UCCE Master Gardeners of Orange County
University of California
UCCE Master Gardeners of Orange County


Tree- Palo Verde

Flowers of Blue Palo Verde tree
The palo verde tree is native to desert areas of the southwestern US, Mexico and Central America. They can range in size from small to large trees, from 15 to 30 feet high, depending on the variety. They have greenish bark and a lovely display of yellow flowers in the spring. They drop their leaves when the weather is hot. Bees and birds are attracted to palo verde trees.

Palo verde trees prefer sandy soil with excellent drainage and regular but infrequent deep irrigation. Plant palo verde trees in full sun.

They provide filtered shade, so understory plantings of plants with similar irrigation needs will do well together.

Fertilization requirements depend on the age of the tree, whether young (in its first year in your garden) or established in your garden.

If it is young it will need extra phosphorus to encourage good root development. Look for a fertilizer that has phosphorus (P) included on the label. The label will indicate the qualitities of Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P) and Potassium (K). Apply the recommended amount for the tree per the label directions directly into the soil at time of planting, or at least during the first growing season.

If the tree is established in the garden there is no need for fertilizer.

A palo verde tree generally requires pruning only to enhance shape and remove crossing branches or branches growing too low. Pruning should be done during the cool months of the year.

The Blue Palo Verde is the state tree of Arizona. Read more information from the Master Gardeners of the University of Arizona Pima County Cooperative Extension:

Blue Palo Verde
Foothills Palo Verde

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