After I lost four Ficus trees in the freak hard freeze of two years ago, it's taken me that long time to decide if, and with what, to replace those lost Ficus trees. All four were located in the large east side yard of my property, along with quite a few other more tropical shrubs and plants that also succumbed to the freeze. It looked so bare on that side of my yard that it finally forced me to make a decision regarding a tree replacement.
The past four weeks have been the ultimate planting time for most plants here in the desert, so it was now, or wait until early spring. The nurseries are hurting for business, and began offering great sales on trees and planting, so I decided the time was now. I made up my mind to get a Tipuana Tipu, also called Palo Mortero, or Rosewood.
This tree is classified into the Leguminosae (pea family) and it will rapidly grow to about 30 feet here in the desert, with a huge, lacy, arching crown. In milder climates (it does well in southern California) it can grow to 50 feet tall! It is classified as a deciduous tree, but here in the desert, it usually keeps its leaves unless we have an especially cold winter. It will need regular water until it is established. It will take more water than the desert trees, but it is still fairly drought resistant. In this photo, it looks as if it is very close to the block wall, but it's actually about eight feet from it.
By deciding on this tree, I've invited more litter into my yard. In the spring, small yellow-orange flowers will adorn this tree and also the ground! The tree then forms pea pod-like seed pods that contain samaras, which are seeds that are encased in a membrane that covers a seed at one end and forms a wing at the other. So, I'll also have seed pods and little flying seeds all over the place, but that's why I hire the blow-and-go landscape maintenance crew to come in every few months.
Even with the litter problems, I think the positives will outweigh the negatives on this beautiful tree.