Best Shade Trees for Arizona Climate

Unless you want to stay inside absolutely all season long, it’s important to have ways to cool off outside during the brutal Arizona summer. Since not everyone has easy access to a pool, we wanted to focus on another option that can help a bit: shade trees.

While shade trees may not be enough to make the hottest days enjoyable, they can make a difference. Temperatures in the shade usually feel as much as 10-15 degrees cooler than those in the sun. Plus, a shade tree can help protect you from harmful UV rays, and let’s face it—a tree is much more pleasant to look at than an umbrella!

Even if you don’t plan on lounging under your shade trees, the shade they provide to the other plants in your yard can help those other plants survive the harsh temperatures.

Which shade trees should you choose for your Arizona yard? Here are some popular choices:

Palo verde

If you don’t mind a “desert landscape” look, the palo verde is a fantastic shade tree option. As the state tree of Arizona, it holds up well in desert summers and is very low maintenance. 

Ash trees

Certain varieties of ash—including Arizona Ash, Bonita Ash, and Shamel Ash—grow well in Arizona and will provide lovely shade once they are mature. These trees can grow quite large which means you might only need a couple to shade your space!

California Pepper

California Pepper trees love the sun (and Arizona has no shortage of that!). They grow quickly and create a wide canopy that offers lovely shade. They are also very low maintenance and are drought tolerant.

Oak trees

Southern Live Oaks and Evergreen Oaks are two great options for Arizona shade trees. They grow well in the bright sun and are very dense and thick, so they create very nice shaded areas. 

Weeping Willows

With a distinctive, unique look, Weeping Willows can add visual interest to any yard—along with plenty of shade. Another nice thing about these trees is that they grow fairly quickly, and can reach up to 40’ tall.

Any of these trees could be a great option for a shade tree for your yard, but only if you have adequate space and proper soil. Be sure to work with a landscape design team when preparing to plant shade trees, to make sure your investment in a nice shade tree doesn’t go to waste. 

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