Iconic Desert Tree, The Palo Verde

Blue Palo Verde (Parkinsonia florida)


 When people think of the Sonoran desert, hillsides studded with saguaro cactus and cholla often come to mind.   But interspersed between the cactus, you will find the iconic palo verde trees with their beautiful green trunks and branches.

The word "Palo Verde" means "green stick" in Spanish, referring to their green trunk, which is actually a survival mechanism in response to drought.  

Palo verde trees are "drought deciduous", which means that they will drop their leaves in response to a drought situation.  Their green trunks and branches are able to carry on photosynthesis, even in the absence of leaves. 
 
'Desert Museum' Palo Verde (Parkinsonia hybrid 'Desert Museum')
 
 Palo verde trees act as a "nurse plant" to young saguaro cacti by protecting them from the cold in the winter and from the intense sun in the summer.  Beautiful, yellow flowers are produced in the spring.    
  'Desert Museum' Flower


There are three species of palo verde that are native to the desert Southwest; blue palo verde (Parkinsonia florida), formerly (Cercidium floridum), foothill palo verde (Parkinsonia microphylla), formerly (Cercidium microphyllum) and 'Desert Museum' palo verde (Parkinsonia x 'Desert Museum')

Another species of palo verde that are prevalent in the landscape are called palo brea (Parkinsonia praecox), formerly (Cercidium praecox).  They have a dusty green trunk and branches that twist and turn.  Their cold hardiness range is around 15 to 20 degrees F.

Palo Brea


 PALO VERDE USES: Palo verde trees serve as wonderful specimen trees where their green trunks, branch structure and flowers serve as a wonderful focal point in the landscape.  They are drought tolerant, once established and provide nice filtered shade year-round.  

When deciding where to place your tree, be sure to take into account that they need a lot of room to grow, mature sizes are listed below.  

Palo Verdes don't do well when planted in grass and will decline over time.  Locate away from swimming pools due to flower litter in the spring.
Because of their larger thorns and branching tendency to point downwards, palo brea trees aren't recommended in areas close to foot traffic.  
  
Mature Sizes:
Blue Palo Verde - 30 ft x 30 ft
'Desert Museum' Palo Verde - 30 ft high x 40 ft wide
Palo Brea - 30 ft x 25 ft
Foothills Palo Verde - 20 ft x 20 ft
As with many desert trees, Palo Verde trees have thorns, except for the 'Desert Museum' Palo Verde.  

 
Foothills Palo Verde

  PALO VERDE MAINTENANCE:  Prune to elevate the canopy and maintain good structure.  Avoid hedging and "topping" trees as this stimulates excess, weak growth.

MY FAVORITE: As a landscape manager, horticulturist and arborist, I have grown and maintained all of the palo verde species mentioned and I truly enjoy them all.  However, at home I have 4 'Desert Museum' trees.  In comparison to the other species, their trunks are a deeper green, they produce larger flowers, are thornless and grow very quickly.  In addition, they require little, if any, tree staking when planted. 

For information on other drought tolerant trees, as well as shrubs, perennials, and ground covers, I recommend checking out Mary Irish's book, Arizona Gardener's Guide.






53 comments:

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

Yes, I think I also would prefer the thornless one! Thanks to you, I will know more Phoenix trees' names when go there to visit my relatives.

azplantlady said...

Hi Tatyana. Me too! I used to have a Palo Brea and it was very beautiful, but is sure did get some scratches from the thorns when I was not being careful.

Thank you for the comment!

Barbara said...

Hello! I came across your page while looking for information on how to care for our Palo Verde tree. You mention that pruning is important. Can you please advise on when the best time of year for pruning would be, and how much we should take off? Any input is greatly appreciated!

Noelle said...

Hello Barbara,

Thank you so much for your comment. Palo Verde trees are best pruned in June, once they have finished flowering. As a rule, you should not remove more than 20% of a tree's branches a year. To do so, would put undo stress on the tree, leaving it susceptible to disease and other stresses.

I hope this helps!

Noelle

Barbara said...

Hi Noelle! Thanks for replying. I was hoping to do it during the cooler months but we'll just have to get up really early one morning in June and beat the heat. Thank you for the good info!
Best regards and happy holidays!
Barbara

John & Mary in North PHX said...

