Titan Tree Care

What is Damaging my Tecoma Plants?

If there has been an active monsoon season (like there has been at the time of this article being written), you might have noticed that your tecoma plants may not look as healthy as they normally do. This is thanks to a caterpillar that will eventually become a moth, one that is very active in the Phoenix and Anthem areas after a significant amount of rainfall. In this article, we’ll cover: How to recognize if you have a tecoma plant, What symptoms to look for, Information on what is causing the damage, Some treatment options, And more! Do you have a Tecoma plant? There are four varieties of tecomas found in the Phoenix and Anthem areas, commonly known as “yellow bells” for the plants that produce yellow, bell-shaped flowers, and “orange jubilee” for the ones that have orange flowers. Tecoma stans Tecoma stans var. angustata – Arizona yellow bells, narrow...
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Is My Ocotillo Dead?

We’ve recently had quite a bit of rain in the Phoenix and Anthem areas. Many drought-deciduous trees and plants are thriving after surviving the ongoing drought conditions. But, even with the added moisture, some plants and trees that you thought were surviving might not be bouncing back, including some ocotillos. In this article, we’ll cover: what an ocotillo plant is (and is not!), some interesting facts about ocotillos (including what you cannot do with them), how to tell if your ocotillo is dead or just dormant, and an interesting way that ocotillos have been used in landscapes for centuries. What is an Ocotillo? Ocotillo, or Fouquieria splendens , is a desert plant that often looks like a bundle of dead sticks. It goes by many names, including: Coachwhip Candlewood Slimwood Desert coral Jacob’s staff Jacob cactus Vine cactus Flaming sword Devil’s walking stick Monkey-tail However, most people use the common...
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Titan Tree Care

The Pros and Cons of Mesquite Trees

Mesquite trees are just as much a part of our desert environment as the iconic saguaro cactus, quail, coyotes, or any other symbol of life in the southwest. However, they certainly don’t get as much attention. Mesquite trees can either go unnoticed as a background tree not worthy of attention, or they can be a hotly contested topic – with points showing the benefits of mesquite trees, but also equal arguments against them. In this article, we will: introduce you to the mesquite trees most commonly found in the Phoenix and Anthem areas, share the benefits of adding a mesquite tree to your landscape, and go over some of the negative aspects of mesquite trees you may want to consider before planting. No matter your thoughts on whether a mesquite tree would work well for your property, they are a vital part of the desert ecosystem and an important tree...
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Titan Tree Care

About Desert Ironwood: Spring Flowers, Uses, Growth & More

Lately, we’ve been getting a lot of questions about ironwood trees, and specifically about their spring flowers. Many residents of Anthem and surrounding areas don’t recall ever seeing ironwood trees in bloom. That’s not unusual, but that’s also not the only unique thing about our native ironwood trees. In this article, we’ll cover some of the interesting facts about ironwood trees, whether you might want to add one to your property, all about their spring blooms, and more! What is the official name for ironwood trees? The official name for the trees we often call ironwoods is desert ironwood ( Olneya tesota ). It is also known as tesota and palo de hierro. How did the desert ironwood get its name? One reason may be that the wood of an ironwood tree is so dense that it cannot float in water. This dense wood also means that some of its...
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Why is Sap Oozing from My Tree’s Trunk?

Spring in the Phoenix and Anthem areas can look like the desert is “waking up.” Spring flowers appear on shrubs, trees, and various forms of cactus. New, light green leaves are sprouting on trees. Local wildlife is out and about, and you’re more likely to spot lizards, snakes, insects, quail, roadrunners, and more. One of the lesser-known signs of spring and early summer can be sap oozing from tree trunks. In this article, we’ll cover: What sap is, Why sap may be oozing from your tree trunks, Pest and disease issues associated with sap, and Ways that you can prevent sap bleeding. Keep reading to find out all about tree sap in the desert and what to do if you spot sap dripping down your trees. What is tree sap? Spring and early summer are the growing season for trees in the desert southwest, which means that the interior parts...
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Titan Tree Care

