Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - August 12, 2014

From: Bullhead City, AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: Drought Tolerant, Trees
Title: Shade Trees for Bullhead City, AZ
Answered by: Larry Larson

QUESTION:

We have a patio with 2 old (unused) fire pit cut-outs; about 4 ft wide each. The cut out is not lined with concrete or brick: just rimmed with the concrete on all sides. The center of the cut-outs is natural sand, I would LOVE to plant shade trees in these two squares and will make sure that the drainage is adequate. What do you recommend that is the most dense, yet no larger than about 15 ft high. We really need a relief from this bare concrete and the reflected heat/sun on the patio.

ANSWER:

  I’ll give you some recommendations, that’s easy and direct, but it sounds like a pretty hard situation to keep a tree [even an AZ adapted tree] alive in a cutout in a concrete patio.  Be ready to give the tree lots of support!

  The Wildflower Center keeps lists of recommended species for all the States and many of the contained ecoregions.  This link is to the Recommended Species for Arizona.  When I searched this list for trees, 12-36 feet high, then considered the resulting 14 trees, these seemed the best choices:

Prunus virginiana (Chokecherry)

Acer glabrum (Rocky mountain maple)

Quercus gambelii (Gambel oak)   

[Feel free to consider the whole list yourself, or to do modified searches as you see appropriate]

  Another resource I often check is the other questions & answers on Mr Smarty Plants.  There isn't much on shade trees in Arizona, but I did find these two discussions that are pretty close to you and your question:   

Tree to plant by pool replacing mulberry in Las Vegas

Fast growing shade tree for Phoenix, Arizona

 

From the Image Gallery


Chokecherry
Prunus virginiana

Gambel oak
Quercus gambelii

California redbud
Cercis orbiculata

Desert willow
Chilopsis linearis

More Trees Questions

What is the scoop on dwarf cedar elms?
April 29, 2009 - Several years ago, I purchased a small plant from a San Antonio wholesaler that was identified as a "Dwarf Cedar Elm." My brother had also purchased a few from there. No one there knows anything a...
view the full question and answer

Damaged oaks from Hurricane Ike in League City, TX
August 25, 2009 - After hurricane IKE, one of our oak trees (in front yard) was partially uprooted from the ground. We did place it back, and tie it down with supports. Further, we inserted fertilizer spikes, and give ...
view the full question and answer

Trophy tree for Spicewood, Texas
September 30, 2008 - I want to plant a trophy Mesquite at the bottom of the hill, in Spicewood. I'm told that it may not flourish, because of the soil in my area. If that is the case, what would be a striking tree as a...
view the full question and answer

Trees to hide telephone poles and wires
September 28, 2009 - I am looking for trees to plant between my house and the street to hide telephone poles and wires. My top priority is to add strong, gold color in the fall. Spring flowers would be a plus. Because ...
view the full question and answer

Living fence of native plants in Central Texas
December 14, 2008 - I would like to plant a living fence around my property in central Texas. What trees/plants will survive the Texas weather best without taking years to provide visual shield?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.