En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Trees for Socorro NM

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - June 28, 2012

From: Socorro, NM
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Trees
Title: Trees for Socorro NM
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I recently moved from Austin to Socorro, NM. I want to add 2 shade trees to my hot, dry garden. I am considering Arizona Cypress, Live Oak (Quercus Fusiformis - yes, they are native in NM, as well as TX), and Apache Pine. The garden around the trees will be planted with xeriscape natives. I could use some advise as to which trees (or combo of trees) will be best. Will the roots of the oak be a problem? How long will the AZ Cypress live? Will it need to be replaced after 20 years? Will that Apache pine look scraggly after it reaches maturity? Thanks so much.

ANSWER:

Before we tell you anything, you have to promise not to plant either tree before November at the earliest. Especially in the intense heat that both New Mexico and Texas are experiencing AGAIN this year, you would do well to heed our warning. The greatest reason for death of trees is transplant shock, and the most frequent cause of transplant shock is planting woody plants (trees and shrubs) during hot weather.

This USDA Plant Profile Map shows that Cupressus arizonica (Arizona cypress), while it is not  shown growing natively in Socorro County, it does grow nearby and should be fine. According to this USDA Map, Quercus fusiformis (Escarpment live oak) does not grow natively in New Mexico at all, but we will take your word for it that it will. Pinus engelmannii (Apache pine) is shown on this USDA Map as growing only in the southwestern corner of New Mexico and then on down into Mexico. Pictures of Apache pine,

These are considerations for several reasons: you want to know if the soil, climate and rainfall is going to be okay for the trees to grow where you plant them; planting something native to the conditions they have been accustomed to for centuries will save you a lot of resources, like time, money, water and muscles. Good stock, planted carefully in cool weather will have a decent chance. We don't make the rules, Nature does.

For more information on each tree, scroll down our webpage on that page to Additional Resources, and click on the link to Google on that plant. Since we do not know your terrain, watering situation or size of property you will have to be the judge of where and how to grow them. You should also be aware that the oak roots will spread very far and won't slow down for foundations, pavement or driveways. A little planning ahead can save a world of hurt.

 

From the Image Gallery


Arizona cypress
Hesperocyparis arizonica

Escarpment live oak
Quercus fusiformis

Escarpment live oak
Quercus fusiformis

More Planting Questions

Splash-proof plants from Oakton VA
October 01, 2012 - Hi Mr Smarty Plants, Re: low, evergreen ground cover, Northern Virginia The bare soil around my freshly painted screen porch splashes up onto the white framing when it rains so I am looking for ...
view the full question and answer

Can a hibiscus survive in Wyoming?
June 09, 2011 - Can a hibiscus survive in Wyoming if it is taken care of properly? If so, can you tell me how to make it happen?
view the full question and answer

Chile pequin from Spring Plant Sale in Austin
June 08, 2011 - Re: chile pequin purchased at your Spring 2011 sale: it grows, seems to thrive, but sets no flowers and so bears no fruit. It's in terracotta in Ladybug potting soil, on a shady apartment patio. How ...
view the full question and answer

Need perennials for front beds in south-facing house ib San Angelo, TX.
February 12, 2012 - What perennials will work in my front beds of southern facing house in West Texas?
view the full question and answer

Planting wildflowers in spring for spring bloom
March 02, 2012 - I was wondering if it is possible to plant wildflowers around this time of year, and expect them to bloom in the spring still? I have heard that many wildflowers germinate in the fall. Are there c...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center