En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Trees for pool area in Solano County, California

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

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - June 02, 2010

From: Vacaville, CA
Region: California
Topic: Trees
Title: Trees for pool area in Solano County, California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We are looking for trees we can plant with non-invasive roots near our pool. We don't want them to get too big (about 10 feet) because we don't want them to shade out our pool. We also don't want anything too messy next to the pool or with flowers to bring bees near the pool. Can you suggest anything for us? Thank you!

ANSWER:

You have given us lots of problems to solve to find you a tree for your pool area.  First of all, unless we recommend ferns or some kind of conifer, the plants are going to have flowers.  As for invasive roots, conifers and oaks tend to have large tap root systems that are not as likely to grow into your pool area.  The do also grow lateral roots as well as the tap roots.  The roots of other plants are variable and we don't know exactly how they will react in your area.  It will depend on where a water source is for them.  Since you are going with a relatively small tree, you could consider growing them in large containers so that the roots are not a concern. 

With all the above in mind, here are a couple of smaller conifers that you could consider:

Juniperus californica (California juniper) and here are photos and more information.

Pinus attenuata (knobcone pine) and here are photos and more information.

Here are a couple of small evergreen oaks:

Quercus dumosa (coastal sage scrub oak)

Quercus durata (leather oak)

Many (if not all) of the plants below may attract bees to some extent.  Flowering plants need pollinators and many pollinators turn out to be bees of some sort. Bees are not normally agressive unless you disturb their hive.  However, if you are especially allergic to bee stings, I can understand your concern. You may have to resort to some sort of conifer or one of the oaks above.  Conifers and oaks are generally wind pollinated.

I assume you are looking for an evergreen tree so I have only chosen evergreens—the ones above and the following ones.  If you would like to consider a small deciduous tree, please visit our California-Northern Recommended page.  You can use the NARROW YOUR SEARCH in the sidebar to choose 'Tree' or 'Shrub' under GENERAL APPEARANCE to find various recommended small trees or shrubs that are commercially available and native to Northern California.

Morella californica (California wax myrtle) grows 10-25 feet but responds well to pruning.  It can even be made into a hedge.  Its botanical synonym is Myrica californica and you can see a photo and more description at Bay Natives from San Franciso area, one of the Associates in our National Suppliers Directory that specialize in plants native to the area. Here is more information

Another evergreen shrub/small tree with berries is Frangula californica ssp. californica (California buckthorn.  You can see a photo under its botanical synonym Rhamnus californica at Bay Natives. 

Heteromeles arbutifolia (toyon) is evergreen, but comes with lots of berries.

Garrya elliptica (wavyleaf silktassel) has male and female trees.  The male trees have the long tassel-like flowers.  The female trees have smaller flowers, but will have berries.  Here are photos and more information.

Arctostaphylos manzanita (whiteleaf manzanita) is an attractive evergreen small tree. Here are photos and more information from Las Pilitas Nursery from our National Suppliers Directory.


 

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

California plants poisonous to dogs from Sacramento
July 01, 2012 - Found dodonea viscosa purple. Is it poisonous to dogs? Also Gold Star Potentilla. Going drought tolerant and need small trees, shrubs and plants not poisonous to dogs for sun and partial sun.
view the full question and answer

Relocating native oak trees in compacted soil
September 14, 2008 - Can you replant and relocate small oak trees in compacted soil and will they grow or go into shock?
view the full question and answer

Interested in a mini food forest
February 04, 2013 - I am interested in starting a mini "food forest" in a twelve foot by twelve foot patch of earth next to my house. I'd like to put a focus on making sure that the bulk of the plants I introduce are ...
view the full question and answer

Possible freeze damage to Texas Persimmon in Fair Oaks Ranch TX
June 27, 2010 - I have a Texas Persimmon tree that is in a green belt. It has leafed out and flowered for the eight years we have lived here. This year it leafed out then the leaves turned brown and dropped. The top ...
view the full question and answer

When does Ziziphus obtusifolia leaf and flower in Austin?
March 22, 2010 - Hello Mr. S.P., Do you know when the Texas buckthorn, Ziziphus obtusifolia (I believe), flowers (and leafs out) in Austin? Is there one at the Wildflower Center?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center