The Q&A Archives: Desert Shade Trees

Question: What kind of trees will provide shade and are very green or different colors and will live in Phoenix? Flowering is fine with little pollen,

Answer: Here's a few of my favorites: A beautiful summer flowering tree is the Desert Willow, which has pink/scarlet trumpet shaped flowers that attract hummingbirds. It's deciduous, so it loses its leaves during the winter. However, if you have a window that you'd like shaded during the summer, but sunny during the winter to let the warmth in, it's a great choice.

Palo Verde trees (they are several different kinds) actually have green trunks/bark--you can't get any greener than that! They are a wonderful sculptural looking tree with their multi-trunked habit. They bloom in the spring with a gorgeous cloud of yellow flowers.

The cascalote tree is a little bit harder to find (try some of the full-service nurseries) but it's an attractive tree with foliage similar to the Mexican bird of paradise shrubs. The tree gets a wonderful yellow bloom that turns heads.

Mesquite is a fast grower that provides a nice canopy for shade. Chinese Pistache is about the only tree that turns red in the fall in Phoenix.

There are 2 free publications called Desert Shade Trees, and Plants for the Desert Southwest that are available at nurseries and through city water departments. They list alot of choices with details on height, etc. These publications are also available at Maricopa County Cooperative Extension, 4341 E. Broadway Rd., Phoenix, from M-F, 8-5. 602-470-8086, ext. 301. They have other materials as well, including how to plant trees, etc. Worth a visit, if you're new to desert plants! Good luck!

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