Fortunately, there are several trees native to the Western U.S. that are hardy enough to survive even the driest years. Read on for four attractive trees that can grow and even thrive in unseasonably dry conditions.
The cypress tree, a type of evergreen, is prized as an ornamental or border tree because of its ultra-fast rate of growth, adding up to several feet of height each year. Cypress trees are drought-resistant, although a lengthy drought can slow their growth somewhat, making them perfect for Nevada's climate. You may want to consider planting a row of cypress trees around the border of your property in lieu of a privacy fence or even outside your windows to prevent the entry of direct sunlight.
This tree is a great option if you're in need of shade and don't have the next several decades to wait for a slower-growing variety to reach its maximum height. Like cypresses, California sycamore trees are fast growers, reaching a height of anywhere from 40 to 100 feet after growing around 24 inches per year; however, unlike cypresses, which tend to grow straight up, California sycamores have a wide canopy and can generate a tremendous amount of shade for your home or lawn.
If your home sits directly in the path of the sun, or if you have quite a few east- and west-facing windows, your yard may benefit from a California sycamore to provide shade and prevent direct sunlight from entering your home during the hottest parts of day.
Because California sycamore trees can reach or sometimes exceed 100 feet in height, it's important to keep your surroundings in mind when planting seedlings. You don't want to plant this tree too close to your property boundary and find yourself in a dispute with your neighbor (or worse, plant it too close to a sewer line and face plumbing problems due to root infiltration).
An attractive evergreen tree, the holly oak is uniquely drought-resistant and hardy. It can stand up to strong winds much better than many larger or more robust trees, ideal for those who live in a flat part of the state without any nearby windbreaks. In fact, you may consider surrounding your home with holly oak trees to protect it from storm or wind damage (or simply to reduce the amount of dusting and sweeping you'll need to do after a sandstorm).
The holly oak tree grows much more slowly than the California sycamore or cypress, adding only about 12 inches of height each year until it reaches maturity. This slow growth is part of what makes the holly oak so durable; faster-growing trees often have a less defined root structure, making them more vulnerable to being uprooted in a severe storm or flash flood.
This tree can seem out of place outside a Georgia plantation, but is actually well-suited to Nevada's hot, dry climate. This magnolia tree boasts green, glossy leaves and bright white flowers at the end of spring; although it looks like a deciduous tree, it stays green year-round.
The southern magnolia will reach a mature height of 40 to 60 feet, growing at a fairly sedate 12 inches per year until this point. This tree has a wide canopy compared to most evergreens, making it a great shade tree or focal point for your yard.
If you're interested in adding some foliage to your yard this year, you'll generally want to consult with a tree service first to ensure the species you plant will thrive in your yard and won't pose any future problems if they grow larger (or more quickly) than expected.