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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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Thursday - August 09, 2012

From: San Diego, CA
Region: California
Topic: Drought Tolerant, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Drought-tolerant trees for planters in San Diego
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We need some ideas for a drought tolerant tree that will provide shade (4 foot raised planters in sunny location) not get too big when mature, and not too messy. San Diego

ANSWER:

Here are some suggestions for San Diego native small trees/large shrubs that are drought tolerant and should do well in your large planters:

Cercocarpus montanus var. glaber (Birch-leaf mountain-mahogany) is evergreen and grows to about 15 feet.  Here is more information from Las Pilitas Nursery and from the Theodore Payne Foundation under its synonym, Cercocarpus betuloides.

Chilopsis linearis (Desert willow) is deciduous and here are descriptions from Las Pilitas Nursery in Escondido and Santa Margarita and from the Theodore Payne Foundation.

Comarostaphylis diversifolia (Summer holly)  is evergreen and is a slow-grower to 20 feet.  Here is more information from Las Pilitas Nursery and from the Theodore Payne Foundation.

Heteromeles arbutifolia (Toyon) is evergreen and usually grows to 6 or 8 feet but can grow as high as 20 feet.  Here is more information from Las Pilitas Nursery and the Theodore Payne Foundation.

Malosma laurina (Laurel sumac)  is evergreen and can grow to 18 feet.   Here is more information from Las Pilitas Nursery and the Theodore Payne Foundation.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Smooth mountain mahogany
Cercocarpus montanus var. glaber

Desert willow
Chilopsis linearis

Summer holly
Comarostaphylis diversifolia

Toyon
Heteromeles arbutifolia

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