In today’s drought-conscious society, you may not have thought that you could add trees or tall plants to your desert landscape. Trees and tall plants offer many benefits and, if you plant the right species, they may be more drought-resistant than you realize. Here are reasons why you shouldn’t rule out trees and tall plants for your Phoenix-area landscape.
Reasons to Plant Trees and Tall Plants
Trees and tall plants offer several benefits for both you and the environment.
- They help cool the landscape: Trees and tall plants provide shade and reduce the amount of heat that reflects off the ground. This helps keep your outdoor space cool as well as provide shade for you and your pets.
- They can help reduce energy costs: If you plant your trees and tall plants close to the western or southern part of your home, you could create enough shade to keep your home cool. This means that you will use less air conditioning and energy.
- They add interest to your yard: Trees give your landscape depth and texture that draws in the eye. Many trees feature colorful leaves and flowers at certain times of the year.
- They provide security: You can arrange certain types of thorny desert plants so that they act like a fence. They keep intruders out but look nice at the same time. Tall desert plants can also add privacy in the same way.
- They help control water run-off: During the summer monsoon, many desert trees and tall plants absorb water quickly. That means less water backs up in the storm drains. These plants also reduce flood water erosion.
Types of Trees and Tall Plants for Desert Landscapes
Different types of trees and tall plants require different types of soil, light, and water amounts. Desert-specific trees and tall plants do exceptionally well in desert soil, hot temperatures, and extended dry conditions. Here are some examples of native desert trees and tall plants that are ideal for your yard or commercial landscape.
- Palo Verde: Different types of native Palo Verde exist in Arizona, including the state tree, the blue Palo Verde. These trees have a nice color and grow quite large, so they work best with big yards.
- Desert Willow: Desert willows have a pleasant appearance and are smaller than Palo Verde, so they work well with less space.
- Native Mesquite: Native, or Arizona, mesquite grow into an interesting shape and produce beautiful flowers. They also produce edible seed pods that you can harvest or leave for wildlife.
- Ocotillo: Ocotillo is a hardy, tall, and thorny plant that is often used as a living fence. Ocotillo produces green leaves and red flowers that attract hummingbirds.
Native plants and trees are best adapted to the Phoenix-area climate. However, some non-native plants have exceptional drought resistance. Here are a few examples of those types of plants.
- Mulga and other acacias: Mulga is extremely drought tolerant and mostly needs watering until it gets established. Then, it does well with occasional watering. Acacias, overall, do very well in desert climates.
- Chinese Pistache: This drought-resistant tree has thick foliage that changes color in the fall before the leaves drop in the winter. It provides excellent shade during the summer and lets light through in the cooler winter temperatures.
- Chaste Tree: The chaste tree, or vitex, is a short, drought-resistant Chinese tree that sprouts beautiful blue-purple flowers. This tree, once established, only needs to be watered sparsely in the summer, and probably won’t need any supplemental water in the winter.
Trees and tall plants offer several benefits to your desert landscape, plus they complement your artificial turf. If you are in need of full landscape services and planning, including turf, shrubs, trees, or other plants, contact Sunburst Landscaping. We can set you up with a nice-looking yard or inviting commercial landscape. Call us or use our online form to make an appointment.