Shade Tree Types: Blue Palo Verde

Mon, November 03, 2014 4:45 PM | Anonymous

This week we feature the second Palo Verde given away through the Shade Tree Program--the Blue Palo Verde.

The Blue Palo Verde (BPV) is Arizona’s state tree and one of the most colorful desert trees when in full bloom. The Arizona native tree grows quickly, reaching as high and wide (its canopy) as 30-35 feet. A local BPV near our downtown Phoenix office (pictured left) shows the ample shade it provides for driveways. Anyone who has had their car paint fade from the strong Arizona sun or been unable to touch the hot steering wheel can appreciate this.  

The bark of a BPV is a striking bluish green and the beautiful yellow blooms (pictured  right) announce the arrival of spring in Arizona and attract beneficial pollinators such as bees and hummingbirds. The tree is highly adapted to desert conditions, withstanding extreme desert heat and cold hardy to 10 to 15 degrees. 

Care and Maintenance: 

The BPV sapling you will receive comes in a 5-gallon base and tends to be 3-6 feet tall (pictured left). Plant your sapling in an area that receives full sun and during the first year, make sure to water the tree deeply, at least to 3 feet. Water 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 of growth, prune the tree to reinforce the shape you want since BPVs can initially grow as large scrubs. As with the Thornless Palo Verde, 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.

BPVs are truly beautiful trees but an important reminder is that these trees can shed quite a bit. If placed in front of a house, the blooms blanket a barren ground with golden blooms and look quite stunning. But if a BPV is placed near a pool, the shedding can become quite the headache. Also, these tree do have THORNS so if kids climbing trees is an issue, you might want to consider the Thornless Palo Verde.

If you have a BPV 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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