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New Mexico Guide to Growing Trees

Do you want to grow your trees? New Mexico has a lot of different types of trees that thrive in the area, and this guide will give you all the information on how to plant and take care of them. Read through our list and tips!

trees in new mexico

The Best Flowering Trees to Grow in New Mexico

Prairie Fire Daylily

The Prairie Fire Daylily is loved by gardeners for its sunny color scheme: a center ring of coral red offset by huge blooms in the typical five-inch, six-petaled flower pattern. This perennial thrives in barren northern areas and humid southern climates with few complaints and can grow on a variety of soil types.

Prairie fire daylilies as the perfect flowers for a sunny garden. These trees have bright flowers that will warm up your yard year-round. They not only provide color all year but thrive and bloom when other plants or flowers have faded away. Plant prairie fires with taller plants like grasses, small shrubs, or even in pots to add some interest to your patio area!

Planting & Care

Prairie Fire Daylilies prefer to be planted in full sun; they need six to eight hours of light per day. To plant your Daylilies in the ground, select an area with well-drained soil and dig a hole that is deep enough to accommodate the roots. Next, place your new plant and backfill it with soil. Finally, water the area to settle its roots. When planting a container plant, find a pot that is double the dimensions of your original plant container. Fill with organic soil and place your plant in this new pot making sure it has holes for drainage.

It’s important to water your Daylilies about once every week for the plant to stay healthy. To avoid overwatering, just place a finger 2 inches down into the soil and wait 10 seconds–if it is dry, it’s time to water.

Eastern Redbud

The Eastern Redbud, which is prized for its vibrant pink flowers and blooms early each year, marks the transition from winter to spring. This tree’s leaves change color throughout the seasons but require no upkeep or guesswork like many flowering trees.

Despite its delicate appearance, the Eastern Redbud is one of the hardiest trees. It’s strong enough to withstand temperatures as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit and resists ice damage with ease! Plus, it grows well in all sorts of soil types. You get a rounded canopy that provides privacy and blocks the sun without all the work a flowering tree requires.

One of the best reasons to grow Eastern Redbuds is that they can fit into any size garden. Their vibrant spring flowers, powdery green leaves, and wide-reaching branches will turn your garden’s appearance from bleak to brilliant in no time at all.

Planting & Care

Select planting areas with well-drained soil and at least four to six hours of sunshine. Dig a hole that is twice the size of your tree’s root ball and as deep. Place the tree in the hole and backfill with soil, checking to make sure it is stable before adding any more. Be sure to water thoroughly and mulch around the base of your tree with 3-4 inches of organic material (smells nice).

When watering a newly planted tree make sure to water the soil next to it, not just from the bottom of the root ball. This way you will have a better idea if your tree needs water sooner than you might think. Years vary, but it is safe to say that after one year your Redbud can thrive on rainfall alone. We recommend checking the soil level and watering if needed.

In early spring, apply compost or a complete fertilizer every 6 months to the root zone of the plant, following label instructions. Unnecessary or crossing branches should be removed in early summer after the tree has finished blooming. When you need to trim branches, do not leave any stubs and space your cuts gradually over a few months. In late winter, remove dead or damaged wood and shoot from the bottom of the trunk.

The Best Shade Trees in New Mexico

Red Sunset Maple Tree

The Red Sunset Maple is one of the best varieties on the market for delivering deeply colorful foliage weeks before other varieties. With deep, dazzling red hues that develop up to one month in advance, this tree provides a rich array of fall colors as soon as October or November.

The Red Sunset Maple tree is an instant sensation, displaying rich, vivid color where other maples can’t. Whether you’re in a climate with temperatures down to -20 degrees or if it’s hot, the Red Sunset variety of trees tends to take on intense colors. It is more drought-resistant than other varieties too, so it maintains it is great-looking despite little water consumption. Plus, its strong branching stands up to high winds and sustained storms well also.

Easily grown in a variety of locations, the Red Sunset Maple tree displays brilliant colors. Plant one near your front walkway and marvel at its vibrant hues that gracefully change with different times of the day.

Planting & Care

First, choose a full to partial sun location. Any area with a maximum of 6 hours of direct sunlight and well-drained soil is best for this Red Sunset tree. Dig a hole in the dirt. Fill with enough soil and water to get your tree settled. Remember, a minimum of four feet should be between the tree and anything that could damage it.

When planting a Red Sunset Maple, you should initially water it during dry spells for the first few years. Generally, It should survive well enough with rainfall alone. When preparing to cut your tree down, do it after the buds break in late winter. Cutaway dead or damaged branches to the nearest healthy bud at any time of year.

