Chitalpa tashkentensis is a cross between the Catalpa bignonoides and the Chilopsis linearis (Desert Willow), where it gets its frilly pink trumpet flower clusters and drought tolerance from. These attractive ornamental trees will grow rapidly, up to 20′ to 30′ tall and wide. We all start to notice them in the late spring, when they seemingly all start to bloom overnight all over town. The Chitalpa is sterile so it will not leave all those messy seed pods hanging on the trees. They are ideally suited for New Mexico’s soils and climates.
Purple Robe Locust
Robina ‘Purple Robe’ is a strikingly beautiful ornamental tree that has a growth of rounded reddish bronze leaves that turn into a lush green, followed by drooping purplish pink flowers. These trees grow fast, up to 25′ high by 20′ wide. The Purple Robes will adapt to our hot, dry New Mexican areas and will tolerate our alkaline soils.
Gleditsia triacanthos are native to Central and Eastern North America, but grow very well all across New Mexico. Honey Locust are fast growing and depending on variety, can grow 20′ to 45′ high. These gorgeous shade trees leaf out with yellow leaves turning to a deep green in summer. They will offer filtered shade allowing growth of lawn or other plants beneath the canopy and do not have invasive roots. ‘Shademaster’ will grow 45′ to 35′ wide with upright ascending growth, then spreading branches to form an irregular vase shape. ‘Skyline’ Honey Locust grows symmetrical and broadly pyramidal which makes a great street tree. ‘Street Keeper’ Honey Locust grows more narrow, dense upright growth up to 20′ wide.
Vitex angus-castus or Chaste Tree is an excellent choice for a multi-branched tree or large shrub that grows up to 20′. These flowers are a spiky lavender purple that will bloom profusely in the summer months. They are perfect for New Mexico because they are heat lovers, tolerate our soils very well and are cold hardy. The aromatic leaves are palmate, dark green with silvery tones underneath. There are varieties with pink or white flowers.
Quercus spp. (Oak)
Many species of the oak family can grow well in New Mexico and they make a great shade tree with beautiful fall colors. These majestic trees can be slow growing, but are long lived. All are very cold tolerant and can adapt to our soil conditions. The acorns they produce are a valued food source for a large variety of New Mexico’s wildlife.
Chinkapin Oak Quercus muehlenbergii are a white oak that will grow 40′ by 50′ with a rounded crown. They will grow well in rocky, alkaline soils. They have deeply toothed, shiny green leaves that turn to a golden yellow color on fall. Acorns are 3/4″ long with scaly caps.
Red Oak Quercus rubra can grow a little faster than the others, up to 50′-60′ in height and 30′ wide, with a broad spreading round crown. Dark lush leaves, grayish white underneath with 5 to 11 toothed lobes sharply pointed at the tips. Leaves hold until late fall and turn a brownish red color. Acorns can be 1 & 1/2″ long but will not appear in abundance until maturity. These are durable long lived trees.
Urban Pinnacle Oak Quercus marcrocarpa is a narrow and upright tree with a strong central leader that grows up to 55′ high and 25′ wide. Attractive green glossy foliage is disease resistant and will turn yellow in fall. It’s acorns are small, 1/2″, making it more suitable for landscape and street use.
Crimson Spire Oak Quercus hybrid combines the best from both parents. From the Quercus robur side it gets it’s columnar and adaptability. From the Quercus alba side it get its dark green mildew resistant leaves and red fall color. It will grow 45′ by 15″ in 20 years. Dense foliage creates a living screen for unsightly views and also muffles traffic noise.
Beacon Oak Quercus bicolor is a tightly columnar and adaptable white oak that makes an ideal street tree and strong visual statement that grows 30′ by 12′. It’s green leaves are either shallowly lobed leaves or scalloped leaves 3″ to 7″ long with a silvery underneath. Fall color is yellow but sometimes it can be orange, red or purple. It’s acorns are 1″ long with a nice tan color.
Pistacia chinensis is a medium sized ornamental tree that does very well in New Mexico because it is extremely winter hardy and will tolerate our heat, soil and wind. They will grow 30′ to 40′ high and nearly as wide. It’s leaves are a dark green, fine textured compound structure that turns to spectacular gold and crimson red in fall. The young trees often have an awkward shape but with early pruning will grow into a well rounded tree that is drought tolerant after establishment. The Chinese Pistache can make an excellent street, lawn, patio or specimen tree.
