Tree Favorites for the Valley

A Texas Mountain Laurel in bloom, a Pistache tree, and a Chinese Evergreen Elm tree.Great Tree Choices

Looking for the perfect tree for your desert garden landscape? Here are 9 of our favorite varieties that grow well in the Valley.

2 pictures of Chaste trees, the bottom one in bloom.

Chaste Tree

Also known as a Lilac Chaste Tree, the Chaste tree (Vitex agnua castus) is a great choice for use in your desert garden and landscape as a small, multi-trunk shade tree, in oasis and mesic designs, and as a summer-flowering accent tree, or as a large accent or background shrub.

  • Type: Deciduous
  • Water: Prefers regular, deep watering from April to October; little to no supplemental water during the rest of the year
  • Growth: Moderate growth rate
  • Flowers & Fruits: Terminal flower plumes up to 3 inches long that range in color from white or pink to violet blue (most commom color). Produces aromatic fruits, small brown capsules on stalks persist through winter.
  • Form: Upright, arching and spreading
  • Size: Up to 20 ft. tall and wide
A view of a Chinese Elm from underneath it.

Chinese Evergreen Elm

Also known as a Chinese/Evergreen/Lacebark Elm, the Chinese Evergreen Elm (Ulmus parvifolia) makes a great residential shade tree or accent tree in the Valley of the Sun.

  • Type: Semi-deciduous
  • Water: Average water use in spring, summer and early fall; supplemental water improves appearance
  • Growth: Moderate to fast growing
  • Flowers & Fruits: Greenish yellow flowers in late summer, followed by greenish pink single-winged samara in late fall to winter
  • Form: Ideal for urban settings, this tree has an upright, inverted base with an open canopy and umbrella top spread
  • Size: Up to 40 to 60 ft. tall and wide
Mesquite Trees in the desert landscape.

Cooper's Mesquite

The Cooper's Mesquite tree (Prosopis alba 'Cooperi') is a thornless and fast-growing, with larger leaves that makes for an excellent desert shade tree. Requires minimal care, withstands wind and cold, and is cold hardy to approximately 20° F.  

  • Type: Semi-Deciduous
  • Water: Low water use
  • Growth: Fast growth rate
  • Flowers & Fruits: Yellow flowers bloom in spring
  • Form: Umbrella shaped
  • Size: Grow up to 25 ft. tall and 40 ft. wide
Desert Willow Tree in Bloom

Desert Willow

Also known as a desert catalpa, the Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis) can be incorporated into your desert landscape numerous ways—as a background screen, summer accent tree, or as a single trunk or airy multiple trunk tree.  Attracts birds during winter and hummingbirds in summer.

  • Type: Deciduous
  • Water: Low water use, supplemental water required in summer for best performance
  • Growth: Moderate growth rate
  • Flowers & Fruits: Typically has trumpet shaped flowers with white corolla and yellow fused anthers in terminal clusters, with lightly-fragranced petals ranging in color from white to pink to deep lavender. Has long, linear, unattractive and messy fruits in summer with seed capsules.
  • Form: Upright and weeping
  • Size: 15 - 35 ft. tall and wide
Swan Hill Fruitless Olive trees at SummerWinds Nursery

Fruitless Olive 

The Fruitless Olive (Olea europaea - fruitless variety) is a great choice for providing shade in your residential desert landscape. This disease resistant and drought tolerant (once established) variety can be incorporated into desert-inspired designs or in classic lawn settings.

  • Type: Evergreen
  • Water: Low-to-moderate water use
  • Growth: Moderate growth rate
  • Flowers & Fruits: Blooms imperfect flowers with little to no pollen in spring; Non-fruiting.
  • Form: Rounded, vase-shaped
  • Size: Grow to 20 to 30 ft. tall and wide
2 pictures of a mulga tree - the top one in bloom.


The Mulga (Acacia aneura) is a great choice for a xeric or oasis landscape design. Can be incorporated as a single specimen or in groups of multiple trees. Heat-loving and cold tolerant to 15oF.

  • Type: Evergreen with woody, brittle, stiff branches
  • Water: Low water use, once established
  • Growth: Slow growth rate
  • Flowers & Fruits: Rod-shaped flowers with prominent yellow stamens. Spring fruits with small, flattened pods
  • Form: Upright to spreading
  • Size: up to 20-30 ft. tall and wide
Chinese Pistache Tree (Similar to Red Push Pistache but it has seasonal  fruit)

Red Push Pistache

The Red Push Pistache (Pistacia x 'Red Push') is a great choice for a shade tree in your landscape, and boasts fabulous fall color with yellow to scarlet red fall leaves.

  • Type: Deciduous, drought-tolerant (once established), and cold hardy
  • Water: Average water use
  • Growth: Moderate growth rate
  • Form: Broad and spreading
  • Size: 25-40 feet tall, and 20-40 feet wide
Joan Lionetti Texas Live Oak Tree - Photo Civano Growers

Joan Lionetti Texas Live Oak

The Joan Lionetti Texas Live Oak (Quercus virginiana x fusiformis 'Joan Lionetti') makes a great, fast-growing year-round shade tree, and is named after the founder of Tuscon Clean and Beautiful. 

  • Type: Evergreen
  • Water: Average/moderate water use
  • Growth: Fast growth rate
  • Flowers: Inconsipuous flowers
  • Form: Straight trunk with symmetrical canopy
  • Size: Grows to 20 - 30 ft. tall and wide
A Texas Mountain Laurel tree in bloom.

Texas Mountain Laurel

The Texas Mountain Laurel (Sophora secundiflora) makes a great addition to a mixed, low-water use garden landscape. It can be incorporated as a small patio tree, an accent, a background screen or a large, informal hedge.

  • Type: Evergreen, woody, and summer heat-loving
  • Water: Low water use, once established
  • Growth: Slow growth rate
  • Flowers & Fruits: Very fragrant, blue-violet flowers (rarely white) in late Feb. early March in the Phoenix area. Brownish, gray fruits that grow in clusters, and a a constricted pod with loose, very hard, red, poinsonous seeds that mature in early fall.
  • Form: Mulitple trunks
  • Size: 10 to 25 tall, with slightly less width

Tree Planting Tips

At SummerWinds, we have all the tools you need to plant your new tree—from soils and amendments, to fertilizers, stakes and more.

Watch our video to learn how to do it like the pros!

This video will show you the basics to planting trees, shrubs and more. We will focus on trees but the same can apply to shrubs, perennials and more. With these simple steps, you can successfully plant your next garden.

Stop by your local SummerWinds Nursery today and speak with one of our Trusted Garden Advisors to find the perfect tree for your home, garden landscape or patio.

At SummerWinds Nursery, We Guarantee Success!