The Q&A Archives: fast growing shade tree in southwestern desert

Question: I live in Camp Verde Az where summer temps can rise to about 110 and winters get down to the high teens. I need a fast growing shade tree and was going to try a silver poplar but am hesitant now after some research indicating they can be invasive to my yard and sewer systems. Any recommendations? I also have flood irrigation 10 months a year (not available in Dec and Jan).

Answer: I share your concerns about planting poplar trees, especially with flood irrigation. With such nicely moist soil, the roots will travel everywhere! The fastest growing, most adapted trees would be native trees. Mesquite and Palo Verde top the list, but there are others: Willow Acacia - A fast growing evergreen tree from Australia that does very well in your region. Technically not a willow tree but branches hang down like one. Tends to grow taller than wide; up to 25-30 ft. tall and 20 ft. wide. Arizona Sycamore (Platanus wrightii)Tree to 80'. Bark thin, whitish, smooth, peeling. Leaves simple, palmately lobed to 10" long. Male and female flowers separate and inconspicuous. Platanaceae (Plane Tree) Family. Mountain atlas pistachio, Jacaranda and Chinese Elm are also good choices. Best wishes with your new trees.

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