what would be a great courtyard tree?

mragleJuly 4, 2008

We are in Zone 10, (18/19 Sunset) and will have a full-sun courtyard in the house we are building. I guess it's more of a patio, because it is open on two sides. We want small trees, but with a leafy canopy that will provide a nice environment for sitting on the patio. We don't want to deal with any mess, don't need any flowers, can't have any root problems.... just a nice green canopy, simple trunk structure. Thank you for your ideas!

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pinetree30(Sierra Westside)

No mess? No flowers? No root problems? Buy an awning.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2008 at 2:08PM
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I get your point, but I do hope that someone knows of a small neat tree that doesn't do anything spectacular, just provides some shade. I didn't expect my first posting here to bring such a flippant reply, but maybe that's just me.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2008 at 3:50PM
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Ignore the flippant replies, there are a lot of knowledgeable people on this site who educate without criticism, one (or more) of them will reply. I wish I could help, but I'm still learning myself. You will probably have to choose among the 'lesser of 3 evils' you described. I love every tree that I've planted in my previously treeless yard...Cornus Kousa Dogwood, Kanzan Cherry, Brandywine Maple (male that purportedly doesn't produce seeds), Crape Myrtle...bring on the flowers, the dropping leaves to rake, the fruits, the 'mess'(although there really isn't any to speak of)...I'll take them anyday over the alternative.

Are there any trees that you are partial to? Maybe there is a cultivar that would suit your site.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2008 at 5:26PM
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Would a palm work? I'd love to grow one here!!

    Bookmark   July 4, 2008 at 8:30PM
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Salem Moondance and Sue14 - Thank you both. I will add your ideas to my list to check out. Re: palm trees, I used to think they were beautiful, when we first moved to California from Kansas. All these years later, I see them rather differently, but my family members who live in Canada, Kansas and Virginia think they are really amazing and would love to have them in the yard.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2008 at 11:14PM
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Mragle - just to clarify, NONE of the trees I mentioned would work for you...you'd have cherry blossoms in your hair, Dogwood fruits dropping into your Margarita...you get the idea. :)

(Although the Brandywine might work for you there seems to be no definitive data on it's mature size).

How large of an area are you hoping to shade?


    Bookmark   July 5, 2008 at 8:01AM
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Dibbit(z7b SC)

Since they are evergreen, what about a citrus of some kind? There is SOME mess - spent flowers, old leaves falling off to be replaced, but they smell lovely in flower, and you could pick your own fruit - oranges, tangerines, lemons, limes or grapefruits. You would probably have to do some limbing up if you want to sit under it.

As well, since you don't say what the surface of the courtyard will be, may I suggest a large circle of gravel (6' as a minimum, but more would be better) around the tree, especially if the rest of the courtyard is to be paved? This will allow for watering, and for air-exchange with the tree roots. It would eliminate most root problems, since usually ('though not always, I grant) surface roots are a problem in the 2-4' next to the trunk.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2008 at 8:17AM
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Hello, I am new here and have a similar question to the original post which is why I am posting here. I live in California, and I'm not sure how to find out what zone I am in. We are re-landscaping our front yard, after having a huge ash tree removed and pavers put in for the driveway and walkway. We are looking for a small, non-invasive tree that will do well in full sun that preferably does not have fruit or flowers. We are basically looking for a shade tree with non-invasive roots. Hope someone can help. Thanks!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2008 at 4:42PM
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I don't know about the climate differences, but a Japanese Maple like Acer Palmatum 'Emperor 1' that is trained to a single trunk might work. It gets pretty large. It doesn't grow as slowly as many A.P.s but perhaps slower than you need. ???

I was just standing under mine yesterday (about 10 years old - > 20'T) snipping off deadwood twigs and it was so gorgeous seeing the underside of the leaves backlit with blazing sun and heat while it was shady and cool under there.

And as you limb up lower branches, it will encourage taller growth as well to speed it up. I've left some lower branches on mine intentionally. This pic is about 5 years old and the tree was probably 5 years old then at the time.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2008 at 9:45AM
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another thought for you to consider...When I first moved here 16 years ago before I was an avid gardener, I had a designer come in to come up with a plan for a large sloping backyard that had lawn (mostly moss&weeds) at the time. I told her I was not interested in a lot of foo-foo color and just keep it simple with foliage.

Wow, did my requirements change over time!!! I have so much color and flowers now, I am constantly battling to tone things down to avoid chaos. I get so much enjoyment from the flowering trees and shrubs and perennial gardens, it is indescribable.

ya just never know...

    Bookmark   July 7, 2008 at 9:53AM
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"After dark" agonis, insignificant white flowers, blackish red weeping peppermint tree. Drought tolerant, not too sure about the roots....good substitute for japanese maple, since they lose their leaves, and the "after dark" is evergreen. They get 15-18' tall, 10' wide. Ours is doing great. Good luck finding something you like!!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2008 at 2:25PM
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I have seen ligustrum privet allowed to grow into small trees. They were limbed up into multi-stemmed trees and I think they were problem free. Glossy evergreen foilage and multi-stemmed, zig zaging trunks.

They're not invasive here, not that I have noticed, but I understand they are in some places.

How about a Don Egolf redbud? No seed pods and they're beautiful. But they only get ten to fifteen feet tall.

How about an arbor to the height you want, covered with a grape vine?

Here is a link that might be useful: Don Egolf

    Bookmark   July 23, 2008 at 8:32PM
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