Willow Hybrid Tree

Create your lush privacy fence. The Willow Hybrid grows an average of 6 feet each year, filling out to create a solid green wall. It’s excellent for creating a green screen because it thrives across the country and works in any climate or zone.

One of the best things about Willow Hybrids? They are deciduous and come in a variety of sizes. The willow hybrids thrive in nearly every type of soil, which is why many landscapers love them. 

Planting & Care

These trees are great for instant privacy screens since they can be planted 5 feet apart. For more space, consider planting them 20 to 30 feet apart with some in a straight line and others staggered. They grow best in full sun to partial shade (4-8 hours of sunlight per day). Planting these during any time when the ground isn’t frozen will give them an easy establishment period with quick growth rates.

When planting a tree, make sure to dig the hole deep enough – it should be as wide as the root ball, but twice as deep. Fill with soil and water to settle. To help trees establish, use tree gators or water reservoirs to provide them with drips of water.

Water Willow Hybrids daily after planting then every other day for two weeks. Then water once a week for three months and every other week thereafter, until they’ve been in the ground for six months unless it is very hot or dry. If you live in an area that doesn’t receive rain often, or your trees are thirsty during the summer, water them every week. Twenty seconds of watering is usually enough for one tree (not counting extra watering needed once a season).

The Willow Hybrid tree takes well to pruning when it is necessary. Dead branches should be cut back to the trunk, stopping no closer than an inch before the trunks’ bark. The cuts will heal themselves and won’t harm current growth. To make your hedge grow fuller, trim once a year in winter, as it encourages branching out more quickly during summer months.

For hybrid willows, mulch annually with shredded hardwood bark to keep the soil slightly moist. Do not cover the trunk of the tree; instead, leave a three-inch layer extending three feet from the trunk for best results. Willow Hybrid trees don’t need to be fertilized because they grow without it.

The Best Fruit Trees in New Mexico

Golden Raspberry

Grow mouth-watering raspberries with excellent flavor. These vigorous plants produce plump, juicy raspberries that are golden-colored and have ornamental value. You should be harvesting these berries from late June until October. These berries are high in antioxidants and are considered an important aspect of good health. 

The Golden Raspberry thrives almost anywhere in the US and can be grown in just about any type of soil and prefers sunny spots. Its compact size makes it suitable for even the smallest of gardens, while its resistance to cool weather and drought means it will flourish there. A garden with these beauties is a treasure and you can’t go wrong planting them all over!

Planting & Care

The location you choose for your raspberry bushes should provide a sunny space with good air circulation, and the soil should be fertile. If high winds are a common occurrence then this is not an appropriate place, nor is it if there are wild blackberries nearby spreading diseases to your plants. Black and red raspberries must be planted a minimum of 100 feet away from each other to avoid cross-pollination.

Plant your raspberries early in the spring, if possible. Plant them a week before planting, and prepare the soil with compost or aged manure. The best place to plant it where it won’t get any frost but not too close to sea coasts as the salt fog will damage roots. The width and depth of the hole should be double that of the root ball. Plant rows 8 feet apart, with 3 feet spacing between plants, for a patterned look. It is best for trellises to start as close by as possible to create an uninterrupted structure once they get fully grown.

Raspberry plants need plenty of water and should be watered at least 1 inch per week. They may need more during hot, dry weeks, but it is important not to overwater them. You should use compost with a small amount of balanced organic fertilizer and spread mulch to maintain moisture and discourage weed growth.

Raspberry stems have two different plant stages, Primocanes and Floricanes. Prune about 2 years after planting to maintain a healthy ecosystem for the raspberry plant by cutting off any sideways-growing stems and 6 of the strongest preferentially green canes that are around 12 inches in height.

Your raspberry plants may be susceptible to powdery mildew. This fungus can rob them of vital nutrients and weaken the plant. It looks like a dusting of flour and usually starts in circular white spots. Remove all infected leaves/fruit, and make sure never to use these parts for composting or cooking. To cure, use fungicide containing sulfur or neem oil.

American Hazelnut Filbert

The American Hazelnut is a prolific and easy to tame shrub that thrives in eastern U.S. woodlands and prairies, well suited for garden living. Planted and left to take root for just 1-3 years will yield up to 25 pounds of sweet, nutty nuts. Hazelnuts are mainly known for their rich flavor and versatility, but they also have medicinal benefits to offer. Compared to grain or nut, the kernel is easily extracted and provides many protein-rich nutrients. The goodness of these kernels comes in the raw or lightly toasted form.

This native tree can grow vertically over eighteen feet and has large, sparse leaves. Once mature, the foliage of a River Birch is fluffy with hairs and varies in shades from red-brown to golden-yellow.

