Explore Plants

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Search Smarty Plants
    
 

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
1 rating

Sunday - February 20, 2011

From: Eldorado Hills, CA
Region: California
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources
Title: Fast-growing, evergreen, non-invasive root tree for El Dorado CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We need to plant a FAST-growing, non-deciduous TREE with a non-invasive root system. Where can we buy one?

ANSWER:

It's not so much a question of where you can buy one, as whether such a tree even exists. A fast-growing tree is often short-lived and susceptible to breakage and disease. There are not nearly as many evergreen trees as there are deciduous, and every tree is going to have a root system at least as far-reaching as its crown and usually much more. Since we don't know what kind of soil you have, whether you are planning on providing shade or privacy or what with your tree, that makes our recommendations even more difficult. You would have more luck controlling the invasiveness of the roots if you chose a shrub instead of a tree. There are shrubs that will grow fairly quickly but not get as big as a standard tree. You wouldn't get much shade from that, but you would get some amount of privacy. And there is no such thing as a truly evergreen shrub or tree-all plants will shed some leaves, twigs, seeds and so forth throughout the year.

Next we need to determine what plant native to North America and California will come closest to satisfying your requirements. El Dorado County appears to be in USDA Hardiness Zone 6b, with narrow bands of warmer climate to the west of your area. We are going to go to our Recommended Species section and click on Northern California on the map. On the sidebar on the right side of the Recommended Species for Northern California page we will select "Tree" under General Appearance, and click on Narrow Your Search. You can repeat this search indicating your soil moisture and the amount of sun available in the area where you wish to plant, as well as to try "Shrub" in the General Appearance selection. From the resulting lists, follow each plant link to our page on that plant to determine its expected size, speed of growth and whether it is deciduous or evergreen. We will look at a few samples of each, check to see if our selections are native in your area, and you can take it from there.

Trees for El Dorado County, CA:

Cercocarpus montanus var. glaber (Birch-leaf mountain-mahogany) - semi-evergreen, 8 to 20 ft.

Cercis orbiculata (California redbud) - deciduous, 10-20 ft.

Shrubs for El Dorado County, CA:

Arctostaphylos patula (Greenleaf manzanita) - evergreen, 3-6 ft.

Heteromeles arbutifolia (Toyon) - evergreen, 10-20 ft.

When you have located some trees and/or shrubs that most closely fit what you are looking for, go to our National Suppliers Directory, type your town and state in the "Enter Search Location" box and you will get a list of native plant nurseries, seed suppliers and landscape consultants in your general area. All have contact information so you can check on availability and growing requirements.

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:

 

 

 

 

More Seed and Plant Sources Questions

Bluebonnets as a source of nitrogen fixation
June 13, 2007 - I am fascinated by Texas Bluebonnets and want to introduce them to k-12 students as a major source of Nitrogen fixation. As I want to present this to the teachers can I get any guidance from you, lik...
view the full question and answer

Source of seeds for non-native Josephs Coat
March 08, 2008 - Looking for some time for Joseph's coat seeds,(Althernanthera--Chartreuse), Can you help?
view the full question and answer

Source for dotted blue-eyed grass from Saluda SC
February 23, 2013 - I lived in Texas for several years and now live on acreage in South Carolina. I have heard that bluebonnets don't grow well in South Carolina. However, there is a place by the road near our house t...
view the full question and answer

Source for Salvia greggii, Teresa
December 09, 2004 - My mother is trying to find a specific type of salvia that is pink and white striped. I haven't been able to find any information on it. Does it exist and if so, where can I find it.
view the full question and answer

Source for native plants in Margaretville NY
April 19, 2010 - Mr. Smarty Plants: Thank you so much for your recommendations for the Margaretville, NY!!! I am thrilled with the colors of everything you recommended, especially the beautiful grasses and the shru...
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.