New Mexico Friendly Trees

Deciduous Trees

Chitalpa is a deciduous tree that grows 20 to 30' in height, and up to 20' wide. It combines the larger flower of the Catalpa with the color of the Chilopsis, continuously producing opulent large white flower clusters.

Honey Locust 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.

Chaste Tree is an excellent choice for a multi-branched tree or large shrub that grows up to 20'. Their flowers are a spiky lavender purple that will bloom profusely in summer months. They are perfect for New Mexico because they are heat lovers, tolerate our soils well and are cold-hardy.


Oak 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.

Chinese Pistache is extremely winter-hardy and will tolerate our heat, soil and wind. They will grow 30 to 40' high and nearly as wide. Their leaves are a dark green, fine textured compound structure that turns to spectacular gold and crimson red in fall.


Sycamore or Plane Tree 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 to 60'.

Arizona Sycamore is 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.

Bloodgood Sycamore 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.


The Populus 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. Aspens are primarily in the higher elevations of the Rocky Mountains.

Rio Grande 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 throughout hot summers and cool the surrounding areas. Broad, triangular green leaves with a gorgeous yellow fall color.

Plains Cottonwood 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 can grow up to 20 to 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 is a very fast growing "Cottonless Cottonwood"and can grow to 75' by 35' and is resistant to leaf rust. It's gray/white bark gives it a distinctive flair, and the green heart-shaped leaves rustle on the slightest breeze.


The Salix (Willows) family is a beautiful grouping of trees commonly called Willows. 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' is 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.

Fruit Trees

Fruit trees 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. 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.


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.

Pine Trees

Austrian Pine Tree 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.

Vanderwolf's Pine, 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.

Raywood Ash 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 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 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.

Elm Trees

Elm trees 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.

Ornamental Trees

Purple Robe Locust is a strikingly beautiful ornamental tree that has a growth of rounded 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.