Shade Tree Types: Thornlesss Palo Verde

Sun, October 26, 2014 8:41 AM | Anonymous

This week we are focusing on one of the two Palo Verde varieties offered through the Shade Tree Program--the Thornless Palo Verde.

The Thornless Palo Verde (TPV) is a hybrid with similar characteristic founds in Palo Brea, Blue, and Mexican Palo Verdes.  The semi-evergreen TPV grows a large canopy that provides ample shade, a lush green trunk, and elaborate branching patterns that remain smooth as they mature.  Pictured left is a local TPV near our downtown Phoenix office--notice the large amount of shade the tree provides against the front of the house. 

The TPV grows slightly smaller than other varieties but still reaches up to 25 ft tall.  During spring and summer months, TPVs bloom into small yellow flowers. In addition to providing beautiful blooms, the flowers attract beneficial pollinators such as bees and hummingbirds like those in the picture on the right, also taken from a home in the local area. 

Care and Maintenance:

The TPV sapling you will receive comes in a 5-gallon base and tends to be 3-6 feet tall (pictured left).  Please note that young TPVs may have thorns that fall off as the tree grows. Plant your sapling in a spot that will receive full sun. During the first year, make sure to water the tree deeply, at least to 3 feet, and away from the trunk to encourage the growth of roots that have to search for water. During the spring and fall/winter, water it once every 14 days but during the summer increase the watering to once every week.  Refer to our blog on How to Properly Water Your Tree for more information on watering techniques. 

After the first year, perform periodic trimming as needed but do not remove more than 30% of the tree’s canopy during the summer as this can cause “sunburn” injuries on the tree which can later be infested with wood boring insects.  Any insect infestation can inhibit the fast seasonal growth of young trees so inspect your tree and if you see any insects such as aphids, thrip, whiteflies, or psyllids, apply a non-harsh control measure such as those listed in our blog on aphids and organic insect control here.

Thornless Palo Verdes are great trees for those who love the yellow blooms of Palo Verdes but could do without the thorns or have kids that climb trees. The tree does shed its yellow blooms so the litter should be a factor when considering this tree. The litter, however, is less with the hybrid since there are fewer blooms. Once fully-grown, the TPV provides substantial shade especially for houses that have low-placed windows or open areas. If you have a TPV or are thinking of getting one and have questions, please post them on our Ask the Arborist forum here and our volunteer Arborist, Erik, will answer them. 



Erik the Arborist, on our forum:

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