En Español

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?


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
3 ratings

Wednesday - November 07, 2007

Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Fast growing shade tree for Phoenix, Arizona
Answered by: Nan Hampton


Would you recommend a fast growing shade tree for Phoenix, AZ that will grow at least 30 ft. high and with a similar canopy in clay soil?


Here are some possibilities for shade trees in Phoenix. You, of course, realize that even though they all tolerate dry soils, they will need irrigation to establish themselves. All the trees listed below are native to Maricopa County, Arizona.

Acer negundo (boxelder), 35-50 feet

Fraxinus velutina (Arizona ash) or Fraxinus velutina 'Fan tex' (Fan-tex ash), 30-50 feet

Prunus serotina (black cherry), 50 to 80 feet

Chilopsis linearis (Desert willow), 6-30 feet

Sapindus saponaria var. drummondii (western soapberry), 10-50 feet

The next two trees are generally found in riparian settings—along the banks of streams or lakes and would probably require deep watering if not in such a location.

Platanus wrightii (Arizona sycamore), 60-80 feet

Populus fremontii (Fremont cottonwood), up to 90 feet

Acer negundo

Prunus serotina

Chilopsis linearis

Sapindus saponaria var. drummondii

More Shade Tolerant Questions

O.K. to grow grass under a live oak?
November 26, 2014 - Is it a bad idea to plant grass around a mature live oak? We have erosion issues and trying to keep mulch in the beds around the tree groves is a challenge, even with edging. Much of the native dirt...
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant, drought- and shade-tolerant plant for Pennsylvania
August 14, 2012 - Hello, I need a deer/drought resistant, shade tolerant, rocky soil perennial. I would like it to have some winter appeal. I live outside of Philadelphia, PA. Thank you so much for your time...
view the full question and answer

Shrub for part shade for hedge in Holly Ridge NC
April 07, 2010 - We live in Coastal NC. We would like a type of shrub for the front of our home which is partial shade, similar style to a boxwood or trainable hedge. What NC native would compare?
view the full question and answer

What shade trees and shrubs are safe to plant around horses in Iowa?
February 09, 2009 - I need to know what shade trees, flowering trees, shrubs and flowering shrubs are safe to plant around horses in Iowa. thanks
view the full question and answer

Plants for shade in Northern California
March 30, 2010 - What are good plants that grow and live in shade only?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center