Cordia boissieri Mexican Olive, or Texas Olive
up to 20 ft. x 10-15 ft. wide
Tough, small white flowering accent tree. These are an evergreen large shrub to small tree with ruffled green foliage, crepe paper white flowers, and rugged-looking bark. They grow at a slow to moderate rate to form multi-trunked or single trunk trees equally suitable for desert or tropical settings. Fuzzy flower clusters give way to oval shaped fruits that resemble large olives; hence, the common name. While moderate supplemental irrigation helps young trees to get establish more quickly, they will mature to become very drought and heat tolerant. Little to no regular maintenance is required other than raking up fallen fruits, or light annual pruning to train young trees into desired shape and structure.
Dalbergia sissoo Indian Rosewood, or Sissoo
Quaking Aspen-like shade tree for the desert. These are fast growing semi-evergreen trees with bright green, round leaves that are almost constantly quivering. White to light gray colored bark provides additional visual appeal. Although immature trees tend to be somewhat gawky and awkward looking with careful systematic annual pruning and regular deep summer watering, these trees will develop quickly to form a large, domed or umbrella-shaped shade tree. Primarily used in urban landscapes is for parks, roadways, greenbelts, and open commercial sites. Due to their extensively spreading root system Indian Rosewood do not perform well in spaces with narrow or shallow soil profiles such as parking lots or narrow streetscapes. Inconspicuous spring flowers will yield numerous small, papery seed pods that may require clean up maintenance in some situations. As trees mature, they will become more drought tolerant. Too much water will lead to faster growing trees with weaker root systems that are prone to toppling and requiring longer staking.
Ficus nitida (Syn. Ficus microcarpa) Indian Laurel Fig
Lush dark green large trees for shade or screening. Large growing handsome evergreen shade trees for large open areas. Slow to moderate growing to form natural round or umbrella shaped canopy. Dark, emerald green glossy oval leaves against white to light gray smooth bark gives all Ficus trees their notable, and desirable character. The best piece of advice is to give them room. Trees are strong growers when provided ample regular watering eventually reaching 40-60 ft. high and wide or more. Shallow roots can lift concrete sidewalks for driveways. Give them root room as well. These subtropical trees can have top foliage damaged by hard frosts, which is not ideal, but trees will quickly recover once damage is removed in spring.
Fraxinus uhdei Shamel Ash
Dark green oval-shaped reliable shade tree. Shamel Ash are reluctantly deciduous, being the last trees in the fall to early winter to drop their leaves and are usually the first shade trees to leaf out again in early spring. Large, lustrous dark green leaves make it a regional favorite. They grow moderately fast, especially with deep supplemental watering during summer. Their shape is predictably oval, typically growing a bit taller than they are wide, but give them room. Some mature specimens in Phoenix and Tempe top out at 80 ft. tall. Immature or newly planted trees should be protected from hard freezes since they are resistant to go into dormancy as they should. Overall, they are an easy desirable shade tree.
Fraxinus velutina ‘Fan-Tex’ 'Fan Tex' Ash, or 'Rio Grande' Ash
Tough, western selected Ash tree. This is a male clone selected from North Eastern AZ and has all the best qualities of our native Velvet Ash, without any of the seedy mess. Strong, upright to oval formed trees have dark green summer foliage that turns brilliant yellow in fall, even in low desert winters. Like all native riparian trees, additional summer water, especially when young and during summers keeps them healthy and happy.
Fraxiunus velutina Arizona Ash, Velvet Ash
Tough, native shade trees for fall color. Native, shade trees found throughout the southwest from 2000-7000ft elevation in riparian habitats. Pinnately compound leaves are shiny and light green. The bark is light gray, smooth to slightly fissured, but the new growth is brown and velvety; hence, the name Velvet Ash. With ample water and deep soils trees are fast growing. In low desert environments with minimal water, trees are slower growing and often show center branch decline. To avoid this, provide regular supplemental irrigation, especially during the heat of summer. Minimal annual pruning requirements. Immature trees with hot western exposure can develop sun scald on trunks. Wrap for protection until the bark fully matures.
Jacaranda mimosifolia Jacaranda
Striking blue flowers with graceful foliage. These fast growing large, tropical trees make a perfect statement or accent tree due to their overwhelming spring to summer flower display. They have an open irregular habit with an oval shape typically growing taller than wide. Leaves are long, bi-pinnately compound with a lacy look and bright green in color. Deep blue, large tubular flowers grow in vertical clusters that stand tall above the foliage that is semi-deciduous even in low deserts. Unique, round hard dark brown seed pods follow the flowers, but they are not a terrible nuisance and easy to rake or pick up, as are any leaflets that drop in fall. These tropical trees appreciate deep, monthly watering in summer and well-drained soils. Shallow frequent watering encourages shallow roots.
Lysiloma thornberi Desert Fern
The Desert Fern, or Lysiloma Thornberi, is an iconic Arizona native tree. Don’t let its delicate fern-like appearance fool you, this is a rugged heat and drought-tolerant performer. Its feathery green leaves provide a soft texture and much-needed shade. It’s perfect for challenging hot locations near pavement or between building foundations and walks, so bringing the Desert Fern tree into more landscapes is a benefit for all. Clusters of white ball-shaped flowers are butterfly magnets in the spring. Later in the summer, the tree produces long, brown seed pods. Lysiloma Thornberi forms baby off-shoots from its roots, showcasing its adaptability and resilience in the face of stress. Don’t over-prune. Instead, let its shape develop naturally and witness its transformation into a captivating focal point.
Nerium oleander – Tree ‘White’ White Oleander Tree
Classic evergreen, flowering small trees. We have started the training for you with these versatile, multi-function ornamental accent trees. Standard or full sized oleander trees, are evergreen vigorous and long-blooming. They work equally well for residential landscapes or commercial projects. Plant them wherever a small umbrella shaped flowering tree will fit. They can grow about 20 ft. tall, ultimately with an equal spread. Flowers of standard oleanders are large and bright in pastel hues of pink, red and white, blooming from spring to summer. Flowers are followed by clustered seed pods that look like skinny, dark brown cigars. Pods can be pruned off in late summer to keep trees tidy. They are extremely heat and drought tolerant plants, although supplemental water from late spring to summer while they are flowering is beneficial.