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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.

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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.

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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.

 
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Sunday - November 17, 2013

From: Phoenix, AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Evergreen tree for Phoenix
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I need your help. I'm looking for a pretty evergreen tree for my small front yard in Phoenix. One that is not horribly messy and doesn't get wider that 10 - 15 ft. I want to be able to decorate at Christmas time. Would love flowers and prefer dense canopies but will have grass underneath. As you can tell, I don't know what I'm doing. My mom had the green thumb in my family but I lost her last year and don't have anyone to guide me. I know you are very busy but your guidance would be so appreciated.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants Isn't able to meet all your criteria in one tree; however, here are several evergreen trees that are native to your region that meet several of them and should do well there.

Arbutus arizonica (Arizona madrone)  Here is more information and photos from Southwest Environmental Information Network and from Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation.

Hesperocyparis arizonica (Arizona cypress)  Here is more information from Virginia Tech.

Juniperus deppeana (Alligator juniper)  Here is more information from Texas A&M Aggie Horticulture.

Juniperus scopulorum (Rocky mountain juniper)  Here is more information about a cultivar called 'Wichita blue' from Missouri Botanical Garden.

Olneya tesota (Desert ironwood)  Here is more information from Blue Planet Biomes and from University of Arizona Pima County Cooperative Extension.

Pinus edulis (Colorado pinyon pine)  Here is more information from Southwest Colorado Wildflowers.

Lysiloma watsonii (Desert fern)  Here is more information from Arizona State University and from Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

 

From the Image Gallery


Arizona cypress
Hesperocyparis arizonica

Arizona cypress
Hesperocyparis arizonica

Alligator juniper
Juniperus deppeana

Rocky mountain juniper
Juniperus scopulorum

Desert ironwood
Olneya tesota

Desert ironwood
Olneya tesota

Colorado pinyon pine
Pinus edulis

Colorado pinyon pine
Pinus edulis

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