Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

Support the plant database you love!

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

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
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - June 17, 2015

From: Pauma Valley, CA
Region: Select Region
Topic: Planting, Trees
Title: Need fast growing shade tree in San Diego County, CA
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I am looking for a fast growing tree that provides great shade. The reason being, is I need shade for three horseshoe pits and the sooner i get shade, the better. I live in San Diego county, zone 9b. So I need something drought tolerant. We see temperatures from 105 degrees ferenheit to 32 degrees ferenheit. Normal highs in the summer are in the 90's and normal lows in the winter are in the 40's. I would prefer an evergreen, but a deciduous will be fine if I find it appealing. I'm thinking about planting fruitless mulberries, they produce amazing shade during the summer, grow quickly, and they look good. However, when winter comes they will lose most or all their leaves.. any other suggestions? P.s. I'm not a fan of olive, pepper, or eucalyptus trees..

ANSWER:

The mission of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes. In short, we are all about native plants. So I’m going to put you in touch with some like-minded folks in California; the San Diego County Chapter  of the California Native Plant Society. They can assist you with your tree selection as they are more familiar with your local growing conditions.

Two other links that may prove helpful: one is for the UC Coop Extension COOP that describes the qualities of Morus alba, the fruitless mulberry; and the other is SoCalDPP  that deals with avoiding selecting non-native, invasive plants.

You are going to have to wait awhile to get a tree to grow enough to provide shade for pitching horseshoes, unless you are planning on transplanting a mature tree. You may want to get a ten gallon hat to wear.

 

More Planting Questions

Need suggestion for a replacement tree in Dallas, TX.
January 23, 2013 - We are going to have a 25' tall tree removed and ground out because every year squirrels chew the branches and make huge piles on the deck and into the pool. This continues for a good month 1.5. Hen...
view the full question and answer

Grouping plants according to water needs
February 05, 2010 - Explain how appropriate design/grouping of plants of the same water needs would make irrigation scheduling easier?
view the full question and answer

Finding a manzanita species suitable for Fort Worth, TX
April 28, 2015 - Which manzanita shrub would thrive best in the Fort Worth, Tx. area? I was thinking of planting it in a large pot. Thank You!
view the full question and answer

Pruning blue potato tree (Lycianthus rantonnei)
July 14, 2008 - I wrote earlier about a blue potato tree(Lycianthus rantonnei) the top appears dead but if you break a branch it is still green, what would happen to it if I cut all the branches forming at the bottom...
view the full question and answer

Need Native Plants for Ditch Stabilization in Texarkana, Arkansas
September 14, 2010 - I live in Texarkana, Arkansas. I have a ditch near the street in my front yard that is approximately 90-100 ft. long. It gets full sun. There is a lot of clay and rocks in the ditch. I need to fin...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.