Land is at a premium in Northern California, and most Sonoma County residential landscaping projects for Details Landscape Art are smaller yards, usually in fenced-lot subdivisions where the use of smaller patio trees is appropriate. But occasionally we encounter larger properties either out in the country or pie shaped cul-de-sac backyards, where there is plenty of space to use larger trees.
These bigger specimens are also useful to provide privacy screening, shade from the hot afternoon sun, or just a beautiful centerpiece statement in a spacious landscape.
Following is a list of both evergreen and deciduous trees we especially like to use. Remember, evergreen trees are messy throughout the year, constantly dropping leaves, while deciduous trees drop their leaves all at once in late fall. Deciduous trees often feature spring blooms, fall foliage or both. Deciduous trees also can provide summer shade for a southern or western exposed window on a house, and let in light and warmth in winter.
- Sequoia sempervirens – Redwood – one of Northern California’s fastest growing trees, they grow taller than wide, reaching upwards of eighty feet tall.
- Maytenus boaria ‘Green Showers’- Mayten tree – a graceful statement tree with a weeping habit. Painfully slow growing, this tree has an interesting gnarly branching structure.
- Schinus molle – California Pepper Tree – similar in size and shape to a weeping willow or a marten, these evergreens can be a bit frost tender, but mature trees usually bounce back from the base.
- Cedrus – Cedar – beautiful large conifer with a trademark weeping top, give this Asian style tree plenty of room
- Elaeocarpus decipiens – Japanese Blueberry Tree – one of favorite smaller evergreens. Rich dark green leaves, nice shape, and less messy than most.
- Eucalyptus nicholii – Willow Leafed Peppermint – long lived, tolerates dry conditions and no fertilization.
- Cinnamomum camphora – Camphor Tree – slow grower to fifty to sixty feet tall and wide. Quite a messy tree with invasive roots.
- Eriobotrya japonica – Loquat – very messy tree, constantly dropping leaves, but beautiful bronze tinged leaves and interesting structure
- Acer rubrum – Scarlet maple – ‘October Glory’ is a large leafed variety that shows a brilliant glowing red in the late fall. ‘Autumn Blaze’ is slightly larger with equally gorgeous fall color.
- Catalpa – thirty to forty feet tall and wide, needs full sun. Large clusters of white flowers in late spring.
- Fagus sylvatica – European Beech – heavy shade tree, with surface roots that make it difficult to plant underneath. Our favorite is ‘Tricolor’ with green leaves marked white with pink edges.
- Ginkgo biloba – Maidenhair tree – light green leaves in spring and summer turn glowing gold in autumn. Usually slow growing to fifty feet tall.
- Nyssa sylvatica – Sour Gum – thirty to fifty feet old taller, fifteen to twenty five feet wide. Good shade tree.
- Pistacia chinensis – Chinese pistachio – brilliant fall color of iridescent golds and oranges is featured in November
- Salix babylonica – Weeping willow – giant weeper thrives near a water source.
Sonoma County residential landscaping usually calls for smaller to medium sized trees, but where there is plenty of room on the property, larger trees are appropriate.