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Tree Of The Month | Palo Brea Tree

John Eisenhower talks about the Tree of the Month, the Palo Brea Tree and our Monthly Tree Topic: #Irrigation

Tree Of The Month | Palo Brea Tree

Scientific: Parkinsonia praecox 

Common: Palo Brea or Sonoran Palo Verde

Family: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)

Origin: Southern Sonoran Desert south of Hermosillo, Sonora and southern Baja California into Michoacan, Mexico and also south into subtropical, seasonally dry areas of Columbia, Peru and Ecuador.

Landscape Use: Palo brea is a large specimen tree for use exclusively in large, spacious, desert landscape gardens and large, open xeric landscape spaces; it creates excellent habitat for native birds.

Form & Character: Semi-evergreen tree, loose and unruly, umbrella top with age and proper pruning, spreading and broad.

Size: Moderate growth to 20-30 feet

Leaves: Compound leaves containing 12 – 14 pairs of 1/4 inch leaflets

Flowers: Clusters of small bright yellow flowers

Fruit: Seed pod

Seasonal Color: Brilliant yellow flowers color the entire tree (and all the ground beneath) in mid to later April.

Stems/Trunks: Green trunk and branches, umbrella shape;. Branches have spines

Hardiness: Sunset; warm parts of 12; – 13; 18 – 20


Palo brea is a great tree for large, open desert gardens where its architectural uniqueness can be featured and not butchered. Its trunk character is truly beautiful. So I reiterate! Palo brea IS NOT a street or parking lot tree and should not be planted in areas where its crown needs to be raised or deformed to accommodate traffic patterns or urban space limitations. Palo brea easily hybridizes and many nursery trees are actually hybrids with other Parkinsonia species. The smooth trunk of palo brea is prone to vandalism in public areas.

Neat freak alert!!! Flower and fruit litter can make quite a mess.

Cultural Requirements: 

Exposure: Full sun

Water: Low

Soil: Sandy, well drained soil

Propagation: Seed

Maintenance: Minimal, prune only to shape

For more info visit:


Home Maintenance Calendar | #PaloBreaTree


John Eisenhower and Sarah Maitland discuss a ‘thorny’ subject. The Palo Brea tree! Angular branch structure, beautiful spring yellow blooms and a nice shade tree in the right place. Discussion of tree care in preparation for excessive heat and monsoon season. Plus listener questions on proper watering, root rot, advantages of shade cloth and ground cooling.

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