Springs Preserve to celebrate heritage trees

A strong movement has taken root in Nevada to save large specimen trees. Developers often destroy these giants and, in most cases, lose the gene pool.

The Springs Preserve has become part of the push to preserve heritage specimens.

In the late 1970s and ’80s, the Desert Demonstration Gardens planted many desert-loving trees and they grew to be quite stately before the gardens closed. Not wanting to lose these trees, the district moved them to the Springs Preserve, and they’ve done well despite the severe shock they experienced. The preserve now calls them heritage trees.

Come view these stunning toughies at 10:30 a.m. Saturday and Oct. 30 at the Springs Preserve, 333 S. Valley View Blvd.

These legacy trees will do well in your landscape. You can train them to be single- or multitrunked, and they have spreading-canopy habits and tolerate our alkaline soils.

Texas Ebony is one of my favorites. This evergreen reaches 30 feet high and wide, and its branches develop interesting zigzag patterns. Small fragrant, creamy-colored flowers appear early in the summer, and the trees bloom again during summer rains. Large, dark brown pods become dominant and ideal for floral arrangements. It’s a good screening tree or can be trained into a bonsai tree. Historically, the seedpods were used as a coffee substitute.

Chaste tree is a Middle East native grown as a large shrub or a small, multitrunked tree reaching 20 feet tall and wide. Fragrant purple, blue, violet or white flowers appear over a long period in the spring, summer and fall. They appear on new wood, so do your pruning during the winter. The lengthy flowering time keeps the butterflies and hummingbirds coming.

Bay laurel, which also is native to the Middle East, can reach 60 feet tall. The plant’s large glossy leaves are a source of several popular spices used in Mediterranean cuisines and also have medicinal uses. Clusters of small yellow flowers appear in spring, but it’s known more for its foliage. Bay laurel prefers partial shade and is sensitive to frost damage but will survive.

Blue palo verde gets about 30 feet tall and wide. The green trunk aids in photosynthesis. The tree drops its leaves to conserve moisture during stressful times. Its bright yellow flowers are showstoppers, covering the entire canopy in the late spring. Its filtered shade can help lawns survive.

Screwbean mesquite gets 30 feet high and wide. Its attractive accented bark becomes “shaggy” with age. Yellow flowers cover the tree in late spring and become a source of nectar for insects and hummingbirds. It gets its name from the corkscrewlike seedpods. Screwbean mesquite provides filtered shade and screens out unsightly walls and unwanted views.

Escarpment live oak is a dense tree often confused with coastal live oak. Its thick tapering trunk holds a dense and gnarled canopy of branches developing into a nice shade tree that reaches 40 feet high and wide. Its insignificant flowers produce inch-long acorns.

Valley oak can reach more than 100 feet tall and wide and is found naturally in California’s valleys and foothills. It is deciduous. Many Native American tribes valued the tree for its acorns, which produce a watery, edible mush.

GARDENING CLASS

University of Nevada Extension master gardeners in conjunction with Henderson Parks and Recreation have a few “Tricks and Treats” up their sleeves to introduce kids to plant projects as Halloween approaches. The class is at 9 a.m. Saturday, at Acacia Park, 50 Casa Del Fuego St. in Henderson.

BACKYARD ROSE EXPO

Master rosarians Lee Heenan, John Vinson, and Dick and Jackie Jackson from the South Valley Rose Society in cooperation with Nevada Cooperative Extension will help you in exhibiting roses. The event is at 6 p.m. Thursday at 8050 Paradise Road. For more information, call 257-5555.

Linn Mills writes a garden column each Sunday. You can reach him at linn.mills@ springspreserve.org or 822-7754.

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