One of the most important decisions to make when adding a tree to your property is where to plant it. Location is very important. A small sapling you plant now will one day be a large tree providing welcome shade, but will it fit the location? If a tree is planted too close to your house, your foundation is jeopardized; too close to the street, it encroaches on city property; too close to your fence, it encroaches on your neighbors property.

The height and width of the tree must be considered so that it fits the location where it will spend its life. Small trees that work well for most city lots include Sweet Acacia, Chinese Pistache, Texas Mt. Laurel and Texas Ebony. Taller trees that can stand alone in a large yard include Shoestring Acacia, Sycamore, Velvet Ash and Sissoo.

Deciduous trees, such as Chinese Pistachio, Velvet Ash, Sycamore, Mulberry and Chinese Elm, allow sunshine to fill your yard during winter and provide cooling shade during summer.

Drought-tolerant trees, such as Mesquite, Texas Mt. Laural, Texas Ebony and Sweet Acacia, grow well in our warm climate.

Is there a pool? Avoid deciduous or flowering trees that drop litter into the pool on a regular basis. Do you want a showy tree with beautiful spring blooms? Plant an Orchid tree, Ornamental Pear, jacaranda, Texas Mt. Laurel, or Royal Poinciana. Of the three, the Orchid tree has the narrowest canopy, while the Royal Poinciana has the widest.

A Yellow Bell or Orange Bell (Tecoma Stans) is a multi-branched shrub with trumpet-shaped blooms that can be pruned to form a small tree perfect for a patio area. All branches are pruned away while the tree is young, leaving one branch to form the main trunk. Its canopy must be pruned regularly to keep it from becoming top heavy. Clusters of trumpet-shaped blooms attract hummingbirds and other pollinators year-round.

Plant trees during winter months so they become established before our heat returns in spring. Dig a hole twice as large as the width of the container and the same depth as the container. Press on the sides of the plastic tub to loosen the soil and slide the tree into the hole. Fill in around the trees roots with dirt dug from the hole and water to settle the soil.

Add more dirt, if needed, and create a basin of dirt below the outer edge of the trees canopy. This basin allows you to flood irrigate so water reaches down to the trees roots. Once the tree is established, the basin is no longer needed and should be removed. Deep watering is best, since it encourages the trees roots to grow downward to help anchor the tree.

No matter which tree you choose to plant, maintain its shape with yearly pruning, when needed. Crossed branches that rub against each other and dead or diseased branches are first to be removed. If the inner canopy needs to be opened up, prune away enough branches to allow remaining branches to grow unobstructed.

Never prune a tree into a cube, sphere, or cylinder. This stresses the tree and will eventually kill it. If you plant the right tree in the right location, you will not need to prune severely.

An old Chinese proverb says, The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago, and the next best time is now.

Now that we are enjoying cooler weather, you might consider planting an additional tree in your yard.

Happy gardening. f

Trees for El Centro

Cascalote evergreen 50 ft. tall

Chaste tree deciduous 25 ft. tall

Chinese elm deciduous 30 ft. tall

Chinese pistache deciduous 30 ft. tall

Desert willow deciduous 30 ft. tall

Eucalyptus evergreen 50 ft. tall

Honey mesquite deciduous 30 ft. tall

Indian laurel fig evergreen 35 ft. tall

Jacaranda semi-dec. 50 ft. tall

Orchid tree semi-dec. 25 ft. tall

Palo blanco evergreen 30 ft. tall

Palo brea semi-dec. 25 ft. tall

Palo Colorado evergreen 30 ft. tall

Pistache deciduous 25 ft. tall

Royal Poinciana semi-dec. 40 ft. tall

Sissoo evergreen 50 ft. tall

Shoestring acacia evergreen 30 ft. tall

Sweet acacia evergreen 25 ft. tall

Sycamore deciduous 50 ft. tall

Texas ebony evergreen 25 ft. tall

Velvet ash deciduous 45 ft. tall

Willow acacia evergreen 30 ft. tall

More Trees

Texas Mt. Laurel

Texas olive


Hong Kong orchid tree

AZ Ash

Feather Bush

Australian bottle tree

Aleppo pine


Western soapberry

Cat claw acacia

Velvet Mesquite

Carob tree

Western hackberry

Flowering pear

Leather-leaf acacia

S. American mesquite

Shoestring acacia

African sumac

Chinese elm

Fruit Trees

Anna apple

Golden Dorsett apple

Ein shemer apple

Black Mission fig

Brown Turkey fig

Tropic Beauty peach

Desert Gold peach

Babcock peach

Gulf Ruby plum

Patterson plum

Santa Rosa plum

Gold Kist apricot

Katy apricot

Fuyu persimmon

Keitt mango

Turpentine mango

Wonderful pomegranate Citrus

Marrs orange

Cara Cara orange

Valencia orange

Meyer lemon

Libson lemon

Pink Eureka lemon

Melogold grapefruit

Minneola tangelo

Nagami kumquat

Mexican lime

Oroblanco grapefruit

Orlando tangelo

Dancy mandarin

Algerian tangerine

Fremont tangerine

Nut Trees

Western Schley pecan

Wichita pecan

Comanche pecan

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