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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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Friday - June 01, 2012

From: Lake Forest, CA
Region: California
Topic: Plant Lists, Drought Tolerant, Trees
Title: Small to medium drought-tolerant trees for Southern California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am looking for drought tolerant trees to line one side of our 70 foot driveway. We live in Southern California. Currently, we have queen palms, but I would like something more native or drought tolerant that doesn't get too big.

ANSWER:

Here are a variety of drought-tolerant trees that grow in Orange County.  I am not sure exactly what size you are looking for, but I have included a variety of sizes.

Prunus ilicifolia ssp. lyonii (Hollyleaf cherry) grows 10 to 40 ft. high.  Here are more photos and information from Theodore Payne Foundation.

Dodonaea viscosa (Florida hopbush) grows to 12 ft. high.  Here are more photo and information from HorticultureUnlimitedInc.com.

Frangula californica [syn. = Rhamnus californica](California buckthorn) grows 6 to 15 ft. high.  Here are photos and more information from Santa Barbara City College and Las Pilitas Nursery.

Fraxinus velutina (Arizona ash) grows 30 to 50 ft.  Here are more photos and information from University of Arizona Pima County Cooperative Extension Service and Las Pilitas Nursery.

Juniperus californica (California juniper) grows 10 to 15 ft. high.  Here are photos and more information from Las Pilitas Nursery and BirdandHike.com.

Prosopis velutina (Velvet mesquite) grows 30 to 40 ft. high.  Here are more photos and information from AridZoneTrees.com and the University of Arizona.

Quercus agrifolia (California live oak) generally grow 20 to 50 ft. high.  Here are more photos and information from Las Pilitas Nursery and Urban Forest Ecosystems Institute.

 

From the Image Gallery


Catalina cherry
Prunus ilicifolia ssp. lyonii

Florida hopbush
Dodonaea viscosa

Arizona ash
Fraxinus velutina

Velvet mesquite
Prosopis velutina

California live oak
Quercus agrifolia

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