Hi Noelle, thank you for this great site! We planted a Desert Museum Palo Verde 8 mos ago. and it's now approx. 12 ft tall and 9 ft wide. A neighbor recently suggested we consider "topping off" the tree if we'd like it to grow a thicker trunk. What are the pros and cons of topping off a Desert Museum Palo Verde? Thanks, John & Mary

Noelle said...

Hello John and Mary,

I am so glad to hear that you have a beautiful Desert Museum Palo Verde. You will enjoy its beauty for years to come. I just love mine:-)

Okay....whatever you do, DO NOT top your Palo Verde tree or any tree for that matter. There are honestly no pros for topping trees. I do have plenty of cons though. First of all, topping DOES NOT lead to a thicker tree trunk. Furthermore, it stresses the tree by removing foliage that it has to work hard to replace, it leaves the upper branches open to sunburn, 'topping' actually causes your tree to grow back faster and the new branches have a weak attachement which can cause them to break off easily...there are many more reasons not to top and you can find them at the following link http://www.treesaregood.com/treecare/topping.aspx

I hope this helps :-)

Anonymous said...

3rd time's the charm!
I have a DMPV in a bed with an almost-native grass meadow, a mix of blue grama & curly mesquite. If it's not irrigated will it be OK together?

Thanks!
Kimberlyn Drew

Noelle said...

Hi Kimberlyn,

If your tree is newly planted in that area, it will need irrigation until it becomes established, which can take 1 - 2 years. Thereafter, it should be okay as long as you water it deeply 3 - 4 times during the summer.

Good Luck :-)

Noelle

Anonymous said...

Thanks Noelle,

I was referring to your comment that PVs will decline if planted with grass. Is my combination OK? Both are pretty well established. The tree is at least 3 years old and doing well, and the area is primarily watered by rainwater runoff from the roof (passive rainwater capture system).

Thanks again,
Kimberlyn
(My first two comments had been more detailed, but it took me three times to get it to stick so I made the final message overly brief.)

Noelle said...

Hello Again Kimberlyn,

The problem with Palo Verde trees grown in grass is largely due to the use of sprinklers. The water leaves salt deposits behind on the trunks, which can affect the photosynthesis rate. So, you should be fine since you don't use sprinklers. I think you are in good shape :-)

Noelle

Unknown said...

Noelle, I have a newly planted small size "museum" palo verde. We planted it in early Feb. We have been watering it once or more a week until it is established, but now the leaves are going yellow, & we think it's gotten too much water. Do you have any suggestions for me? I didn't water it at all this week, do we need to give it some nutrition or just back off and stop watering? Thanks so much, Amy

Noelle said...

Hi Amy,

I think you are right that it has gotten too much water. RIght now, you are doing the best thing by not watering it and letting the soil dry out. Don't add any fertilizer - that will stress your tree even more because it will stimulate to work hard to produce leaves when its roots aren't large enough to support them.

You won't need to fertilize your Palo Verde tree at all through its life. They are used to growing in our soils. For its first year, I would water it deeply (3 ft) every 10 days until November, when you can then back off to once every 15 - 20 days.

I hope this helps.

Noelle

Tina J. O'Keefe said...

Hello! So glad I found this blog. I planted 2 DMPV trees about 18 months ago, and they haven't grown at all!:( They are blooming right now, but not a lot of blooms. I hardly water them, they got a lot of rain water this past winter, and I now water them about every other week. I live in Southern California. Not sure if I am doing something that is stunting their growth? Any ideas? Thanks! Tina

Josh deBerge said...

Hi Noelle,
Thanks for this resource! Quick question. I recety planted 3 DMPV 15 gallon trees. I swear the nuresry told me to give the tree a long watering that floods the 3 foot diameter little 'catch basin' on a daily basis.its day two and it seems a bit excessive. I already have a bit of yellowing on a few of the trees, but i assumed that was from a bit of shock from transplanting. How often, how long, and how much should i be watering them? Thanks.

Josh

Noelle said...

Hi Josh,

I am so glad you are growing Desert Museum Palo Verde trees. They are by far, my favorite desert tree.

The nursery was correct in advising you to water your tree daily - I would do this for the first 4 days. Then you can gradually taper off to every other day for the next 4 days. Then you can go to 3 times a week.

I suspect that the yellowing leaves is a sign of transplant shock. It is always hard when plants are first planted, especially in summer.

