HELP!!! Picking a tree for a front yard parking stip!!!!

Aiden09March 8, 2011

We recently removed a large liquid amber from the park strip in front of our house, its roots began to lift up the sidewalk and even punctured our sewer line TWICE!!!! The city agreed to let us remove it and provided us with the following list but I have no idea how to choose!!! We are looking for a medium sized tree to eventually provide shade, we are hoping to avoid an aggresive root system, we dont want any tree that will drop spikey balls/sticky flowers/etc. We are open to a flowering tree but dont want one that will attract a ton of bees... We live in northen california and the parkstrip gets lots of late afternoon sun... PLEASE HELP!!!!

Aristocrat Pear

Australian Willow

Big Leaf Maple

Black Tupelo

Bradford Pear

Cajeput Tree

California Bay

California Buckeye

California Sycamore


Canary Island Pine

Carolina Cherry

Chinese Pistachio

Coast Live Oak

Coast Redwood

Crape Myrtle

Dawn Redwood

European Hackberry

Flaxleaf Paperbark

Flowering Pear


Holly Oak


London Plane



Gingko Biloba (male only)

Marina Madrone

Purple Leaf Plum

Red Maple

Sawleaf Zelkova

Southern Magnolia

Valley Oak

Western Redbud

White Alder

White Birch

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

no pear ...

the sycamore in MI heave sidewalks .. i dont know if they are all alike.. question whether a plane would be much different ...

my birch are very shallow rooted ...

IMHO.. all maple are problematic .... dad has been battling them in his septic lines for decades ...

purple leaf plum has its own black knot disease ...

dawn redwood is not a small tree ... see link

willow is not high on many list of 'quality' trees ...

take any name on your list.. and go to google images.. and plug in the name.. like the link.. and 'see' what might become of the suggested trees ...

good luck


Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   March 8, 2011 at 9:20AM
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You gotta be kidding me.
There isn't a tree on that list that I'd plant if you're having problems with roots getting into your damaged pipes.

That list has like the worst trees for aggressive roots. Willow, Birch, Pear, maple, magnolia... Oh my goodness. Stay away from those.

My advice would be if you want a tree from that list, get those pipes fixed and make sure they are far enough away from the planting area. Tree roots generally only get into pipes that are already broken.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2011 at 9:34AM
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Dan Staley

OMG!!!!! What a terrible list!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No wonder such a panic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nevertheless, what a cr*ppy list. I can't believe that list is so horrible there in N CA (where? who knows?) with all that knowledge around there.

Of course we have no clue where the OP lives, size of the treelawn, watering regime, so the best we can do to match plant to climate is....nothing. So we can only winnow out the cr*ptacular trees and give a list of the remaining few that aren't horrible in a treelawn of at least 6ft width and presumably regular pruning schedule and irrigation present:
Black Tupelo
California Sycamore (maybe)
Chinese Pistach[e] (if male)
European Hackberry
Flaxleaf Paperbark (maybe)
Holly Oak
London Plane (maybe)
Maidenhair (ummmm....this is the same as gingko)
Gingko Biloba (male only)
Red Maple
Sawleaf Zelkova

What a horrible set of choices. I bet a landscape architect put that together rather than someone with plant knowledge.

That poor town surely is going to pay for that poor decision somewhere down the line. Don't they have a forestry department?!?


    Bookmark   March 8, 2011 at 9:57AM
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Dan Staley

Ah. That looks like it might be Los Gatos. One would think with all that money they'd at least hire a decent consultant to save them from themselves. Sheesh, there are enough good RCAs around there.


    Bookmark   March 8, 2011 at 4:05PM
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dsieber(z5 (Lakewood CO))

Gingko Biloba (male only) Is a great match. Used for street plantings (sometimes male only was not used criteria....phew) Tap roots, fantastic upright shape so you will not have overhanging branches, and fall colour.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2011 at 10:14PM
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Dan Staley

In those parts, the OP needs to know hardly anything will happen with a gingko for several years. It will just sit there. THEN you'll be happy.

I'm still constipated over how cr*ptacular that tree list is. Fer chrissakes, they can hire an RCA to do better for the cost of what the residents spend on lattes in about 44 hours.


    Bookmark   March 8, 2011 at 10:52PM
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dsieber(z5 (Lakewood CO))

Agreed Gingkos are for the patient!!! Heck I went back to my first house after 10 years to see how smart I was in planting my first two gingkos.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2011 at 11:14PM
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dsieber(z5 (Lakewood CO))

To see how fantastic they eventually look page down to Biloba 2008's shots in Illinois.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2011 at 11:26PM
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The "Australian willow" might be worth checking out. It's not a willow, but a small weeping tree in the citrus family. It likes dry climates. There's some info here:

    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 2:09AM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

It looks like a list of what not to plant.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 6:54AM
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Dan Staley

The "Australian willow" might be worth checking out.

The OP is planting in a treelawn, not a garden area.

And botann has an interesting point: it does look more like a 'no-plant' list!


    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 8:29AM
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Thank you so much for the input...after putting in the names of all the tree in the image search I think I have narrowed it down to the Crape Myrtle and the Chinese Pistachio...any thoughts?!?! Does anyone know if the Crape Myrtle flowers attract tons of bees? (I have an allergic son) We plan on living at this house for many years and I'm really hoping to avoid a lifetime of tree frustration!!!! Thank you everyone for taking the time to help!!!

    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 10:50PM
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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

If you're going with Chinese Pistachio, try and find a male cultivar. A female tree can produce a lot of little berries and can be messy on the street and sidewalk.

Here is a link that might be useful: CHINESE PISTACHE 'KEITH DAVEY'

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 7:19AM
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Dan Staley

Crape myrtles as a street tree tend to get branch damage on the street side as sweepers, mail trucks, vehicles run into the low branches!!!!!!!!! Since crape myrtles bloom prolifically, and bees are attracted to flowers, you'll have to teach you son how to deal with bees! A good idea in any case!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 11:06AM
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