Holding the honor as the state tree of Arizona, the native blue palo verde (Parkinsonia florida, USDA plant hardiness zones 9 through 11) is a popular xeriscaping tree due to its extreme tolerance to drought. If you are holding a blue palo verde tree in a pot and are wondering how to properly plant it, the steps are relatively simple. These desert trees are typically hardy and low maintenance when grown in their preferred conditions, and with their tolerance to heat and low-water requirement, they are perfect additions to a waterwise landscape. Mature trees grow around 30 feet tall and wide and remain partially deciduous throughout the year, especially under drought conditions.
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How to Plant a Blue Palo Verde Tree
Step 1: Select the Planting Site
Select a permanent planting site during the growing season that's located in full sun with soil that drains well and doesn't stay wet. The blue palo verde works well in low-water and desert gardens, rock gardens, and waterwise pollinator gardens since the bright yellow spring flowers attract bees.
Step 2: Clear the Site of Unwanted Growth
Remove any unwanted growth from the planting site, clearing an area about 3 to 4 feet in diameter. Rake or pull the weeds or grass growth from the site.
Step 3: Dig the Hole
Use a spade shovel to dig a hole that is several times deeper and wider than the pot in which the blue palo verde is growing. This loosens the soil, which assists the tree's root system in establishing itself in the site. Amending the soil isn't necessary, as the tree grows well in rocky and sandy soils with low organic matter.
Step 4: Inspect the Root System
Remove the blue palo verde from the pot and inspect the root system. If the roots are starting to wrap in a circle, gently tease them apart with your hands.
Step 5: Place the Blue Palo Verde in the Hole
Place the blue palo verde into the hole, adding more soil to the bottom if needed so the tree is at the same height at which it was growing in the pot. Planting too deep puts undue stress on the tree as it tries to establish itself.
Step 6: Backfill the Hole
Backfill the hole with the removed native soil, being sure not to plant too deep. Firm the soil around the planting site with your foot.
Step 7: Water the Blue Palo Verde
Water the blue palo verde after planting. Depending on local weather conditions, continue watering the tree once weekly, especially during summer and while it establishes itself in its site. Thereafter, young trees only require monthly irrigation during winter and only need occasional water during extended periods of dry weather. However, the tree holds its foliage longer and grows faster if it's watered every couple of weeks.