Keep a close eye on your tree. You may need to adjust your watering schedule if the soil becomes water-logged.

I hope this is helpful :-)

Noelle

Arid said...

Hi Noelle! I too am glad I found your blog. I recently bought a vacation home in Lake Havasu City, AZ, and am so excited about the prospect of nurturing a desert garden. At the same token, I'm a little worried I'll destroy what has been established. There's a large PV in the front yard, the focal point of the garden. With infrequent summer visits, I am afraid the tree will die without manual irrigation, yet we haven't had time to establish a timed system. I've soaked the tree basin about once a month so far and as of last week, it looks pretty good. Should I worry?

Noelle said...

Hello 'Arid',

Thank you so much for your question. If your Palo Verde tree is established (over 3 - 4 years old). It will probably do fine with infrequent irrigation.

If you have irrigation on plants that surround your tree - your tree will get some water from that.

However, desert trees need deep, infrequent irrigation. When you water, you want to focus on applying the water where the branches end (where they reach out too). This is where most of the roots are located.

Using a hose on a slow trickle, let it thoroughly soak the area for an hour or so and then move to the next area so that the entire outer circumference of the tree is watered.

Water to a depth of 3 ft. You can test how deeply you are watering by using a piece of rebar and pushing it into the soil after watering to see how deep the water penetrates and if you need to apply more.

I hope this is helpful :-)

Noelle (azplantlady)

Amber Bailey said...

Hello. I live in Scottsdale, AZ I have 3 large desert museums in my yard and they are very healthy. The lower branches are really starting to spread out and getting a little low over my pool and over my driveway. I am going to have them professionally pruned, but it's the beginning of September. I read that you recommend June for pruning. Will they be okay if pruned in early Sept?

Thanks!

Noelle said...

Hello Amber,

Actually, I just had to do the same thing to my new Palo Verde tree. You can prune it a little right now - but try to avoid pruning any more then you have too.

In a given year, you should never prune more then 20% of a tree's branches.

Good Luck!
Noelle

Carter Madson said...

Thanks for sharing! I recently just planted the first pic of the desert tree in my yard. I love how the trunk and branches are green. It makes it look like there's moss which would give the year the illusion that you don't actually live in a dry desert wasteland ;) I did just mulch my yard, will that hurt the tree?

Noelle said...

Hello Carter,

Too much mulch near the tree can cause problems. An inch of mulch will be fine over the root zone of the tree (the part underneath the tree canopy from the trunk out to the outer branches). Keep mulch at least 6" away from the trunk of the tree or else you can have problems with fungal infections of the trunk.

Good luck!
Noelle / azplantlady

Crimsonidle said...

I feel lucky to have found this page. My wife and I bought a 5 gallon palo verde on Sunday. My goal was to get it in the ground quickly. I planted it, unfortunately at 2 pm it was about 85 degrees. I included miraccle grow soil for trees and shrubs at the bottom and sides as well as with the soil it had in the planter. The hole I dug is roughly 3 ft deep. It was really hard to dig that hole as the ground is really hard here in AZ. I used water to help with the digging so the hole would be moist for planting. We watered that night, Monday and Tuesday at least 5 gallons of water each time. After reading some things on the internet I did not water it last night. The soil appears to still be damp. The leaves are turning yellow now but the yellow flowers are still blooming. We gave it a vitamin mixture in the water on Tuesday.

My question is have we gave it too much water or not enough? Did we make a mistake with the vitamin additive? Is the soil we put it in ok? What can I do to ensure it survives? Please help, my wife will be devastated if we lose this tree. We planted one previously two years ago with no success, but I am certain it is because the dogs peed on it constantly. We are protecting this new tree so that they cannot go near it.

Crimsonidle said...

I feel lucky to have found this page. My wife and I bought a 5 gallon palo verde tree on Sunday. My goal was to get it into the ground quickly so after digging the hole (4 hours) we planted it around 2 pm. It was about 90 degrees that day. The soil was hard to dig, so we also purchased a bag of miracle grow soil for trees and shrubs. We watered it that night, Monday night and Tusday the leaves had turned yellow so I purchased a vitamin mixture for the water and watered it Tuesday night. 5 gallons each night. after reading a few other things on the internet and did not water last night. The ground is still damp about two inches underneath the top soil. The leaves are almost all yellow and it appears as though it may not make it. Which would devistate my wife as she has always wanted a palo verde tree.

