gardens

RE: Desert tree advice for newbie?

I have a tree that I think fits the bill but I don't know the name of it. It's leaves look like a Ficus tree but it gets spikes of tiny white flowers. The flowers are really not very ornamental, more a fuzzy look than true flowers. Bees love them as do hummingbirds. We have a repeat nester in ours for the last 3 years. The Tree is 4 years old and about 7-8 feet tall and about 7 foot across base. It does take prunning well, just need to get my hubby on the ladder to get the top of it.
We water it once a week in the summer, deep, and everyother week in the winter. It does get a little water greedy when it blooms so I tend to trim about half of them off since they start to weigh down the branches too much anyway. I think it might have Japanese in its name, sorry not much help. If your interested I could take a pic and posted it. It sheds very little leaves, the only "shedding" time is from the blooms that turn into small pods. Since I trim most of them off I don't notice clean up. It's not a huge tree but it does shade my pool room very well from the setting sun.

RE: Desert tree advice for newbie?

Pithecellobium flexicaule (Texas Ebony) is a beautiful evergreen tree for the low desert. Many great examples in Phoenix. Check them out at the Desert Botanical Gardens.Enjoy! dl

RE: Desert tree advice for newbie?

I vote for the desert willow...beautiful, large trumpet shaped flowers in either white, white edged in pink, or white edged in purple... Several together are great as a screen and open, dappled shade. Twisting stems, usually multi-trunked, but can be trained to one trunk if you want.

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