Las Vegas Landscaping – Browse Tree Types
Good for privacy, dense, rounded to spreading habit with slightly weeping appearance. Leathery, medium to bright green leaves divided into 3 narrow, willow-like leaflets. Attractive rough, reddish-brown bark. Usually multi-trunked. Prune for shape and to lift canopy. Litter from leaf, flower and seed drop. A bit cold sensitive here, but established plants generally recoery.
The bay laurel can be trained to grow into a large shade tree if pruned properly. Aromatic leaves may be used in cooking. Susceptible to burning in full sun and needs protection from drying winds.
BLUE PALO VERDE
Upright growing tree has blue-green bark, limbs and like all palo verdes can conduct photosynthesis even when all the leaves have dropped off. Bright yellow flowers cover the tree in spring. Small thorns are not very aggressive.
Evergreen tree with glossy green leaves. Leaf shape varies widely on the same tree. Attractive bell-shaped flowers with a cream colored exterior and cinnamon-dotted interior. Distinctive woody seed pods. Has a heavy trunk at base, tapering to the top. Do not remove shoots on newly planted trees as they shade the trunk, preventing sun-scald, and promote root development. Needs little pruning to keep it’s shape. High litter; susceptible to Texas root rot. Keep somewhat moist until established. Water use low when established. Somewhat cold sensitive in our area.
Upright pyramidal shape in youth, becomes oval to rounded with age. Flowers in early spring before leafing out. Glossy, heart-shaped, bright to medium green leaves with finely-serrated, wavy edges. Good autumn color. Fruit is inconspicuous. Can be somewhat messy when dropping. Prefers moist, well-drained soils, but can take poor soils. This tree is very susceptible to breaking and splitting in high winds. Careful pruning in youth can help reduce this problem. Generally considered a short-lived tree (15 to 20 years). Sterile cultivar.
CALIFORNIA PEPPER TREE
Upright, narrow to rounded, irregular, weeping habit. Interesting pealing bark. 6 to 12 inches long leaves divided into many leaflets. Linear leaflets are often curved, with pointed tips and smooth to widely-toothed margins. Clusters of tiny flowers. Long, hanging clusters of berries that ripen to a rosy red. Red skin can be pealed away to show hard brown-black ‘peppercorns’. Foliage and fruit have a peppery odor when crushed. Fruit produced on female trees only. Heavy litter from foliage, branchlet, and fruit drop. Prune for proper form when young and as needed when mature. Branches may be susceptible to wind breakage. Tends to invasive surface roots. Invasive roots can crack and heave pipes, walls, pavement, and building foundations. Susceptible to heart rot, root knot nematodes, scale, and Texas root rot.
‘Compacta’ is primarily the same as P. caroliniana, but has smaller leaves and mature size than its parent.
Elongated spikes of long lived purple flowers. These colorful flowers attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. This large shrub or small tree has attractive dark green aromatic leaves which drop from the plant during the dormant season. General flower color is purple, but cultivars ‘Alba’ with white flowers and ‘Rosea’ with pink flowers are available. Vitex is fairly messy so keep away from pools or areas intended to be kept well manicured. Handles both heat and cold very well.
Broad, rounded habit. Occasionally semi-pendulous. Branches have thorns of up to 2 inches long. Trunk and branches have a twisting, architectural appearance. Finely-cut medium to deep green leaflets. Yellow catkin flowers. 3 to 5 inch long, flattened, straight to curving seed pods. Flowers attract bees. Seeds are a food source for birds. Moderate litter. Can be cleaned up or left to feed wildlife and enrich the soil. Extra water speeds up growth. Can blow over in strong winds if it has a poor root structure. Poor root structure usually caused by shallow watering, watering only at the tree’s base, or girdling roots. Prune in early spring or late fall for shape and to thin canopy if it becomes too dense. Somewhat invasive roots that can crack and heave pipes, walls, pavement and foundations. Member of the Legume family.
Rounded crown at maturity. Gawky looking when young. Leaves are medium to dark green with finely-divided leaflets. Turns a brilliant red-orange or, occasionally, yellow in autumn. Small flowers arrive in spring before the tree leafs out. Attractive bark. Prune for shape and to lift the crown. Some litter from leaves and fruit twigs. Good summer shade tree.
Chitalpa was hybridized in 1964 in what was then part of Russia, but is now Uzbekistan. It is a cross between the Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis) and the Southern Catalpa (Catalpa bignonioides). May begin with an open, irregular shape, but matures into a dense, spreading crown. It has the larger flowers of the Catalpa and the flower color of the Desert Willow. The foliage is lusher, like the Catalpa, but long and widely lance-shaped rather than heart-shaped. More drought tolerant then the Catalpa. More cold tolerant then the Desert Willow, but also less heat tolerant. Susceptible to sun scald and windburn. Best with some afternoon shade and protected from our hot desert winds. Suckers quite a bit at the bottom of the trunk. Interesting peeling bark. Synonym: x Chitalpa tashkentensis.