Have we over watered? did the vitamin mixture make the shock worse? at this point what can I do to ensure it survives?

Noelle Johnson said...

Hello Crimsonidle,

You have asked some great questions. Palo verde trees are easy to grow, aren't fussy and don't need any special soil or vitamin mixture.

All plants suffer transplant shock when planted. That and/or the condition of the tree when you bought it could be the reason that the leaves turned yellow. The leaves will fall, but should be quickly replaced by the tree.

Trees should be watered to a depth of 2 - 3 feet. Here is a helpful timetable created by experts for watering new desert trees: Every day for the first week, twice a week through June, 2X a month July through October and once a month in winter.

Next year, water 2X a month spring through fall and once a month in winter.

As long as the branches stay green and leaves begin to grow back, your tree should be okay and recover. However, if you notice growing of the branches, then I would recommend starting over.

Good Luck!
Noelle 'azplantlady'

Boblkbas said...

Back in the Spring,I planted a 20 gallon palo verde, here in SoCal, a few miles from the Desert. It was sort of thin but already had some flowers when I bought it. I filled the hole with water when I planted it. One day weeks later I noticed that all the leaves were gone, such that I thought either they all fell off or something ate them. However upon close inspection I have seen neither bugs of any type nor honey-dew on the tree. I thought I had maybe been under-watering, so I started watering more, 2 or 3 times per week, and fertilized. In a week or so I noticed new foliage growth...for about a week, then suddenly AGAIN, all the leaves, GONE. This has happened twice now. Help?

Noelle Johnson said...

Hello Bob,

The first time you lost the leaves is most likely due to transplant shock. All plants go through a type of shock when being moved from one environment into another. Any jostling of the roots can increase the problem and can lead to leaf loss.

The second time you lost the leaves was due to overwatering. Also, palo verde trees do not need fertilizer - they are adapted to growing in poor soils with low nutrients.

Here is a general guideline for watering new trees:
First year -
Every day for the first week
Twice a week through June
Once a week from June until fall
Twice a month in fall and spring
Once a month in winter

2 - 5 years after planting-
Twice a month spring and summer
Once month fall and winter

I hope this helps!

Noelle 'azplantlady'

Noelle Johnson said...

Hello Bob,

The first time you lost the leaves is most likely due to transplant shock. All plants go through a type of shock when being moved from one environment into another. Any jostling of the roots can increase the problem and can lead to leaf loss.

The second time you lost the leaves was due to overwatering. Also, palo verde trees do not need fertilizer - they are adapted to growing in poor soils with low nutrients.

Here is a general guideline for watering new trees:
First year -
Every day for the first week
Twice a week through June
Once a week from June until fall
Twice a month in fall and spring
Once a month in winter

2 - 5 years after planting-
Twice a month spring and summer
Once month fall and winter

I hope this helps!

Noelle 'azplantlady'

Ted Verschueren said...

My Palo Verde tree about six weeks ago lost all of its leaves. The branches also have all these small bumps all over them. I have another Palo Verde in My back yard and front yard which both are healthy. There is also some brown spots developing from the trunk outward toward some of the branches. Is there anyway to save it? Any help would be greatly appreciated

Noelle Johnson said...

Hello Ted,

I'm sorry to hear about your palo verde tree. The fact that it lost its leaves points to some sort of stress. Palo verde trees are known to lose their leaves during times of drought, however, there can be a host of other problems that are causing the brown spots, including insect damage.

I advise you to enlist the services of a certified arborist in your area who can look closely at your affected tree as well as those that are just beginning to show signs.

I hope this helps!
Noelle 'azplantlady'

Steven Edwards said...

I am an arborist in Los Angeles and I have a client with a underperforming 'Desert Museum'. I was called to their house in November approx. 8 months after the tree was planted; a 48" box from a reputable local nursery. The leaves have turned from green to grey, and much of these grey leaves fail to fall off the tree. They said the tree was planted in the pit atop a mound of gravel and filled in with native soil. The gravel concerns me, as I would never recommend this practice. I told them to turn off all irrigation until March.

We are now in March and the owner has stated that the tree has begun to sprout new leaves, but again, they are quickly turning grey. Do you have any clues as to the problem?

Noelle Johnson said...