About Arizona’s State Tree: Palo Verde

The green-barked palo verde is one of the most prominent trees in the Phoenix area. It’s especially visible in spring when it puts on a beautiful display of bright yellow flowers. But did you know that the palo verde is also Arizona’s official state tree? Keep reading to find out how and why the palo verde was chosen as the Arizona state tree, the significance of state trees, whether our state tree grows elsewhere, and why the palo verde is unique. For more information about choosing, planting, and caring for palo verde trees in Arizona, see these articles on our website: Best Shade Trees for your Anthem or Greater Phoenix Yard Do Palo Verde Trees Make You Sneeze? The Best Spring Flowering Teres for the Anthem Area Which Palo Verde Tree is Best for your Phoenix-Area Yard? Are Palo Verde Borers Killing Your Trees? What’s Digging Holes Around my Palo...
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Titan Tree Care

What’s Digging Holes Around My Palo Verde Tree?

Have you recently noticed areas of disturbed soil around some of your trees? Or signs that something has been digging up the ground beneath certain trees? In some cases, it can look like an out-of-control rototiller ran through your yard! Take a close look at which trees are being affected. If it’s mostly palo verde trees, then the damage was likely caused by a badger digging for palo verde borer grubs (the grubs are a tasty treat for badgers!). In this article, we’ll cover some of the specifics of badgers in Arizona, why their digging is actually a good thing, and some of the relationships they have with other wildlife. About Badgers Badgers are found in most states and are nocturnal members of the weasel family. If you do catch a rare glimpse of one, it’s best to observe from a distance. While they are most likely to scurry away...
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Which Palo Verde Tree is Best for Your Phoenix-Area Yard?

The palo verde tree is Arizona’s state tree, but do you know all of the different types? Both the foothills palo verde and blue palo verde are native to the state, and both of them are the official Arizona state tree (although some have decided that the blue palo verde alone has that honor). Other varieties are hybrids or are native to Mexico, Central America, or South America. In this article, we include: detailed descriptions of five of the most common types of palo verde trees found in the Phoenix area, ways to identify different types of palo verde trees, differences between the palo verde varieties, pros and cons of planting each kind of palo verde, and the best uses for each type. Plus, we’ve included a few of the lesser-known types as well! Keep reading to learn more. About Palo Verde Trees Palo verde trees are easily recognized by...
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Witches’ Broom in Phoenix-Area Trees

Some tree issues have unusual names that don’t seem to have anything to do with their name. But that’s not the case with witches’ broom – oftentimes, this deformity on trees actually looks like a broom. Witches’ broom can pop up on trees (and some shrubs and plants) for a variety of reasons. In this article, we cover how to spot witches broom, what trees in our area are likely to have it, what causes it, how it affects your trees, and what you can do.   What is Witches’ Broom? Witches broom is an abnormality that can appear on many kinds of trees or woody plants. It occurs when many small branches start growing in the same direction, creating a dense, sometimes circular, mass of branches and leaves or needles. What to Look For If you notice branches that are close together and seem to be growing in the...
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Do Leaves Change Color in Phoenix?

Every autumn, leaves throughout much of the country change from green into brilliant hues of red, orange, yellow or burgundy. In the Phoenix area, our low desert climate means that the vibrant fall colors found in cooler climates aren’t as common. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have any bright autumn leaves to admire! When do leaves change color in the Phoenix area? While Northern Arizona, with its higher elevation, sees leaves change during the actual fall season, here in Phoenix the colors change a bit later in the year. It’s not uncommon to see falling leaves next to outdoor Christmas decorations or to see dots of colorful foliage after the new year arrives. While not all trees in our area have leaves that change color, the bright pop of yellow or orange next to our native plants is usually a noticeable change. Look for leaves to change color in...
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Titan Tree Care

Is Mistletoe Killing Your Tree?

