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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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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!

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Saturday - April 24, 2010

From: San Ramon, CA
Region: California
Topic: Trees
Title: Trees for pool area in San Ramon, California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We live in San Ramon. We are remodeling our pool and are looking for a tree that will be 15 feet from a pool. We just removed a pine tree. We have now lost our privacy and see the neighbor's back fence on their hillside. What can we plant that will be about 15 feet high, 10 feet wide at most, direct sunlight, that will not be messy near our pool, yet pretty both during every season.

ANSWER:

Below are several evergreen trees in approximately the size range you are seeking that are native to Northern California:

Prunus ilicifolia ssp. lyonii (hollyleaf cherry)

Umbellularia californica (California laurel)

Lithocarpus densiflorus (tanoak) and here are photos and more information

Heteromeles arbutifolia (toyon)

Cercocarpus ledifolius (curl-leaf mountain mahogany) and here are photos and more information

Ceanothus thyrsiflorus (blueblossom)

Morella californica (California wax myrtle) and here are photos and more information

Rhododendron macrophyllum (Pacific rhododendron)

You can see more suggested species by going to our Recommended Species page and choosing Northern California from the map or the pull-down menu.  You can use the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option in the side menu to select for characteristics that you want.

Here are photos from our Image Gallery of some of the above:


Prunus ilicifolia ssp. lyonii

Umbellularia californica

Heteromeles arbutifolia

Ceanothus thyrsiflorus

Rhododendron macrophyllum

 

 

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