Hello Steven. It sounds like it is being over-watered. Here is a link where you can find recommended watering guidelines for desert trees - both newly planted and established. http://www.amwua.org/landscape_watering_brochure.html

Following the recommended watering schedule should help your client's 'Desert Museum'.

Noelle

Cathy said...

Hi,
I live in Southern California, Orange County. I just bought the 15 gallon Desert Museum Palo Verde. This is my first time planting this tree.
It is July now so should I wait until October to plant it in the ground? Can I plant it close to my lawn area? Hw long can it stay in the 15 gallon pot?

Thanks,
Cathy

Noelle Johnson said...

Hi Cathy,

Great questions! Go ahead and plant your tree now. Refrain from doing any pruning since your new tree will need to make as much food for itself via photosynthesis. Also transplanting is a stressful process as is pruning, so it's best to wait a few months before pruning. I would keep it at least 10 ft away from your lawn area.

I hope this helps! You are going to love your new tree 😃

Mrs. Heald said...

I just rescued one from the clearance aisle at a Big Box store. My zip is 92345. Should I keep in my garage until Spring or can I plant now? Will it need special frost protection this winter?

Noelle Johnson said...

Hello Mrs. Heald,

You can go ahead and plant it now since fall is the best time for planting. Protect it from freezing temps through its first winter and enjoy this lovely tree.

I hope this helps!
Noelle 'AZ Plant Lady'

Oldguy said...

I planted a 5 gal. size Thornless Palo Verde several months ago. Some of the leaves are turning yellow. I planed a 2nd tree at the same time, and the leaves on that tree are maintaining the green color.
Thank you for any advice.
Bob Autrey

Noelle Johnson said...

Hello Bob,

It sounds like you can be having a problem with one of your trees being planted too deeply. Dirt often settles after planting, causing new plants to sink down slightly. Lightly scrape away the soil underneath the tree until you see tiny roots or the trunk begins to slowly flare out.

I hope this helps!

Noelle 'AZ Plant Lady'

Scott Millichamp said...

Thank you for the great resource and all the helpful information! We live in Midland, TX and bought two 15-gallon Desert Museum Palo Verdes in December, getting them in the ground December 26th (on a very warm day). We noticed a few weeks ago that the bark of both trees had been chewed by (presumably) some rodent - one tree has lost bark entirely around the main trunk, and the other tree has lost it around most but not all of the main trunk. The trees had been green and leafy but are now shriveled and with brown leaves. Do you have any recommendations what we should do from here? Some have told us to simply cut the trees both down to the ground and let them spring back up (but this time with some rodent protection!). Is there any chance we can salvage both trees as they are? Or are they both completely goners? I suppose our inclination may be to cut them to the ground in hopes they'll bounce back nicely and with their trunks fully intact, since even if the trees survive as they are I imagine they'll have large, permanent scars where they have been chewed away, which would of course not be our preference; however, we are totally new to Palo Verdes and relatively new to desert xeriscaping so we welcome whatever advice you may have to offer. Thanks very much for your time and help!

Noelle Johnson said...

Hello Scott,

You will need to cut the tree that has been chewed all around back t the ground since it can't transport nutrients. Since you have two, I would get ahead and do the same with other one. The should great w back nicely and as they blow, select 3 main branches (stems) to allow them grow into the new tree and prune the rest away.

You will enjoy your palo verde trees and I hope that your are able to keep the rodents at bay.

Best,
Noelle

SR said...

Hello Noelle,

My research on PVDM's landed me here on your cool site!

I live in the SF Bay Area (zone 9b) and am contemplating replacing 3 large and messy eucalyptus trees with a PVDM but wondering about 2 things:

1. How messy are the flower and leaf droppings (broadly speaking)?
2. Since PVDM is a sterile hybrid, is there any pollen still? If so, is this pollen generally an allergen?

Looking forward to your response.

Marc

Noelle Johnson said...

Hello Marc,

Thank you for your question. I apologize for not addressing it sooner.

Desert Museum Palo Verde trees are a rather clean tree other than in late spring/early summer when its dropping flowers cause a mess.

From what I have heard from several experts, Desert Museum palo verdes don't cause allergies. Rather, trees with smaller pollen do.

I hope that this helps you in your decision.

Best,
Noelle

SR said...