There are many different varieties with various bark, flower and leaf colors. Some have exfoliating bark and some have fall color accents. Variety ‘Muskogee’ has light lavender/Pink flowers that is tree like with red-orange fall color an exfoliating bark. Variety ‘Natchez’ flowers white and is also tree like in growth with cinnamon-brown exfoliating bark and red-orange fall color. Variety ‘Tuscarora’ is similar to ‘Muskogee’ but with dark coral pink blooms. Does best either planted in or by a lawn where it can receive extra water. May be susceptible to aphids, scale, white flies, sooty mod, powdery mildew and sun burn if planted in full sun.
DESERT MUSEUM PALO VERDE
This hybrid tree has three parents, Parkinsonia microphyllum, Parkinsonia floridum, and Parkinsonia aculeata. Unlike most other palo verde trees this tree is thornless and has a longer blooming period with somewhat larger flowers. Tree offers nice filtered shade, allowing most plants to grow successfully underneath it..
FAN TEX ASH
This cultivar of the Arizona Ash (F. velutina) has an attractive rounded to broad shape in maturity. Originally cultivated in San Antonio for its smooth, glossy leaflets and increased tolerance to alkalinity. Faster growing then its parent plant, but not as rapid as the cultivar ‘Modesto’. Generally does not set seeds. Has a pleasing golden yellow autumn color. May form surface roots in lawn setting due to shallow watering. In such settings, provide deep watering regularly while establishing (first year) and then semi-monthly to help reduce this tendency. Water at the edge of the canopy on a slow trickle for several hours. Prune for shape and to provide good branching structure. Synonym: Fraxinus velutina ‘Rio Grande’.
FRUITLESS PURPLE LEAF PLUM[/fusion_title] Upright, rounded to broad habit. Oval, red to purple foliage with strong veining and serrated edges. Pink to pinkish-white flowers appear before leaves. Red cherry-like fruit. Fruit attracts birds. Fruit is edible. Prune for shape in late fall or winter. Produces moderate amount of litter. Tends to be short-lived. Trunk scorches in our hot sun if not protected. Plant were the truck will not be exposed to direct summer sun. Raise the canopy slowly so it will continue to shade the trunk.
HERITAGE LIVE OAK[/fusion_title] This cultivar is much like its parent, the Southern Live Oak (Quercus virginiana), but is better adapted to the desert and somewhat faster growing.
ITALIAN CYPRESS[/fusion_title] These tall, columnar trees are the classic Mediterranean cypress. Medium to dark green or gray-green scale-like foliage. Neither flowers nor cones are ornamental. Often used as an accent or to create a windbreak or privacy screen. May be out of scale with a typical residential landscape when fully mature. Prefers loamy soil with good drainage, but is adaptable. Susceptible to spider mites, which can cause the foliage to brown or even kill the tree. Need spraying. When the foliage flops, it is being overwatered. They are often sheared to maintain a clean shape.
JAPANESE BLUEBERRY[/fusion_title] A dense canopied tree with lance-shape bright to medium green leaves. Older leaves turn red before falling off. Small, fragrant white flowers are followed by blue-black olive-like fruit. Prefers afternoon shade and regular water in our area. Tends to become chlorotic in high-pH soils, which is the situation here in Las Vegas. Likes rich soil so additions of compost and a heavy surface mulch, plus soil sulfur, will keep this plant happier in our highly alkaline soils.
JAPANESE PRIVET[/fusion_title] Excellent plant for hedges or screens, takes pruning well. May sunburn in hot areas, make sure plant has good drainage.
LEMON AND LIME TREES[/fusion_title] Most citrus varieties are not cold hardy and need protection in our cold winters. It generally survives the worst of our summer sun and needs to be wraped to stay warmer than average in winter. The hardiest citrus available, and the only one that has been specifically suggested for our area, is the ‘Improved Meyer’ Lemon. It can be quite prolific if given adequate water, the flowers are fragrant, and it produces thin-skinned, juicy lemons. It is generally more like a large shrub than a tree. . Deep water this plant and provide protection from the afternoon sun. Protect from frost. Can be grown in containers with a large volume of soil and regular watering. Not a true lemon, Citrus meyeri is thought to be a hybrid of a lemon and a sweet orange. ‘Improved Meyer’ is the virus-free variety that replaced the original. The yellow-orange flesh is slightly sweeter than a true lemon, yet still moderately acidic. Other areas may produce two crops a year but in the desert there is only one crop.
MODESTO ASH[/fusion_title] This ash is a cultivated variety much like the Arizona Ash (F. velutina) in characteristic and care. Tends to stay somewhat smaller overall with a bit narrower canopy. Known to be more rapidly growing, but consequently has slightly higher water needs. Generally does not set seeds. Has a pleasing golden yellow autumn color. May form surface roots in lawn setting due to shallow watering. In such settings, provide deep watering regularly while establishing (first year) and then semi-monthly to help reduce this tendency. Water at the edge of the canopy on a slow trickle for several hours. Prune for shape and to provide good branching structure.
