Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Palo Verde

I'd be neglect in my duties as a Tucsonan to mention the all powerful Palo Verde tree which literally means "Green Stick" in Spanish.  Essentially the bark is green as are the branches and tiny little leaves.  I have to admit that I am leary of this tree.  When this tree blooms, my allergies act up.  This slow growing tree is quite beautiful in the landscape and attracts a lot of attention in Spring when it becomes a mass of yellow flowers.  This is a Palo Verde in front of the El Presidio Gardens.  We have one growing on the property and it's very low maintenance.  In fact, I haven't watered it since I put it into the ground 3 years ago.  This is a native for the Sonoran desert and a popular plant around town.  Stick it in the ground and watch it grow. It can get to be around 25 to 30 feet tall and just as wide. Watch yourself around this plant as it has tiny thorns that will catch on your clothes.  There is a hybrid that does not have thorns. Some people trim it up as a tree while others leave it in its' bushy form. Now I wrote that this tree was slow growing, but my neighbors have a row of them which have taken off and tripled in size since they were planted.  They are really really attractive and GREEN!!  Of course, they are located in the extremely hot western exposure here.  Sun is everything for this native. Like the mesquite, there are several popular varieties here in town.  If you want xeric and native only plants, this is the one to plant.  There's the Blue Palo Verde Tree and the Foothills Palo Verde Tree.
If you are interested in planting this native, check out this site below that has specifics on the Palo Verde.  While I enjoy seeing this tree in the desert, I don't really think it's courtyard friendly at our place.
People on the outskirts of town should plant this tree if they have a lot of land and want something low maintenance.  It's a great tree and wonderful for our native wildlife. It's also another TEP tree for Tucson.  Click on the previous post about mesquites to find out more.  More trees to come for your springtime planning.  Until next time......

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