Five low-water trees to provide shade for your Arizona home

Aug 27, 2015, 2:00 PM


Among many other benefits, planting trees around your home really can save energy, according to the National Forest Service.

The NFS said shade from two 25-foot tall trees on the west side of the house plus one 25-footer on the east side could save you almost 25 percent of your air conditioning cost if you live in the Southwest. Of course, mature trees in a yard can also add to your home’s curb appeal.

Here are some tree possibilities from the Arizona Municipal Water Users Web site which lists low-water use trees well-adapted to Arizona’s soil and climate.

Chilean or velvet mesquite

Chilean Mesquite (Arizona State University Photo)

Chilean Mesquite (Arizona State University Photo)

Both these mesquites are relatively fast-growing, but the Chilean grows to about 30 feet tall, while the velvet, a native of Arizona, only reaches 25. The velvet also has a stronger root system.

Palo verdes

Palo Verde (University of Arizona Photo)

Palo Verde (University of Arizona Photo)

The palo verde is the state tree of Arizona and there are two species that are native to the state: the foothill and the blue palo verde. They’re known for their characteristic green bark which contains chlorophyll and gives it the ability to carry on photosynthesis. They’re fast growers; both reach about 30 feet in height. The blues can get to 40 feet. Both have glorious yellow blooms in the spring.

Palo brea

Palo Brea (Arizona State University Photo)

Palo Brea (Arizona State University Photo)

A hybrid version of the palo verde, this tree has become popular because it’s easier to prune into a canopy than you can do with most mesquites and palo verdes. It’s also less prone to damage and breakage in wind storms.

Afghan or Aleppo pine

Afghan Pine (Arizona State University Photo)

Afghan Pine (Arizona State University Photo)

If you have more space to fill in your yard, you might want to plant a pine tree that’s native to Afghanistan or Syria and can reach 50 feet or more in height. Our long growing season means that trees like this can grow rapidly.

Desert willow

Desert Willow (University of Arizona Photo)

Desert Willow (University of Arizona Photo)

If you’re looking for a tree that can add color to your yard, consider the desert willow that will grow to 25 feet in height. These trees can bear white, pink or purple trumpet-shaped flowers from spring through fall.

For tree-planting instructions and more low-water tree and plant ideas, visit Arizona Nursery Association’s website,

If you’d rather have a professional help with planting and you are in need of a landscaping company you can trust, visit our list of Arizona’s very best contractors or service providers for your home improvement projects at, Arizona’s most trusted referral network.

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Five low-water trees to provide shade for your Arizona home