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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - September 07, 2009

From: Glendora, CA
Region: California
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources
Title: Mediun-sized tree for southern California, possibly Monterey cypress
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hello, I live in Glendora CA 91741, I am looking for a CA native non -deciduous medium size tree to provide shade in the front yard. I was thinking of monterey cypress; any suggestions and place to buy the 5 gallon type? Kind Regards.

ANSWER:

The native range of Cupressus macrocarpa (Monterey cypress) is north of Los Angeles County.  However, it has been planted in warm climates worldwide and has become naturalized from central California to Washington along the coast. You should note, however, the "Conditions Comments" on our Native Plant Database page that says:  "Tremendously susceptible to a canker that kills the tree, especially if it is planted away from cool, coastal breezes."  Here is more information from Conifer.org and here is what Las Pilitas Nursery says about them.  Since Glendora is well away from the coast and its "cool, coastal breezes", I am doubtful that Monterey cypress will be a successful tree for your site.

Here are some other possibilities that you might consider:

Cupressus forbesii (tecate cypress) and here are photos and more information.

Lyonothamnus floribundus ssp. aspleniifolius (Catalina ironwood) and here are photos and more information.

Morella californica (California wax myrtle) and here are photos and more information.

Prunus ilicifolia ssp. lyonii (hollyleaf cherry) and here are more photos and information.

Prunus virginiana (chokecherry)

You can find nurseries in your area that specialize in native plants by searching in our National Suppliers Directory.

 

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