If you’ve ever noticed a cluster of what appear to be twigs or small branches concentrated together in your mesquite or palo verde tree, it may in fact be desert mistletoe. Mistletoe is often confused for a nest or hive, but it is a living, growing organism. What is desert mistletoe? Desert or mesquite mistletoe ( Phoradendron californicum ) is a hemiparasite that affects many of our local trees. It doesn't look quite like the traditional mistletoe hung in doorways during the holidays, but that's because it's a different variety. There are over 1,000 distinct species of mistletoe worldwide. The scientific classification of mistletoe, Phoradendron , translates to “thief of a tree,” which is a good way to think about mistletoe. It’s not “death of a tree,” per se, but it does rob your tree of certain things. As a hemiparasite, desert mistletoe attaches itself to a tree and steals...
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Pre-emergent Weed Control: FAQs for Phoenix Residents

If you’re constantly weeding your Phoenix or Anthem area yard, you may want to consider using a pre-emergent treatment to control the problem. These types of herbicides are applied to stop weed seeds from growing and act very differently from the weed killer sprays used after weeds have emerged. We answer the most frequently asked questions about pre-emergent herbicide use below, including what it is, when it should be applied, if it harms your other plants, and more.   What is pre-emergent weed control? The answer is in the name – pre-emergent is applied BEFORE weeds appear. This type of liquid herbicide works to prevent weed seeds from growing . How does pre-emergent herbicide work?   Contrary to popular belief, pre-emergents don’t prevent seeds from germinating . Instead, they prevent a germinated seed from growing any further. Once a seed has germinated, its root absorbs water from the surrounding soil....
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Why Are My Tree’s Leaves Turning Brown in Summer?

As the long summer months in the Phoenix area drag on, you may notice some of your tree or plant leaves turning brown or dying. Property owners often assume that these brown leaves signal a pest or disease issue. In fact, the most common culprits are much more simple: lack of water, too much salt, or incorrect fertilizer use. Dried or brown leaves may appear to be just a cosmetic issue, but they often signal a bigger problem that should be resolved as quickly as possible. Doing nothing will make your tree more susceptible to opportunistic pests or diseases such as palo verde borers . In this article, we go over each cause and what you can to do prevent or solve them, making your leaves green and vibrant and your tree or plant healthy once more! Drought Stress If your leaves look scorched, your leaves may not be receiving...
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Cicadas

When you think of the sounds of summer, one of the most common sounds in the Phoenix and Anthem areas is noise from cicadas. In this article, we go over some common questions about these noisy neighbors, including how they are able to be so loud, if they can damage your trees, and why you generally hear them during the hottest parts of the day.   Are my trees making noise? Summertime in southern Arizona comes with many unique phenomena – monsoons, dust storms, microbursts, flash flooding – and trees that appear to be buzzing or singing. The noisy trees are actually insects called cicadas, cleverly hidden amongst the tree’s branches. Between the projection of their sound, their clever hiding techniques, and their stealthy moves to avoid detection, cicadas are not easily spotted on trees, but they are widely heard. I’ve read about 17-year cicadas, is that what these are?...
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Titan Tree Care

Are Palo Verde Borers Killing Your Trees?

Also known as the palo verde beetle, palo verde root borer, or palo verde borer beetle, Derobrachus hovorei is a longhorn beetle that can sometimes be confused as a cockroach. But, unlike cockroaches, this insect attacks and kills palo verde trees (among others). This pest exists as both a grub (or borer) during its immature phase, and a large beetle during it’s adult stage. What does the adult beetle look like? You’ll recognize the palo verde beetle by its size. As one of the largest beetles in North America, it can be up to three and a half inches long, and that doesn’t include the antennae! The adult beetles are brown or black and have wings, but are rarely seen flying other than during the summer mating season. Adult borers have a tough outer shell, which makes them difficult to kill. You’ll notice these large beetles most often during monsoon...
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What’s Eating My Texas Mountain Laurel?

