Trees and Air Quality


Trees benefit the urban environment of Maricopa County in many ways. Trees provide cooling shade, screening for privacy, and enhance views. Many produce seedpods, edible fruit, flowers, or fall color. Others provide shelter and food for birds and wildlife. Properly located trees can help decrease heating and cooling costs for homes and businesses.

While a few species of trees emit large amounts of volatile organic compounds that contribute to ground-level ozone pollution, overall trees remove pollution from the air and reduce energy demand. Selecting the right tree with environmental and performance characteristics in mind is important because of the impact it has on the environment, the landscape, and the length of time for it to reach maturity. To realize long-term benefits, mature trees must also fit safely in the location they are planted, without interfering with overhead powerlines, underground utilities, buildings, and pedestrian traffic.

Maricopa County Air Quality Department created a useful guide and pamphlet to assist homeowners, government agencies and developers to plant the right tree in the right place.

Top Urban Tree Selection List for Air Quality:

Trees and Air Quality Pamphlet (PDF) >>

Urban Tree Selection List for Maricopa County:

Complete Tree Selection List (Excel) >>

Page reviewed 29 September 2023