An Arizona Home Owner’s Guide to Palo Verde Trees
The Palo Verde tree is a staple of Arizona, earning the prestigious title of the state tree. With its winding trunk and golden leaves, it’s one of the most unique desert trees you’ll find. If you have a Palo Verde tree in your yard, you need to learn how to properly care for and maintain it to show respect not only for nature but for the state of Arizona.
Here’s everything you need to know about how to care for a Palo Verde tree.
Growing a Palo Verde Tree
Lovers of the Palo Verde tree are likely wondering: Can I grow a Palo Verde tree from seed?
The best time to grow a Palo Verde tree is mid-to-late summer. This gives the tree time to grow roots before winter hits. You want to choose an area that gets lots of sun.
Dig a hole about twice as wide as what you’re planting, plant your seed, and fill it all in. Give it plenty of water. Although it is a desert plant and doesn’t need a ton of water, you should occasionally water the newly planted tree to help it grow quicker.
You don’t need to worry too much about soil quality when planting a Palo Verde tree. Palo Verde’s grow in pretty much any soil, as long as it drains well. Try to find some sandy soil that won’t soak the roots too bad, or have an irrigation system installed.
Now, all you have to do is wait! In time, you’ll have the Arizona state tree right on your property.
Propagating Palo Verde Trees From Cutting
Rather than start from seed, many people like to grow their Palo Verde tree using a cutting from a pre-established tree.
Growing Palo Verde trees from cutting isn’t possible, though. There’s nothing you can propagate from the Palo Verde, meaning you have to start from seed.
Palo Verde seeds naturally grow in seed pods. You can harvest these from other Palo Verde trees, cut them open with some good scissors, and get the seeds that way. They’re bean-sized and have a tough shell you’ll need to scrape off to properly plant the tree.
It also helps if you germinate the seed first. Let it soak in a warm pot of water for about a day. This increases their chance of success.
Watering Your Palo Verde Tree
The Palo Verde is a desert tree, meaning it doesn’t need much water to thrive. In fact, you’re more likely to overwater your tree rather than underwater it.
One of the best practices for a new Palo Verde tree is to dig a basin around it. Dig your basin about 2 or 3 feet from the tree’s trunk, in a circle around it. Fill the basin up with water about once a week, and it will drain deep into the soil, giving the roots more room to expand.
As the tree grows, you can cut back watering the basin to about once every 2 to 4 weeks. You can keep watering it weekly if you want it to grow faster, but it’s not necessary.
Fertilizing Your Palo Verde Tree
Fertilizer isn’t often necessary for Palo Verde trees but will support healthy growth.
Try giving your young Palo Verde tree fertilizer high in phosphorus. This will help the roots develop and grow. Once the tree is grown and established, you can stop fertilizing it altogether.
Pruning Palo Verde Trees
The good thing about Palo Verde trees is how infrequently they need pruning. You’ll probably only need to do it about once per year.
The first thing you’ll need to do is put on a thick set of gloves, pants, and a long-sleeved shirt. Palo Verde trees have thorns, so you can’t be too safe when going in for the prune.
Seek out dead branches and remove them from the tree by cutting a quarter-inch above the area where the branch meets the trunk. Dead branches are noticeable by their dark brown bark. While you’re at it, cut off any cracked or jagged branches the same way.
If any branches are rubbing against each other, remove one of the offenders. Look out for branches obstructing the sidewalk or road, and any that are growing too tall and at risk of falling over. Anything that detracts from its natural shape can go.
If you’d rather leave the pruning to the professionals, see what Jose Know Trees can do for you.
The best time to prune your Palo Verde tree is in the winter, particularly late winter. At this time, the tree is dormant, and pruning will cause the least amount of stress on the tree.
Try to remove below 25 percent of the total tree during each pruning session. Going over this could expose the tree to sunburn and damage. Be extremely careful of thorns when pruning, as they can cause you a lot of damage.
Palo Verde trees are pretty tough, so have all the tools you’ll potentially need ready to go. That includes a pruning saw, shears, and loppers.
Learning How to Care for a Palo Verde Tree
With this simple care guide above, you’re well on your way to caring for a Palo Verde tree of your own. Desert trees are some of the most unique, beautiful trees you can grow, and a properly maintained one is all the more amazing. If you want to show off your Arizona pride and compliment your yard, consider a Palo Verde tree.