In the Land of Enchantment, it is the Pinyon Pine New Mexican residents chose to elevate as a representation of their state. Known for its edible nuts, the pinyon nut was once a stable of Native American diets, and is still eaten widely today. Limited to elevations rarely below 5,200 feet or above 7,900 feet, the Pinyon Pine is smaller, frequently topping at 60 feet tall. The needles are bundled in pairs, small, and green. The seeds, or pinyon nuts, are commonly eaten as protein in salads or in mixed nut dishes, and are dispersed by the Pinyon Jay. The Pinyon Pine is not limited to New Mexico, growing throughout Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, and Texas mountain ranges. New Mexican tree planters are not limited to the nut-bearing Pinyon Pine, though, and may choose from several tree varieties to add shade and property value to the yard.
Due to its large size, dry climate, and varied elevations, the smart New Mexican grower will need to consider the following:
- Soil Type
- Average Precipitation
- Growing Zones
- Weather Damage
Best Trees for New Mexico
Read about the specifics for your state in the following sections. If you’re looking for some quick ideas on what to plant, consider the following trees as expert-tested and The Tree Center approved:
- Royal Empress Trees
Ideal for providing fast-growing shade, year-round beauty, and drought resistance.
- October Glory Maple
Ideal for continuous color, adaptable growing conditions, and landscaping designs.
- Cold Hardy Avocado
Ideal for bearing fruit for delicious, edible profits, color, and adaptable qualities.
- Muskogee Crape
Ideal for mildew resistance, fragrant lavender blooms, and fast-growing height.
Fast Growing Privacy Trees in New Mexico
New developments throughout the United States mean more infrastructure, more people, and more invasion of privacy. The residents of New Mexico have the option to plant and tend trees that produce privacy, turning away prying eyes and loud noises and instead enjoying the quiet and peace of private property.
The Leyland Cypress is the perfect privacy tree for New Mexican inhabitants. The Leyland Cypress grows quickly, adds distinct charm, and produces thick barriers between a private abode and unwanted chatter. Growing between 3 and 5 feet a year, the Leyland Cypress will give the New Mexican yard the fast-growing privacy for which they have been searching. Alternatively, the Thuja Green Giant and American Holly will bring privacy, color, and solitude to the savvy planter’s yard.
New Mexico shares its borders with Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma, as well as the famous ‘Four Corners’ between New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Arizona. New Mexico is typically described as semi-arid to arid, though its variations in elevation do disrupt climactic descriptions at times. Mountains, high plains, desert, and the Great Plains cover most of the state. Summers in New Mexico are hot, often exceeding 100°F at lower elevations, with the record set in 1994 at 122°F. In higher elevations, average daily summer temperatures linger in the 70s. Winters can be quite cold in high elevation regions, where most cities are located, with the record low, -50°F tied with Maine’s record low temperature.
Most trees require well-drained soil rich with minerals to grow. Penistaja soils cover most of New Mexico, and these are productive, loam-based, and high in mineral content. Penistaja soils are widely used for cattle grazing and livestock production. Regardless of the property’s location in the Land of Enchantment, a soon-to-be tree planter can perform a simple test to determine his/her soil type.
In order to determine the type of soil in your yard, try this test to give you a basis for finding the best matched trees. For this test, you will need a healthy handful of soil from the layer beneath the topmost piece of soil. The soil should be a little damp, but not recently watered or wet. Simply squeeze the soil sample and one of the following events will occur.
1. You have CLAY if, after opening your hands, the soil maintains its shape, forming a ball. If you touch the sample, it does not fall apart.
2. You have LOAM if, after opening your hands, the soil maintains its shape, forming a ball. If you touch the sample, it falls apart.
3. You have SAND if, after opening your hands, the soil immediately collapses.
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.
New Mexico experiences a semi-arid to arid climate, and as such, precipitation is minimal. Santa Fe averages only 14 inches of rainfall a year, and the annual average precipitation totals are less throughout the state. On average, New Mexico receives only 13.9 inches of rainfall annually, typically receiving less than an inch of precipitation a month. Snow is not uncommon in higher elevations, especially mountain ranges, and New Mexico averages 22 inches of snowfall annually.
Irrigation is necessary in New Mexico. The past few years have seen a decline in water availability, as droughts and wildfires continue to affect the region. New Mexico State University works in partnership with the state to assist in water management, advocating for drip irrigation systems. These systems work to provide small, but consistent low-pressure water to gardens and new plantings. Newly planted trees must have direct access to water, as the stress of transplantation can be detrimental to successful growth. Ensure an irrigation system is present in order to have a successful new tree on the property.
New Mexico is home to nine unique growing zones, centered primarily on elevations. 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. Generally, plants in northern portions of the state or at higher elevations will have to withstand temperatures in the range of -10°F to -20°F. In the regions both including and west of the Jicarilla Apache Indian Reservation, temperatures can drop to as low as -25°F for extended periods. In the regions surrounding Albuquerque and southwards, temperatures are more likely to remain at 0°F for extended lengths of time. In the far south, along the border with southern Arizona and Mexico, as well as in the region surrounding Las Cruces and Deming, temperatures do not drop below 10°F. The highest low temperature ranges fall in a sliver along the border with Arizona northwest of Silver City. Here, temperatures rarely drop below 15°F for any extended period.
Despite its location along several fault lines and proximity to California and Arizona, New Mexico experiences rather limited severe earthquakes. Those that do affect the region typically only offer periphery damage. Wildfires and droughts are the most common severe weather to affect the area, often damaging homes and forests. Droughts can be severe, often severely limiting access to water. Flash-floods are an occasional visitor, usually affecting cities where leveled terrain causes the most damage. Trees can be an essential protection, both from flooding and wildfire. Trees can both stabilize high-risk erosion territory and decrease air temperature.