Sycamore or Plane Tree
Plantanus are large trees that can cast a welcoming cool shade in the hot summer months. Sycamores are noted for their unique bark and strong branching. The leaves of the sycamore resemble the maple leaf but are a big larger and have a rough surface. The ball shaped seed clusters hang from the bare branches in winter. They grow fast, 40′ up to 60′.
Plantanus wrightii are one of the tallest native shade trees in New Mexico, naturally growing along with the south central river banks of the Rio Grande. This one is moderately upright, open and irregular. Grows up to 50′ but not as wide. Tolerant of our heat and soil but does like moderate water to thrive.
Plantanus acerifolia is a tall exotic hybrid that casts dense shade. It grows into a vast shape, broadly pyramidal, up to 50′ by 40′. The naturally shedding bark creates a dappled brown and cream pattern that is accentuated by sunlight filtering through the foliage. It has a yellow fall color.
group consists of cottonwoods, aspen and poplars. These are fast growing and hardy shade trees. You can see cottonwoods all over New Mexico growing naturally next to the river banks of the Rio Grande Valley. Female cottonwoods later bear masses of cottony seeds that blow about and become a nuisance; for that reason, male varieties make your best choices. The aspens are primarily in the higher elevations of the Rocky Mountains.
Rio Grande Cottonwood Populus fremontii or p. deltoids wislizeni (Valley Cottonwood) is a fast growing shade tree that can reach heights up to 60′. They will tolerate our soils very well and will maintain through droughts but like their water. They provide wonderful dense shade through out hot summers and cool the surrounding areas. Broad, triangular green leaves with a gorgeous yellow fall color.
Plains Cottonwood Populus sargentii ‘Jeronimus’ is a gigantic tree up to 80′ in height and spread. It has a very straight central leader and pyramidal habit that matures to a broad rounded form. Tolerates our soils and can be drought tolerate after establishment, but does like it’s water. Yellow fall color.
Quaking Apsens Populus tremuloides can grow up to 20′-60′ high by 10′ wide and the multi-trunks will form large clumps or groves. They are a sight to see when the slightest breeze hits them, the delicate glossy green leaves tremble and sparkle with reflected light. The bark is a pale green to white. The fall color is a bright lemony yellow. They do best in higher elevations of New Mexico.
Poplars Populus detoides ‘Siouxland’ is a very fast growing “Cottonless Cottonwood”and can grow to 75′ by 35′ and is resistant to leaf rust. It’s gray/whitish bark gives it a distinctive flair, and the green heart shaped leaves rustle on the slightest breeze. These would look great as a stand alone specimen or planted in numbers would make a strong wind break.
The Salix (Willows)
family is a beautiful grouping of trees commonly called Willows. They are a standout all over the state. You can see these stately trees all over New Mexico. These are very hardy trees that tolerate our alkaline soils and are drought resistant after establishment, although they do prefer moderate water. They are one of the first trees in spring to leaf out.
Navajo Globe Willow Salix matsudana ‘Navajo’ are a gorgeous, fast growing tree. They grow up to 50′ tall by 50′ wide, to a perfectly rounded shape. Rich green yellow foliage illuminates tree lines that is a standout among the other trees. Globe willows will cast a very cooling, dense shade that is a true treasure in our state.
Weeping Willow Salix babylonica is a fast growing tree and will mature at about 40′. These are graceful looking trees with long sweeping branches that can make a dramatic focal point in any landscape. The bright green leaves are 3″-6″ long and some say, have a pleasant aroma to them.
Corkscrew Willow Salix mastudana is easy to identify by its long leaves and corkscrew or twisted branches. This one is a small to medium sized, upright spreading tree that grows to about 30′ high by 15′ wide. The winter branch pattern is quite unique and attractive.
are a fun and rewarding landscape planting in New Mexico. The satisfaction of growing our own food has become a truly enjoyable pastime that many of us have come to look forward to every year. The excitement we have in spring, of seeing the early flowers that brings anticipation of a tasty harvest later in year, unless we have one of those pesky late spring frosts. Most fruit trees have a chill hours requirement, which we easily achieve each year in New Mexico. Some fruit trees need a pollinator tree nearby, some do not, and are considered self fruitful. Pruning is best done in the dormancy period, January or February.
Apple varieties that do well are Arkansas Black, Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Gravenstein, Honeycrisp, Jonagold, McIntosh, Pink Lady, Red Delicious, Haralred, and Yellow Delicious.
Apricots Harcots are late bloomers.
