Here are some trees, recommended for planting in Mojave. Trees are ranked in order of their ability to grow fast, conserve water, and provide maximum shade. Cost-effective and environmentally-safe way to reduce energy bills and prevent erosion and desertification. Water usage and growth rates are on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the lowest, and 10 being the highest. Recommend planting multiple varieties for greater protection against disease and invasive species.
1. Poplar (Cottonwood): Water usage 5; Growth rate 7; Max height 60ft. Native to Mojave Desert near streams, rivers and wetlands in the American Southwest. Smooth bark in younger trees, becoming deeply furrowed with whitish cracked bark with age. Heart-shaped leaves with white veins and coarse crenate-serrate teeth on the margins. Dioecious, with flowers in drooping catkins, blooming March-April. The fruit is an achene, which is attached to a silky hair. Seeds are wind dispersed.
2. Elm (Chinese): Water usage 3; Growth rate 9; Max height 45ft. Top-performing shade tree in Western US for over a century. Tolerant to poor soil, poor weather, and can still provide the large, wide shade that it’s known for. Also called “Evergreen Elm”. In very mild winters, Chinese Elms can retain their leaves through the season, however most years they are briefly deciduous. The Chinese Elm is a strong, tolerant shade tree that can stand as the centerpiece in just about any landscape.
3. Ash (Arizona): Water usage 4; Growth rate 6; Max height 45ft. Shade in the summer, leaves drop in winter. Seedless, only requires cleaning n the fall. The Arizona Ash boasts an attractive, rounded canopy that is taller than it is wide and is suitable for many landscape styles. They are very tolerant, heat resistant trees ideal for surviving the warmer summer months. Arizona Ashes boast a beautiful and lush look even in adverse conditions.
4. Eldarica (Afghan): Water usage 2; Growth rate 6; Max height 50ft. Originally native to Afghanistan, long history of thriving in areas with little or no supplemental water. Eldarica Pines fit into most landscape designs as a large shade tree or planted in groupings for a wind-break or as a large privacy screen. Natural Christmas tree shape that remains as the tree grows to maturity; sturdy structural branches; broad, lush appearing canopy. Used as a living Christmas tree, then planted after the holidays.
5. Pepper (California): Water usage 3; Growth rate 8; Max height 45ft. Extremely fast-growing, sun-loving tree, flourishes in warm climates of the West. Native to areas with dry soil and warm temp.; well suited to arid conditions. Upright, spreading canopy provides shade over increasingly broad area as the higher branches spread out. Low maintenance; keep their leaves throughout the year, need minimal pruning. Develops a gnarled powerful trunk supporting a medium sized graceful canopy of soft foliage.
6. Acacia (Willow): Water usage 3; Growth rate 6; Max height 40ft. Imported from Australia, perfectly suited for growing in the mild, dry regions of the West. Upright branch structure and rapid growth rate make them a great choice for quick water-wise and desert landscape styles. Unique weeping appearance; one of the most drought tolerant of all Acacias. Fast growing, hardy evergreen.
7. Sycamore: Water usage 5; Growth rate 5; Max height 40ft. Arizona, California, or Mexican Sycamore. Large, majestic tree with a spreading canopy, large deciduous leaves, and gorgeous white bark that peels back to reveal darker patches. The Arizona Sycamore has become a popular tree for many landscapers in Southern California because of their impressive size, canopies of shade, and subtle beauty. Could lead to allergies.
8. Pistache (Chinese): Water usage 4; Growth rate 8; Max height 40ft. “Red Push” Pistache; becoming increasingly popular with landscapers because of their wide variety of positive qualities. The majority of the year this tree produces a clean, dark green umbrella shaped top. Good to have close to home during summer for cooling. Leaves turn a distinctive orange-red color during the fall months. The trees max height can be up to 40-50 feet tall, making it a hardy shade tree year round.
