As of early August, the U.S. Drought Monitor found that more than 60 percent of the state of Arizona is experiencing moderate to severe drought, with another 20 percent of the state considered abnormally dry. These drought conditions, along with restrictions on water use, make drought-tolerant trees increasingly desirable.
Drought-tolerant trees provide the greatest benefits. They support wildlife, store carbon dioxide, trap airborne pollutants, conserve water, preserve soil, provide cooling shade, reduce energy consumption, and are aesthetically pleasing. Because of benefits, such as these, the city of Phoenix is looking into planting more trees.
The term “drought-tolerant” indicates that once a tree, shrub or plant is fully established, it can survive with minimal or no supplemental irrigation. These trees are usually considered good candidates for xeriscaping. Xeriscaping refers to landscaping that reduces or eliminates the need for supplemental water from irrigation.
Drought-Tolerant Tree Options
There are a surprising number of drought-tolerant trees and shrubs. Some of the best choices are also quite beautiful. Here are just some of the species available.
- Acacia Trees (different varieties)
- Argentine Mesquite
- Arizona Mesquite
- Blue Palo Verde
- Cascalote Tree
- Chaste Tree
- Chilean Mesquite
- Desert Museum
- Desert Willow Tree
- Mexican Bird of Paradise
- Oleander Tree
- Palm Trees (different varieties)
- Sophora Tree
- Texas Ebony Tree
- Texas Mountain Laurel
Remember to wait until fall to plant new trees!
Caring for Drought-Tolerant Trees
Proper tree care starts as soon as you select your drought-tolerant tree. What you do to your tree in its first few years of life will affect its shape, strength, and even its lifespan. To limit shock, trees should be planted in the fall and spring. Once planted, add 2 to 4-inches of mulch to its base, as this is valuable for your trees’ health. Minimal water is needed to care for these types of trees.