Hazelnut shade trees produce nuts that forest inhabitants enjoy. Squirrels, rabbits, deer, and a variety of birds love their tasty but nutrient-rich nuts. Male flowers provide food for whiskered animals in winter, while the tree’s leaves are also nutritious to other woodland creatures. This is a hardy plant that takes little to no work. The hazelnut bush has roots in America and can withstand many different climates, Even though it is fairly small, the American Hazelnut fits into most environments. It can be pruned for size and shape needs, while its broad leaves make it perfect for privacy or windbreaks.

Planting & Care

The American Hazelnut Filbert grows well in slightly acidic to near-neutral soil, but it will not grow in soils with a pH above 7. For acidity, sulfur can be added as an amendment. Add granular fertilizers only if you are after flowers and nuts; an excessive dose will inhibit flowering. Depending on their environment, they would rather be found in loamy soil with slightly acidic properties.

Plant in late winter or early spring once the frost is out of the ground. Make a hole wide enough to fit your container and fill it with water, then let it drain into the surrounding soil to loosen up the dirt. If the root mass has natural material like burlap around it, remove the wires or rope and pull the burlap away from the base of the bush. If the covering is synthetic, remove it completely. If root bound, cut any stray roots near the top with sharp hand pruners.

The shrub should be level with the ground in your garden. Extend out the level of this hole to accommodate how deep it is in its pot. Fill this hole, and then water thoroughly. Leave a moat around the root ball made out of the soil that you weren’t able to fill back into the hole. Mulching should be about 1-2” away from the base of the shrub, and any root suckers that might appear on a new plant need to be cut off just below ground level.

The first year after planting is an important period in a shrub’s growth. Water often, as you would with plants for the rest of your life. After the second year, it will start to take care of itself and conserve water more efficiently. Filberts should avoid fertile soils with too much fertilizer, as the plants will often put all of their energy into growing foliage and few if any flowers.

Mulch will cover up weeds. If your planting site is covered with sod, remove the sod and replace it with child-friendly soil. The most common disease is ‘eastern filbert blight’. Consult your local Cooperative Extension or Nursery for tips on identifying the disease and controlling its spread. Leaf roller moths are a common problem when they hatch. In the larval stage, these insects can roll leaves and create webs under branches as they feed on them. Though insecticides provide little to no relief-cut off affected branches and dispose of them far away from the site or by burning.

When pruning, do so in the winter. Aim for an open orientation of the branches and shoots for improved air circulation. Cleanliness and sharp tools are important to prevent fungus from infecting your tree’s bark. When removing old growth, cut clear to the ground. One-third of the oldest branches should be removed at a time and overcrowded areas should be thinned out while crossing branches are cut off as they inhibit open growth. Fallen branches should also be removed from the root area.

When is The Best Time to Plant Trees in New Mexico

The best time to plant trees in New Mexico is from November through March. The months of April and May are too hot for new trees, but you can always water them with a sprinkler system or soaker hose during these two months to help keep the soil moist while they’re establishing themselves. 

Can You Plant All Season Long?

The short answer is yes, you can plant all season long in New Mexico. In the winter months, trees may be dormant and not grow at all during this period as there are fewer hours of sunlight per day to help promote growth. If you live in an area with harsh winters where conditions such as frost heave can make tree planting difficult or impossible for a certain period, it’s wise to wait until spring when your local nurseries re-open before enjoying these activities again.

What are The Best Trees to Plant Each Season in New Mexico

Springtime

The three best types of trees to plant in the springtime in New Mexico are Redbuds, Dogwood, and Lilacs.

Summertime

The four best types of trees to plant during the summer in New Mexico are Maple, Junipers, Acacia, and Elm.

Fall time

The best trees to plant in the fall in New Mexico are Poplars, Cottonwoods, and Redcedar.

Wintertime

Snowdrops will bloom in early Winter which is a beautiful flower that can be planted with Cedar or Pine Trees during this season. Other trees to plant include Ginkgos, limes, and Sorbus Trees.

What Trees Have The Least Invasive Roots in New Mexico

The least invasive trees in New Mexico are Buffaloberry, Rice Paper Birch, and Chokecherry Tree. These three species of trees grow fast enough to make up for the lost nutrients from their roots so they don’t have a significant effect on the environment while also providing an excellent habitat for wildlife. They provide berries that animals like bears enjoy as well as leaves which can be used by humans to brew tea or create herbal remedies. These particular types of plants will help with erosion because each year they add more sand into the soil below them than is taken away through erosion caused by heavy downpours during thunderstorms.