A fitting state plant for the Grand Canyon State, the Blue Palo Verde is a large shrub or small tree reaching up to 40 feet in height. An avid desert plant, the Blue Palo Verde is drought-deciduous, meaning it sheds its leaves during dry, hot conditions to avoid losing excess water. Photosynthesis, the process by which the plant makes energy from the sun, is performed by the Blue Palo Verde’s unique blue-green branches. Relegated to the southern deserts of Arizona, it is one of several trees and bushes the Grand Canyon State landowner can grow that will thrive in the state’s diverse elevations and micro-climates.
Due to its dramatically different micro-climates, extensive elevation changes, and severe drought risks, the smart Arizonian grower will need to consider the following; climate, soil type, average precipitation, irrigation, growing zones and weather damage.
The Best Trees for Arizona
Read about the specifics for your state in the following sections. If you’re looking for some quick hints on which trees to plant, consider the following trees as expert-tested and The Tree Center approved:
#1. Rainbow Eucalyptus Tree – Ideal for providing stunning beauty and shade.
#2. Royal Empress Trees – Ideal for providing fast-growing shade, year-round beauty, and drought resistance.
#3. Bloodgood Japanese Maple – Ideal for adding color, providing ornamental beauty, and no-hassle maintenance.
#4. Everbearing Strawberry – Ideal for bearing fruit, providing color, and delicious, edible profits.
Fast Growing Privacy Trees in Arizona
As property in Arizona continues to be developed, land owners are searching for trees that will provide privacy from prying neighborly eyes and loud, unwanted noise. There are many fast growing privacy trees in Arizona, which will quickly grow after initial planting to afford your property and family long sought-after privacy.
The Thuja Green Giant, a staple of privacy trees throughout the United States, is a fast-growing pine that will quickly provide a barrier between you and your neighbors. Growing between 3-5 feet a year, the Thuja Green Giant will offer your yard classic French design with minimal hassle. Alternatively, the Leyland Cypress and American Holly will also add color and privacy to your yard’s perimeter.
Arizona is famous for its natural wonder, the Grand Canyon. With geological occurrences like canyons, property owners in Arizona must contend with extreme variance in elevation. This will change the type of plants best suited to a specific location. With much of the lower elevations encompassing desert, Arizonian planters must prepare for hot, dry summers and mild winters. At higher elevations, the desert climate induces hot days and cooler evenings. This is less true in developed areas where population warming reduces the coolness of desert evenings. In northern Arizona, homeowners will find that elevated plateaus provide significantly cooler temperatures. Arizona provides a little bit of every kind of weather to its inhabitants.
Most trees require well-drained soil rich with minerals to grow. Arizona holds a diverse selection of soils, ranging from wet clays to dry, sandy soil. Casa Grande soil, which covers much of the region, is difficult to use in planting as it is nutrient deficient. An Arizonian planter will most likely need to add loam and topsoil to their planting site. Regardless of the property’s location in Arizona, a soon-to-be tree planter can perform a simple test to determine his/her soil type:
The squeeze test is a tool pedologists (soil scientists) use to determine the type of soil in a given area. Remove the first layer of soil and grab a handful of damp (but not wet) dirt. Then, squeeze the soil in the palm of your hand. When you open your hand, the results will help you to determine your specific type of soil.
1. The squeezed soil holds its squeezed shape. If you poke it, the soil will still hold its squeezed shape. You have CLAY.
2. The squeezed soil holds its squeezed shape. However, when you poke it the squeezed soil collapses. You have LOAM.
3. The soil collapses as soon as you open your hands. You have SAND.
Once you know what soil type you have, you can find trees best suited to the dirt’s properties. Loam is the best soil to have, as its unique qualities make it ideal for holding and transferring water to trees.
Since Arizona is desert, and droughts are frequent, it is not surprising the state receives so little rain. With an average rainfall of only 12.7 inches, much of the rain falls during two rainy seasons, winter Pacific Ocean fronts and summer monsoons. During the summer monsoons, the dewpoint significantly rises, and thunderstorms are common. Flash-flooding also occurs, causing concerns for poorly rooted trees uprooting and traveling wherever the water flows.
The Arizonian tree planter will need to strongly consider irrigation. With water scarcity concerns, it is essential to determine possible natural or manmade irrigation systems which could be used to ensure plant success. Newly planted trees require a maintained and constant water source, as the upturned soil can lead to poor support and dying roots. Be sure to install a drip system, bubbler, soaker hose, or sprinkler to ensure appropriate water coverage. Remember for trees it is best to water to a depth of 3 feet.
With such exceptional elevation variances, it is not surprising Arizona contains 11 distinct growing zones. A growing zone simply refers to the USDA’s determination of areas where certain plants are most likely to thrive, preferring to focus on minimal temperature ranges in which a plant can survive. Zones 5a to 10a cover divergent temperature ranges. At the highest elevations along plateaus and the northern pine forests of the Colorado plain, plants will thrive best who can survive temperatures as low as -20°F. At the lowest elevations near Phoenix and the California border, planters will find temperatures do not often drop below 35°F.
Although the speculative Arizonian tree planter will have to take careful consideration as to their specific location and plant needs within their micro-climate, they will not have to worry too much about weather damage. Besides flooding during the summer monsoons, Arizona does not contend with tornadoes or hurricanes often. Earthquakes are more common, but primarily in southwestern Arizona, where its border with the Californian plate does cause some upheaval. Before planting trees with weak roots or extraordinary height, consider whether these weather systems are frequent in your region and if the tree you are planting may be affected by them.