When you live an area that has city watering ordinances, or you really want to help save the Earth by saving water, it can be challenging to keep your yard and landscaping looking great. The good news is you can still enjoy trees and greenery, ou simply need to do a little research and make sure you purchase drought tolerant trees for Northern California so they have a chance of thriving.
Most of California is in Hardiness Zone 9, so keep this in mind while you’re trying to decide which trees to choose for your yard. Zone 9 has hot summers and long growing seasons, which gives trees and plants a long time to do well before the first frost occurs in mid-December.
Fast Growing Drought Tolerant Trees for Northern California
If you’re looking for fast growing drought tolerant trees to help make an impact in your yard quickly, you have options. Some of the ones we recommend are:
The California Sycamore grows fast and can grow up to 40 to 100 feet tall with a 40 to 70 feet spread. It’s considered to be an ornamental tree as well as a shade tree because of its generous canopy. The California Sycamore prefers full sun and is drought tolerant once established. The roots are aggressive, so you should allow at least 12 feet between the tree and sidewalks, driveways, and other structures.
California White Oak Tree
The California White Oak tree is one of the largest species of oak trees in North America, with a height of 40 to 70 feet at maturity. The California White Oak is a great shade tree and adds beauty to any landscape. You can expect it to grow around 24 feet each year in full sun and partial shade. If you want a tree to last forever, the California White Oak is a great choice because it can live for over 200 years.
Catalina Cherry Tree
The Catalina Cherry Tree is native to California and grows quickly once its established. It can grow up to 40 feet tall with a spread of 20 feet. It has white flowers that bloom in the late spring and does well in sun and part shade. Birds love the fruit from the tree and insects love the flowers. You should be careful where you plant it because the fruit can stain concrete.
American Red Maple
You may want to choose the American Red Maple because it’s beautiful, easy, and offers a great amount of shade. It’s becoming one of the most popular trees because it adapts very well, can grow in almost any soil type, and is very drought tolerant. It grows about 3 feet each year, up to a height of 40 to 60 feet and a spread of 25 to 45 feet.
Heritage River Birch
The Heritage River Birch is also a very popular tree because it is resistant to many Birch diseases, adapts well, and has strong limbs that are resistant to wind and ice. It grows about 3 feet each year and reaches 40 to 50 feet tall with a spread of 25 to 40 feet. The Heritage River Birch has a unique peeling bark that adds character and color to the tree. This tree can be grown in any state in the United States.
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When you’re choosing from the list of fast growing drought tolerant trees to plant, keep in mind how the tree will look and behave fully grown. You may want to choose a couple different ones to create variety in your yard or only have a single tree. We can make suggestions based on your landscape goals and lifestyle.
Drought Tolerant Small Trees for Northern California
You may want to invest in drought tolerant small trees for your yard so you don’t have to deal with the tree taking over your curb appeal. There are many trees like this available for you to choose from. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
The Western Redbud can be a multi-trunk shrub or a single and multi-trunk tree depending on how you train it to grow. It blooms the best with deep water and full sun, but can tolerate drought conditions. It’s native to California, Utah, and Arizona. It grows to a height of 10 to 20 feet with a spread of 10 to 20 feet as well.
The California Buckeye made this list of drought tolerant small trees because its native to California and only grows around 13 to 39 feet tall. The tree is very drought tolerant but it does thrive with some water. The white flowered varieties are native to California and therefore need less water. The fruits from the Buckeye are toxic, so you should keep that in mind when considering this tree.
Crepe (or Crape) Myrtles are often associated with the South, but they grow great in California too. They bloom from July to October here in Zone 9, with flowers showing for 60 to 100 days. The Crepe Myrtle does need regular watering to get established in the first year or two, but once it’s established, it can survive on very little, making it a great drought tolerant tree. The tree will grow up to 15 to 25 feet tall.
The Pomegranate makes an excellent drought tolerant small tree for California. It is a shrub, but can be trained to grow as a tree. It may reach a height of 20 feet tall. It adapts well, is easy to care for, and needs little water. It’s beautiful with its green foliage, orange flowers, and beautiful red fruit.
More Drought Tolerant Trees for Zone 9 to Consider
There are other trees that we didn’t feature above that are great for zone 9 and still drought tolerant that may be the perfect fit for your landscape.
Some of the drought tolerant trees for Northern California zone 9 that you may want to consider are:
- Autumn Purple Ash
- Purple Leaf Acacia
- Chaste Tree
- Canary Island Pine
- Chinese Flame Tree
- Holly Oak
If you need help selecting and planting your own drought tolerant trees in Northern California, give us a call today.