9. Ash (Shamel): Water usage 5; Growth rate 7; Max height 45ft. “Evergreen Ash”; large, fast-growing shade tree. Classic, larger-leaved, green foliage compliments most landscapes. Generally grown in parks, commercial areas, and large landscapes; simple to grow and always results in a perfect, park style shape with minimal pruning and maintenance. Extremely tolerant and recovers quickly in the rare instances they take on damage. High-performance, massive shade provider, long lifespan.
10. Ash (Modesto): Water usage 5; Growth rate 6; Max height 45ft. Fast growing, deciduous tree; makes an excellent shade tree for medium to large sized backyards. The Modesto Ash turns a bright golden yellow in the fall and drops their leaves once per year during the winter months. Its large compound, willow-like leaves create a symmetrical, round top, creating the perfect amount of shade during the summer months. Our Modesto Ashes are a great choice for any landscape.
11. Ash (Raywood): Water usage 6; Growth rate 5; Max height 35ft. Popular landscaping choice in the Western U.S.; reliable shade provider; uniquely dark green compared to most tree varieties. Rich red leaves in late fall; fall off quickly after the fall, allowing for an easy, one-time cleanup. Light passes through during the winter, with foliage returning in the Spring. The unique and easy to care for Raywood Ash is used across many landscape designs.
12. Mesquite (Chilean Hybrid): Water usage 1; Growth rate 6; Max height 30ft. Hybrid classic desert tree with wide canopy of soft, bright green, fern like foliage covering dark, twisting branches. Recognizable throughout the southwest; dense umbrella of shade. Single or multiple trunks; can fill many landscape needs with the versatility of being able to grow in open desert, transitional areas and even in lawns. No two Chilean Mesquites look alike, each one with a few twists and turns that make it unique from all others.
13. Umbrella (Texas): Water usage 3; Growth rate 6; Max height 30ft. Adult has a rounded crown, and commonly measures 20–40 ft tall; leaves are up to 20 in. Leaves are dark green above and lighter green below, with serrate margins. The flowers are small and fragrant, with five pale purple or lilac petals, growing in clusters. The fruit is a drupe, marble-sized, light yellow at maturity, hanging on the tree all winter, and gradually becoming wrinkled and almost white.
14. Palo Verde (Desert Museum): Water usage 1; Growth rate 8; Max height 25ft. Hybrid of older Palo Verde species that bring qualities of each. Fuller, vibrant yellow flowers with brighter green, thornless trunks – one of the most popular shade trees in landscapes throughout the Western U.S. The multi-trunked, sculptural shapes of these trees provide a stark contrast and beautiful accent to almost any landscape. Faster growing, higher blooming, cleaner cousins to the original Palo Verde; vibrant colors without the thorns and heavy litter.
15. Mulberry (Fruitless): Water usage 7; Growth rate 10; Max height 40ft. Rounded deciduous tree growing to 35′ to 40′ tall and wide. Fall foliage is yellow, though the leaves usually freeze before turning. Zone 5-9. Native to China. Roots can be highly invasive if not deep-watered regularly, will frequently push up driveways and into foundations looking for water.
16. Willow (Desert): Water usage 1; Growth rate 3; Max height 20ft. Resembles Willows, popular ornamental tree related to the Catalpa tree. Exotic blooms, rapid growth, drought tolerance, and ease of maintenance have made it a sought-after plant in the Western U.S. Drought-tolerant, hardy, performs well in many landscape styles, requires minimal maintenance. Adapted to desert washes, it does best with just enough water to keep it blooming and healthily green through the warm months.
17. Acacia (Shoestring): Water usage 3; Growth rate 5; Max height 35ft. Fast growing desert tree, evergreen filtered shade canopy, low-maintenance, for a small front, back, or side yard. Native to Australia, durable, establishes quickly in desert environments. Adaptable, great transition tree between low water and high water landscapes.
18. Crape Myrtle: Water usage 2; Growth rate 4; Max height 30ft. “Southern Lilacs”; stunning, vibrant colors, with blooms that can last from late spring, through the entire summer. Variety of colors available. Newer, mildew resistant indica varieties available, more reliable growers and better bloomers. Considered to be one of the most beautiful trees in the West, constantly bloom throughout summer, change to bright, showy orange in the fall. Drought tolerant.