It's true that Las Vegas is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the U.S. Indeed, from 2015-2018, an annual average of over forty-two million visitors was reported by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. However, the greater Las Vegas metro area, encompassing not only the Las Vegas city limits but also the communities of Paradise and Henderson, is also home to a population of over two million residents.
Choosing the right tree for your desert home
With over two million residents in the hot, subtropical desert climate, a little shade is certainly much appreciated. Deciduous trees are perfect for the Vegas climate since they provide a blanket of leaves to cool you off in the summer, then lose them to let the winter sun through to warm you on a chilly day. Just remember that newly planted trees will require more water than the dry climate offers naturally. Let's look at several options for throwing some shade on your Vegas landscape.
Velvet ash (Fraxinus velutina), is a tallish, round-topped tree found naturally in wet areas. The compound leaves are a beautiful gray-green with a velvety (of course) texture. The velvet ash is tough enough to withstand the heat of a Nevada summer and the cold winter nights that are sure to come in the desert. Size range is generally from 15 to 25 feet but can get larger.
Royal Empress tree (Paulownia elongata), This sun-loving hardy tree is known to be one of the fastest growing on the market. It has shown growth of up to fifteen feet in its first season after planting. The clustered bell-shaped blooms herald spring with pops of lavender-tinged pink and white that exude the fragrance of jasmine. This large tree reaches forty to fifty feet high at maturity, with a spread of thirty to forty feet.
Date palms (Phoenix dactylifera), were brought into the U.S. from North Africa to use for the cultivation of dates. They feature long, feathery fronds, as opposed to California Fan Palms with their (of course) fan-like fronds. Don't be fooled by the feathery appearance, however, the fronds are spiny and stiff.
Bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa), the impressive bur oak is a strong statement in your garden. It features a huge trunk, wild acorns and a coarse, roughly grooved bark. This toughness means this oak is a survivor. Expect a long life and tolerance to most anything nature throws at it. It will provide dense shade for those hot sunny summers in southern Nevada.
Yellow Buckeye (Aesculus flava), while also offering the rugged resilience you need, the yellow buckeye doesn't take a backseat when it comes to beauty. The substantial bark serves as a counterpoint to its vibrant yellow flowers in spring and spectacular orange leaves in the fall. This stunner will provide you with the thick shade you need while also offering screening for privacy or serving as a central point of focus in your landscape. One of the best features of this tree is the low maintenance required on your part.
Silver maple (Acer saccharinum), as its name might suggest, this tree shimmers in the breeze due to the silvery sheen on the underside of its leaves. Even the bark echoes that color scheme when young. Among fast-growing species, the silver maple is one of the leaders. It adapts to differing soil conditions, enjoys full sun, but also tolerates a little shade. This tree can reach heights of fifty to eighty feet, so be sure to make room.
Weeping Willow (Salix babylonica), instantly recognizable for its long wisps of branches reaching for the ground with its fingers of long, thin leaves. Another large, fast-growing tree, the weeping willow can grow as much as three feet per year and reach heights of thirty to forty feet. As early as February, its green leaves and yellow branches signal the impending demise of winter. Look for its pretty golden hues in the autumn.
Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum), equally at home in southern swamps and desert cities, the Baldcypress is adaptable and beautiful. Its classification is a deciduous conifer, so it will drop its needles in fall. Speaking of fall, its orange-ish red tone is majestic. The Bald Cypress prefers full sun and can grow to a height of fifty to seventy feet.
Lacebark Elm (Ulmus parvifolia), the glossy dark green leaves of this beautiful tree adorn the circular crown in spring, changing to a gorgeous yellow and reddish purple in autumn. And that isn't even the distinctive feature of the lacebark elm. It's unique bark with mottling that produces patterns of color make this an outstanding addition to your Las Vegas landscape. Making it even more desirable, this elm is tolerant of different soil conditions and resistant to the diseases common to other elms. Mature heights can reach forty to fifty feet.
London planetree (Platanus x acerifolia), this popular street tree traces its beginnings, as you might expect, to London, England, where its distinctive characteristics were identified around 1645. It was found to thrive even in the soot-filled air of the city, resist drought, and provide marvelous shade. To this day, the London planetree is a mainstay as an urban street tree. You can expect its bark to flake off and reveal a lovely cream color.
Yes, all these trees will lose their leaves in the fall.
While it is great to have a magnificent canopy of shade at your desert domicile to ward off the heat, these deciduous darlings have a way of creating work when their leaves hit the ground. Living in the entertainment capital of the world, you would much rather be hitting the strip or taking in a Golden Knights hockey game at T-Mobile arena. Don't fret, just utilize Lawn Love's lawn services to get the help you need for leaf removal or any other garden task you might have. The leaves on your Las Vegas lawn don't have to stay there.