The Texas mountain laurel is a beautiful, evergreen shrub or small tree, with fragrant purple flowers and one noticeable problem – each summer, the plant may suddenly start losing its new leaves and buds. It looks like something is eating the plant, but it’s not always obvious what’s causing it. In this article, we explain what’s happening, what it does to your Texas Mountain Laurel, whether you should be worried about it, and more. Something seems to be eating my Texas mountain laurel. What is it? It’s most likely genista caterpillars ( Uresiphita reversalis ), which hatch into the broom moth They are known to eat the leaves of both broom plants (genista means “broom”) and Texas mountain laurels. Could it be something else? Texas mountain laurel leaves are toxic to most other kinds of pests, but they don’t affect genista caterpillars. In fact, any predators, such as birds, that...
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Spring-flowering shrubs for your Phoenix-area yard

Spring arrives much sooner in Phoenix than it does in other parts of the United States, with wildflowers popping up as early as February and various flowering shrubs showing off bright colors in March and April. While it’s possible to have something in your Phoenix-area yard bloom almost any time of the year, there’s something special about flowers in spring. Between the colors and the scents, you know that a new season has begun. If you’d like to add some spring-blooming plants or shrubs to your yard, here are some of our top recommendations. All can be found on the Anthem list of approved plants .   Fairy Duster Bring a little magic to your yard with a fairy duster shrub. Evergreen for most of the year, the feathery pink or red flowers appear in late winter through spring. Sometimes they bloom again in fall. The delicate flowers resemble the...
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Titan Tree Care

Why Do Trees Suddenly Fall Over?

We usually think of trees as being strong and stable, anchored by a network of roots underground. So why would your tree, especially one that has weathered storms for years, suddenly fall over or be uprooted? An important note: Urban trees aren’t like trees in nature One thing to understood is that trees in urban or suburban settings have different needs than those that grow naturally in the desert. The soil surrounding houses is usually compacted, has fewer nutrients, leaves less room for tree roots, and is more likely to have some form of irrigation on or near it. These are very different circumstances than a tree in the wild, where decaying plant matter and animal activity leads to nutrient-rich soil, the ground is rarely compacted (especially if its nowhere near where humans regularly tread), has a variety of plant life around it to promote a mycorrhizal network , and...
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Titan Tree Care

Why Planting a Tree in the Phoenix Area is Worth the Water

One of the biggest concerns we hear when we mention planting more trees in our area is the amount of water needed. Water is scarce, so why “waste” it on trees? In our opinion (which is backed up by scientists, forestry workers, arborists, and other members of the green industry), planting a native or desert-adapted tree is well-worth the water it needs to become established. How much water does a desert tree need, really? Most native and adapted trees (trees that have adapted to life in the desert) need far less than you may think! In fact, most survive on rainfall alone after the first 2-3 years (although they’ll happily accept an occasional deep watering during the drier summer months). During the first few years after planting, trees benefit from a long, deep watering at the dripline (where the edge of the tree canopy is). This will help the tree’s...
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Saguaro Cactus: 20 Facts About This Amazing Arizona Cactus

Part of living in the Anthem and Phoenix areas is enjoying the unique variety of native plants. Of course, the most easily recognizable desert plants are different kinds of cactus, including the iconic saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea). The saguaro’s tall stature and curved arms make it stand out, and the flowers it produces in the late spring and summer months are our state flower for a reason! If you’re lucky enough to have them on your property, you know that they need different care than your trees or flowers. Here are some things you may not know about the saguaro cactus: Not all of them grow arms. If well cared-for, they can live 150-200 years or more. Saguaros have quite the system for getting water – they have one deep taproot that can extend into the ground about 3-5 feet deep, but the rest of the roots are only 4-6 inches...
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