Think about how much cooler it looks (or feels) when driving down a tree-lined street or walking through a forest, an oasis in a desert is certainly appealing. It is possible to live in a grove of trees, even here in southern Arizona, whether you have only a small lot or a larger acreage. Trees provide such a great service to our environment that some consideration should be given to their use, not only by individuals, but also by businesses and government entities.
Trees filter the air and put oxygen back into our atmosphere. They can provide screening from neighbor's properties, help to deaden any unwelcome noises, offer cooling shade in summer yet allow warming sun in winter, furnish fruit or nuts, prove a wildlife habitat, and children will welcome a few trees to climb.
If your lot is small, consider planting dwarf or semi-dwarf fruit trees for more variety, or strategically place two or three larger fruit or shade trees around your house to save on your cooling/heating bills. If you have a larger acreage, the state makes a variety of trees and large shrubs available each spring at a low cost. They include trees with a low water requirement that will thrive in this area. (NOTE: See related article elsewhere in this newsletter.) The variety and use of trees is only limited by the imagination.
It is essential to decide what use you want to make of your property and then draw up a plan for the inclusion of trees into your landscaping. Many good books describing trees and plants for desert areas, as well as their care requirements, are available at local bookstores. Be certain that you will be able to provide for their continued maintenance BEFORE you plant them, as an unkempt "jungle" is not appealing, and a dying forest is disgraceful!