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It’s the time of year when many people are tired of the glare from their windows and are thinking about adding more shade to their yards. The beautiful combination of cactus, succulents and desert-adapted flowering shrubs are unique to our communities, but trees give height and width to a landscape. In the desert summer, trees also help to cool a home’s windows and walls and keep its air conditioner from overworking. We asked AMWUA cities’ conservation professionals about a few of their favorite water-efficient shade trees. These trees lose all or most of their leaves in the winter so they are best planted on the south and west sides of your home. That will give you maximum shade in the summer and allow light and warmth into your home and yard in the winter.

  • Chinese Pistache (Pistacia chinensis) This large tree is always showing off. Its green canopy turns bright yellow and red in December and then drops its leaves. After this tree loses its leaves small greenish flowers emerge during the winter and new leaves start over in March. It provides deep shade in the summer but needs space. It can eventually reach 30-to-35 feet high with a 25-to-35 foot canopy. There is a similar hybrid called a Red Push Pistache.
  • Arizona or Velvet Mesquite (Prosopis velutina) Give this native tree plenty of room. The mesquite spreads its trunks and main branches in unpredictable and sculptural ways. It needs space to stretch. The tree sprouts white or yellow blooms around May then produces brown pods loved by all types of wildlife. It also offers shade in the summer and sheds most of its leaves for a few months in the winter.
  • Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis) This is a tree that’s only pretty in the summer, but its very pretty. Its showy trumpet flowers bloom from spring through fall in a variety of colors including white, pink and purple. It grows to 25 feet but only about 20 feet wide so it fits nicely into a small yard. This willow also grows pods and loses its leaves in the winter. There are a number of varieties available that produce and drop fewer pods.

To see the last 2 suggestions click on the link to the AMWUA website.  Click Here Source: 5 Trees To Shade Your Desert | AMWUA

By Warren Tenney

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