Trees for You

Receive a rebate for planting trees around your home

The Trees for You program offers rebates to UES electric service customers for the purchase of two qualified desert-adapted shade trees.

Homes built before 1980 or homes with single-pane windows can receive up to four qualified desert-adapted trees. Customers receive the rebate in the form of a credit on their UES electric bill, up to $15 for each five-gallon or larger tree purchased after Sept. 30, 2008.

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Trees provide shade and help cool the air

Shading reduces the radiant energy absorbed and stored by surfaces, including walls, pavement and gravel yards.

  • In addition to energy savings, trees benefit the community by:
  • Providing habitat for wildlife
  • Absorbing air and water pollution
  • Controlling storm water runoff, soil erosion and wind
  • Reducing carbon dioxide (CO2), a greenhouse gas

All residential electric service customers of UES are eligible for Trees for You rebates. Rebates are also available to commercial properties and schools as long as the program requirements are met, including tree choices and planting and maintenance guidelines.

Ready to plant trees?

Before signing up, review the Trees for You program guidelines.

Sign Up

Qualifying Trees

Five types of trees qualify for the program. They include:


  • Moderate to fast growth to 25 feet tall by 25 feet wide
  • High pollen
  • Some thorns possible
  • Seed pod litter
  • Low water use once established after several years
  • Drops some or all leaves depending on the cold winter temperature
  • Not acceptable for planting on south side of building
Mesquite Tree bloom

Blue Palo Verde

  • Moderate to fast growth to 20 feet tall by 25 feet wide
  • High pollen
  • Thorns
  • Showy yellow flowers in spring
  • Low water use once established after several years
  • Drops leaves but dense branching still produces some shade in winter
  • Acceptable for planting on south side of building
Blue Palo Verde bloom

Desert Willow

  • Moderate to fast growth to 20 feet tall by 20 feet wide
  • Low pollen
  • No thorns
  • Pink flowers
  • Moderate water use needed to develop dense canopy
  • Drops all leaves over winter
  • Acceptable for planting on south side of building
Desert Willow bloom

Chitalpa (Pink Dawn)

  • Fast growing deciduous tree
  • Can reach 25-30 feet tall and wide
  • White to lavender flowers
  • Low water use once established after several years
  • Will handle temperatures as low as 9 degrees
  • Acceptable for planting on south side of building

Desert Museum (Palo Verde Hybrid)

  • Rapid growth to 25 feet tall by 25 feet wide
  • Thornless
  • Yellow flowers
  • Longer bloom times
  • Low water use once established after several years
  • Can handle temperatures as low as 15 degrees
  • Acceptable for planting on south side of building
Desert museum flower

Sign up

Step 1 – Complete the application form and indicate on the sketch where the tree(s) will be planted.

Step 2 – Provide a copy of your paid invoice which must include the following:

  • The number and type of trees purchased
  • Size of the tree container
  • Date tree(s) purchased

Step 3 – Print the application form and mail it, along with the copy of your invoice, to:

UniSource Energy Services
Trees for You Program
Mail Stop DS 502
P.O. Box 711
Tucson, AZ 85702

Planting guidelines and restrictions

Before you start any digging project remember to first call Arizona 811 (formerly Arizona Blue Stake) at 1-800-STAKE-IT (1-800-782-5348). Call at least two working days before you dig to have UES mark the locations of company-owned underground utility lines near the dig site. This is a free service.

Plant trees at least 10 feet from sewer lines, 5 feet from water lines and 3 feet from all other utility lines. Do not plant under any overhead utility lines. Maintain a safe distance from chimneys, power lines and other potential sources of combustion. Do not plant in a public right-of-way without a permit and remember to call Arizona 811 before you dig.