Thank you for the response! I am even more inclined to get this tree now--sooner 😀

Noelle Johnson said...

You are very welcome!

VP said...

I am thinking of planting a Desert Museum Palo Verde in a corner of the backyard, about 3 to 4 ft away from the block-wall fence. The intention is to distract people from the "ugly" look of the cement blocks, so I want to keep the DMPV bushy and low. However, you mentioned in earlier comments that the tree should not be topped off. How do I keep the tree small then? Please help. Thank you very much.

Noelle Johnson said...

Hello VP,

Unfortunately, the Desert Museum Palo Verde is a poor choice for planting so close to the wall. They can grow 30 to 40 feet tall and wide and there is no way to keep it small without constant pruning, which is detrimental to the tree's health and appearance.

I recommend selecting a large shrub that has been pruned into a tree to fill that area instead and screen out the ugly block wall.

I hope this helps :-)

Noelle - AZ Plant Lady

VP said...

Thanks, Noelle, for your advice. I will find another spot fot the DMPV for I like it so much. Back to square one to find a cover for the block wall. :)
Is there anything you can suggest? I'm in usda zone 10b.
Thank you again.
VP.

Noelle Johnson said...

Hello Again VP,

The best advice I can give you is to visit your local nursery and look at large shrubs that have been pruned into trees. Make note of the ones that you like and research how large they become. You are looking at one that is approximately 10 ft. wide or smaller. If you want to plant a tree 4 ft. from your wall, your best bet is using a large shrub, whose roots are less likely to cause cracking or problems with the wall.

It's best to avoid planting something that will grow too large and have to remove it later. Again, I hope this helps :-)

Goldie said...

I'm so glad that I found this site, and I hope that you can help us! We have a PV in the front yard that broke during a windstorm. The remaining portion couldn't be cut in a safe way, so it was cut back to a 3' stump and left to sprout (our HOA requires a tree there). Well, it's sprouting like crazy! So many sprouts and they're heavy--the tree looks like a shrub right now. How do we maintain the tree in a way that encourages healthy growth back into a tree (and not this crazy sprouting thing)? Many thanks for your advice!

Noelle Johnson said...

Hello Goldie,

I would select 3 of the largest sprouts, making sure that they are evenly spaced around the trunk. Then prune off the others. Allow the three to remain and removing any new sprouts from the trunk. As the remaining sprouts grow, they will form new branches. Gradually, prune up the new branches on the three main branches as needed to create a tree shape.

I hope this helps!

Paul Rogalsky said...

Noelle:
Thank you so much for your wonderful, informative, and practical blog. We are relatively new to the desert (Chandler, AZ) and one of our favorite things about our home is the beautiful DMPV that is the centerpiece of the front yard. The tree is boxed in on three sides - 12' from the front of the house, 10' from the driveway, and 8' from the sidewalk. The fourth side is unrestricted. For the past two years, I have been pruning as little as possible, only enough to keep it off of the roof of the house and car, providing clearance for pedestrians, and thinning out where branches are criss-crossing. The tree has two trunks over a foot in diameter and two smaller trunks about 4" in diameter. Each of the large trunks has four large branches that spread out nicely at about 5", creating the canopy. The smaller trunks grow out from the base of the tree at 60 degree angles and then level out over the sidewalk and driveway. Their branches do not provide any of the canopy. I have received unsolicited advice that the two smaller trunks should be cut off. Cutting off the smaller trunks would make the maintenance pruning marginally easier, but I don't want to risk injuring our tree. Would the tree benefit in any way by cutting off the smaller trunks?

Noelle Johnson said...

Hello Paul,

Welcome to Arizona! Your tree sounds beautiful and your descriptions were helpful. You can go ahead and prune off the smaller trunks, keeping the priority in keeping the 4 major branches. The guideline for how much to safely remove from a tree is to prune off NO more than 20% of a tree's branches/foliage in a given year. That should help you as you move forward in deciding on what you can keep and safely remove. When in doubt, I recommend that you entail the services of a certified arborist, who can help. If you need the name of someone in your area, just let me know and I can give you a referral.

I hope this helps!

Noelle - AZ Plant Lady

Paul Rogalsky said...

Noelle:
Thank you very much for your advice. Other than the smaller trunks, all I need to do is a little thinning to provide clearance for the sidewalk and house, so I'm not close to 20%.

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