RAYWOOD ASH[/fusion_title] The Raywood Ash has an upright, narrow to oval habit that becomes somewhat more spreading in maturity. The compound leaves have narrow, deep green, lance-shaped leaflets with serrated margins. Its foliage is a darker green than the other ashes commonly planted in our area. Frequently planted for its attractive wine red autumn color. Inconspicuous flowers and does not set seeds. May form surface roots in lawn setting due to shallow watering. In such settings, provide deep watering regularly while establishing (first year) and then semi-monthly to help reduce this tendency. Prune for shape and to encourage good branching structure. Susceptible to sun scald in afternoon or reflected sun locations–leave lower foliage in place as long as possible to shade the trunk. Synonym: Fraxinus angustifolia ‘Raywood’.
SHOESTRING ACACIA[/fusion_title] Moderate to fast-growing semi-weeping tree. A very durable desert tree with no serious insect or disease pests. Long, thin, slightly twisting, green to grey-green leaves. Small, cream to pale yellow, puff-ball flowers. Some litter from flowers and seed pods.
SILK TREE / MIMOSA[/fusion_title] Soft, fern-like, green to blue-green leaves and fluffy, white to bright pink flowers. Does best with high summer heat, but needs acidic soils and adequate water to prosper. Must be staked and trained to become a good patio tree. Not good near pools because of the litter produced from leaves and flowers. No fall color.
SILVER DOLLAR TREE[/fusion_title] A fast growing tree with an upright, rounded to irregularly-shaped habit. The aromatic, 2 to 3 inch, gray-green to blue-green leaves have a rounded to oval shape when young, becoming more ovate to broadly lance-shaped in maturity. The young leaves are often used in dried and fresh flower arrangements. Small cream-colored flowers and woody seed capsules are unremarkable. The pale smooth juvenile bark eventually gives way to rough, slightly shaggy-looking mature bark. The species is noted for its drought tolerance. More cold hardy then some other Eucalyptus trees. Responds well to pruning. May become chlorotic in our heavy soils or if chronically overwatered.
SOUTHERN LIVE OAK[/fusion_title] Open, rounded to spreading habit in maturity with large arching branches. Leathery, oblong leaves are medium to dark green with pale, fuzzy undersides. Leaf margins generally smooth, but leaves with toothed margins appear occasionally. Generally evergreen in our area. Catkin flowers are insignificant. Acorns are a food source for wildlife
SWEET ACACIA[/fusion_title] Small green, fern-like leaves. Yellow fragrant ball flowers. Flowers sporadically most of the year with primary bloom in late winter/early spring.
TEXAS MOUNTAIN LAUREL[/fusion_title] Southwestern native. Upright, narrow to rounded, dense habit. Glossy, bright to dark green leaves divided into leathery, oval, 1 to 2 inch long leaflets with smooth margins. Clusters of fragrant, wisteria-like, purple to violet-blue flowers. Attracts bees. Distinctive woody, tan to silvery-gray seedpods hold bright orange-red seeds. Seeds are poisonous, but covered in a hard coating. If ingested, often passes through without effect so long as the coating is intact. Usually a large shrub but can be trained up into a small tree. Minimal pruning unless training into tree form.
WESTERN REDBUD[/fusion_title] Native to slopes and canyons in southwestern U.S., predominantly the southern California foothills. A good understory tree, preferring filtered light or afternoon shade. Does like more sun then its eastern counterpart (C. canadensis). A good choice for small yards or as a specimen tree. Generally multi-trunked with a rounded to wide habit. Masses of tiny magenta flowers cover the tree in spring, before leaf break. Needs several hours of freezing in order to bloom. Soft, heart-shaped green to blue-green leaves. Ornamental, yellow to red autumn foliage. Small, decorative red-brown seedpods often persist through winter. Prune lightly for shape during the dormant period. Blooming occurs only on wood that is at least two years old. Don’t remove lower branches too quickly as they shade the trunk and help it become sturdier. Head back lower branches you wish to remove over several years and remove when higher branches are able to take over shading the trunk.
WILSON OLIVE[/fusion_title/] Olive trees have been valued since the time of the Roman Empire with their attractive and interesting trunk formations. The olives can be processed as green olives (unripe) or black olives (ripe). Ripe olives can be pressed to extract oil, unprocessed olives are not edible. Uncollected olives may stain pavement, and can create a mess. Olive trees can be sprayed to prevent blooming and then fruiting. Many people are allergic to olive pollen (or contact with the leaves) and non-sterile variety are forbidden to sell in several locations of the western USA including the Las Vegas valley. There are hybrid varieties available that produce little or no pollen which may be planted without violating local codes.
XYLOSMA[/fusion_title/] Broadleaf evergreen. Shrub or can be trained into a small tree. Often used for hedges. Leaves start out glossy with bright green to bronze color and red margins. Mature to a slightly glossy medium green to yellow-green with pale veining.
LITTLE GEM MAGNOLIA[/fusion_title/] Soils should be deeply amended, neither sand or loam. Does well in desert heat if kept out of the wind, expect breakage and yearly pruning. Surface roots tend to lift sidewalks, its dense year-round canopy prevents healthy lawn growth. Leaves and other litter constantly fall from May to September. Heavy water user.