Planting guidelines

  • Dig the hole 1 foot deep and 2 to 3 feet wide. Dig deeper if you hit caliche. Fill the hole with water and let it drain for several hours. If it doesn't drain, dig the hole deeper.
  • Carefully cut the bottom off the plastic container and down the sides leaving a little plastic attached in the middle. To protect the root ball, don't roll or shake the container or try to pull out the tree. Place the tree, still in its container in the hole, put some soil around the container. Finish cutting the plastic container and dispose of it.
  • It is not necessary to mix mulch with the soil, but if you use mulch keep the ratio at one part mulch to three parts original soil. Replace any rocks or caliche from the dig with good top soil. Apply 5 to 6 inches of mulch on the surface to keep the soil from drying out. Do not compact the soil; let the water settle it.
  • Create a 3-foot-wide tree well to hold enough water to ensure the entire root ball is soaked. Water daily for the first week, then every other day until the tree is established. Disturbance to the root ball during planting may make some leaves fall off. Continue to water according to the above schedule, and new leaves will replace those that have fallen during planting.
  • South-wall plantings are restricted to deciduous trees, such as the desert willow and blue palo verde.

Planting considerations

Fire safety, care and maintenance including pruning are all important factors when planting trees. Special care should be given when landscaping your yard to help prevent fires.

Fire safety guidelines

  • Planting trees near homes poses very little fire danger.
  • Make sure you remove flammable ground-level debris near your home to reduce fire risk.
  • If you reside in a rural area with wildfire concerns, it is important to maintain ground-level shrubs and grasses. Click here for additional information from the Arizona State Forestry Division to reduce fire danger .
  • Set low-profile plants closer to your home and keep them more widely spaced in small irregular clusters instead of large groupings. Utilize native plants whenever possible. Click here for additional information on Fire-Resistant Landscaping .
  • Incorporate a variety of plants, shrubs and flowers for visual interest.
  • Use mulch in planting beds next to the home to help reduce weeds and to maintain moisture. Do not use any type of bark or other decorative products that can dry out and potentially become fuel for a fire.
  • Utilize gravel or rocks and decorative stepping stones to create pathways or borders.
  • If you're looking for an alternative to grass, consider using ground-cover type plants. These fast growing, low profile succulents provide texture and color but also help with soil erosion and weeds. They are also an effective fire-preventing barrier.
  • Prune trees when necessary, keeping branches off roof tops. Pruning helps reduce potential fuel for fires and is essential for maintaining a healthy tree and promoting vigorous growth.
  • Rake up all debris regularly around trees and bushes and remove any annuals or perennials planted close to your home when they go to seed or become dry.
  • If grass is part of your landscaping, keep it mowed short.
  • Water regularly – moisture is the best fire prevention.

Care and maintenance

  • When newly planted, water the tree daily for the first week, then every other day until the tree is well established. Reduce water in the winter when trees are dormant.
  • Avoid staking trees if at all possible. Movement is necessary for the tree to develop strength. If you do stake the tree, allow the tree to move several inches. Make adjustments as the tree grows. Remove the stake as soon as the tree is firmly established.
  • Avoid pruning lower branches for several months. These lower branches help the tree develop strength and even the weight distribution. You can prune the suckers which are located at the surface of the soil as they rob the tree of water and nutrients.
  • As the tree grows, lower branches can be trimmed to get more height but only if the trunk has gotten thicker and more stout. Don't trim branches too high too quickly as this will expose the trunk to sunlight causing it to burn and impairing its ability to transport water and nutrients.
  • Protect the trunk with rabbit proof barriers.
  • On newly planted trees, don't hesitate to prune the tree if it has a lot of new growth. Newly planted trees are more prone to blow over during our monsoons so this type of pruning may help to keep the tree upright.
  • Always allow desert trees (mesquite, blue palo verde and desert willow) to develop 2 to 3 main trunk branches – trees with single trunks are prone to wind damage.
    Multiple trunks and low branching is natural and also contributes to a strong tree and ideal form.
  • Although mesquites and palo verdes are low water-use trees, if you want them to thrive and attain a larger size they will need regular watering during the growing season (April into July) until the monsoon season arrives. During the first year they should be watered 2 to 3 times a week during the hot months. These trees have a small root system and can't store much water. Frequent watering expands the root system in the first 2-3 growing seasons, allowing for more water retention and reducing the need to water as often.
  • Safely prune trees to decrease winter shading.

Learn more about fire-resistant landscaping and homeowner resources.