Branching Out Tree Service is not just a tree trimming and tree removal company. We also specialize in tree planting. We take pride in planting trees grown in local nurseries that are accustomed to our climate, as well as the PH levels and micro-nutrients in the Tucson soil. However, just because a tree is well adapted to survive in Tucson, doesn’t mean it will be a good choice for every yard. Our knowledgeable arborist takes the time to select the ideal tree species for your needs and desired location. Homeowners often ask us about the best trees to plant in Tucson, so we have created this list of our top 10 favorites.
Velvet Mesquite (Prosopis velutina)
A fast-growing, medium sized tree that grows up to 40 feet tall by 40 feet wide. This tree is great for shade but needs a lot of room to expand horizontally. The branch structure can be very unique and beautiful. Velvet Mesquites are winter deciduous. They produce fragrant yellow flowers in spring and summer. Short dense hairs cover the fern-like leaves and beans giving it the appearance of velvet. This tree does have thorns. The bean pods or fruit are messy, so Velvet Mesquites are not a good choice around pools.
Thornless Chilean Mesquite (Prosopis chilensis)
Provides excellent shade and privacy. Grows rapidly, requires little to no water, and thrives in the hot climate. This hybrid species is thornless unlike other mesquites. Bright green fern-like leaves contrast nicely with the dark bark and twisting branches. Can get up to 30 feet wide and 30 feet tall. It does not work well around pools because it drops bean pods.
Desert Museum Palo Verde (Cercidium ’Desert Museum’)
This hybrid is a combination of the Foothills, Blue, and Mexican Palo Verde tree. It is thornless and provides good shade. The stunning green trunks and branches stay smooth as they mature. They have vibrant yellow flowers that bloom in the spring and summer months. Desert Museum Palo Verde is a fast-growing tree that is semi-deciduous or drought deciduous. Grows to be 30 feet tall by 40 feet wide.
Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis)
A smaller tree with gorgeous pink flowers. They bloom from spring to fall and are great for attracting hummingbirds. Despite having flowers, they are low pollen and okay for those with allergies. Smooth gray branches and bright green willow like leaves make this tree very aesthetically appealing. We consider them to be one of the best trees to plant in Tucson because they are also low maintenance and extremely drought tolerant. Desert Willows are deciduous.
Red Push Pistache (Pistacia x ‘red push’)
A medium sized tree that is very tolerant of heat and cold. This hybrid species does not produce nuts. It is best grown in full sun and works well as street tree. These trees are great for shade, but they are deciduous. The leaves turn to a beautiful orange and red in the fall. Reaches 25 to 40 feet tall and develops a crown that is 25 to 35 ft wide. Red Push Pistache trees are easy to care for and require little to moderate water.
Mastic (Pistacia lentiscus)
The Mastic tree is also known commonly as the Evergreen Pistache. It can be grown as a large shrub or a small tree. They are very slow growing, but they maintain thick dense foliage year-round. Mastics are ideal for planting around patios and pool areas. As shrubs they work really well as a privacy or noise barrier. The leaves are glossy and rich green. Drought and heat tolerant.
Majestic Beauty Fruitless Olive (Olea europaea ‘Monher’)
A slow to medium growing tree that is typically very long-lived. This hybrid does not produce fruit, but it does bloom with fragrant yellowish-white flowers in the spring. They are evergreen trees that thrive in hot, dry climates like Tucson. The silver-green leaves are slender and long, giving it an airy appearance. Fruitless Olives are good shade producing trees because of their large canopy. They can develop a very interesting structure with multiple thick trunks that are curved and twisted. The roots of the fruitless olive are considered non-invasive.
Southern Live Oak (Quercus virginiana)
While it grows faster than other types of oak tree, the Southern Live Oak is still a large, slow growing tree. This species has been considered one of the best trees to plant in Tucson for decades and is common around the downtown area. These oaks are low maintenance and easily adapt to a variety of soil conditions. Makes a superior shade tree because of its wide canopy and dense, dark-green foliage. It can grow to heights of 60 feet tall and spread out to 60 feet wide. The main concern when planting a Southern Live oak is whether or not it has enough room to expand and grow.
Little Leaf Ash (Fraxinus greggii)
This is another good tree for planting around patios and pool areas. It can be used as a large shrub or small tree. The Little Leaf Ash has smooth brownish-gray bark and smooth thick leaves. It works well in large planters or containers as they only grow to be about 15 feet wide and 10 – 15 feet tall. The growth rate is slow to moderate, depending on the available water. They are evergreen and produce small flowers and seed pods.
Xylosma (Xylosma congestum)
The Xylosma is really a large evergreen shrub but it can also be trained to look like a small tree. They grow to be around 8 feet tall with elegant arching branches. New foliage is a reddish color that later matures to a glossy green. A heat-tolerant species that requires little to moderate watering and partial sun. If provided with regular irrigation it will become thick and lush. An excellent choice for a privacy barrier or hedge.