The best shade trees for Nevada are those that provide blockage from the sun while thriving in the full sunlight, high heat, drought-like conditions and dry soil of the desert, accompanied by cooler night temperatures. A wide variety of trees are available to Nevada's desert landscape offering low to moderate water use, pleasing visual impact and protection from the sun.
Evergreen holly oak trees (Quercus ilex), also referred to a holm oak trees display simple, dark-green, glossy leaves. This dense, round tree provides substantial shade, thriving in full sun to light shade. Holly oaks have a slow to moderate growth rate and reach a height and width of 30 to 60 feet, according to the Southern Nevada Arborist Group.
The deciduous Chinaberry trees (Melia azedarach), also referred to as Texas umbrella trees, display green leaves and aromatic flowers that bloom during the spring season and resemble lilac flowers, according to the University of Florida IFAS Extension. Thriving in the full light of Nevada, the Chinaberry tree has a fast growth rate, reaching 30 to 50 feet in height and 30 feet in width, according to the Southern Nevada Arborist Group.
The deciduous shade tree common locust (Robinia X ambigua) thrives in poor soil conditions as well as the high heat of the desert. The common locusts display an abundance of flowers reminiscent of wisteria with green foliage. Its flowers are aromatic and particular cultivars bear flowers in rose, pink or magenta, according to the Southern Nevada Arborist Group. Fast-growing common locusts reach a height of 50 feet.
The semi-evergreen lacebark elm (Ulmus parvifolia) displays green foliage that becomes purple and red during the fall season. It earned its name "lacebark" due to its flaky colorful bark that peels away, leaving a lace-like pattern, according to the Southern Nevada Arborist Group. Tolerant to nearly any soil type as well as urban environments, lacebark elm has a fast growth rate and reaches a height of 40 to 50 feet with a width of 35 to 50 feet.