Cherries Bing, Black Tartarian, Lapins, Montmorency, North Star, Royal Lee, Stella and Van, Utah Giant and try the ones that have 3 or 4 varieties grafted on to one tree, also known as 3N1 and 4N1.
Jujubes Li are Osuna Grown.
Nectarines Arctic Rose, Fantasia, Flavortop, Harko, Heavenly White, Independence, Snow Queen, Necta Zee and Golden Prolific are all good choices.
Peaches Contender, Elberta, Frost, Polly White Red Haven, Snow Beauty White, Rio Oso Gem and Pix Zee are all pretty tasty peaches.
Pears Bartlett, Bartlett Red Sensation, Comice, D’Anjou, Red D’Anjou, Summercrisp and the Asian pear, Shinko and 20th Century.
Persimmons Hachiya, Tamopan and Fuyu do well here.
Plums Emerald Beauty, Burgandy, Santa Rosa, Satsuma, Superior, Elephant Heart, Toka or a 3N1 combo tree are great.
Pomegranates Wonderful, as the name implies.
Prunes Italian and Stanley.
Also try Dapple Dandy Pluot and Sweet Treat Pluerry for something new!
Austrian Pine Tree
Pinus nigra is a handsome, fast growing evergreen conifer that is quite hardy and very adaptable here in New Mexico. This pine was introduced in North America in 1759 and has thrived here for over 200 years. They will grow up to 40′ to 60′ high and 15′ to 25′ wide. The needles are 4″ to 6″ long and dark green. They will make a strong specimen plant, privacy screen and wind break.
Pinus flexilis, ‘Vanderwolf’s Pyramid”, also called a Limber Pine, is aptly named for it flexible or limber branchets/twigs. It typically grows to 30′ high by 10′-15′ wide to a pyramidal shape. The needles are closely placed, soft to the touch, in a two tone silvery blueish green. The cones are thick-scaled, up to 8″ long and don’t disintegrate when they hit the ground. This is the perfect pine for medium sized landscapes and are considered low maintenance after establishment.
Fraxinus angustifolia ‘Raywood’ or F. oxycarpa are one of our most beautiful shade trees in New Mexico. This variety has a dark green, small narrow leaf that has a fine textured appearance. This tree can grow quickly up to 35′-40′ and 25′-30′ wide. Raywoods turn to a luscious red wine color in fall. This is a good choice for a lawn area or street. They require moderate water and produce no seeds.
Canada Red Improved Chokecherry
Prunus virginiana is selected for it’s toughness and beauty. In spring will come the white, fragrant flowers. The first new growth is green that will turn to a bright red by summer and a reddish purple by autumn. A great ornamental tree that will get up to about 25′ high and 20′ wide in maturity. This tree will tolerate our soils as well as our cold winters.
Royal Raindrops Crabapple
Malus has eye-popping magenta pink blooms, deep purple cut leaf foliage, sparkling red fruits and bright fall color. It gives an all-season appeal to any yard or garden. Superior disease resistance plus heat and drought tolerance make this unique crabapple a crown jewel among trees. These can get to about 20′ high and 15′ wide, with strong branch angles and upright growth. A top performer in windy climates.
are a handsome and graceful tree that grows vigorously. They make great street, lawn and shade trees. These elm trees are very adaptable to New Mexico heat, cold, alkaline soils and wind.
Triumph Elm Ulmus ‘Morton Glossy’ is a fast growing tree, up to 55′ high and 45′ wide. It’s shape is upright, oval to vase with dark green glossy leaves that turn yellow in fall.
Frontier Elm Ulmus hybrids is one of the smaller elms at 35′ by 25′. It’s pyramidal in shape and produces no seeds. It’s leaves are small, glossy and turn a long lasting reddish-purple to burgundy in fall.
Emerald Sunshine Elm Ulmus propinqua is fast growing, up to 35′ by 25′ that grows into a vase shape. It’s deeply corrugated dark green leaves turn to a yellow fall color. This elm has superior performance in hot, arid, windswept areas.
Accolade Elm Ulmus japonica x wilsoniana ‘Morton’ arching limbs and a graceful vase shape characterize this outstanding elm. It’s green glossy leaves turn yellow in fall. It grows up up to 70′ by 60′.
Allee Elm Ulmus parvifolia, Chinese or Lacebark Elm is a medium sized elm that will grow up to 50′ by 35′ with a rounded crown and long pendulous branching. One of the most ornamental features of this tree is it’s mottled bark. On mature trees, the bark flakes of to reveal gray, cream, orange, brown and green.