Return to the Trees Forum | Post a Follow-Up

Clean Shade Trees for San Joaquin Valley, California

Posted by Mizleslie California (My Page) on
Wed, Sep 7, 11 at 18:29

I'm looking for suggestions on clean drought resistant shade trees. What I'm looking for are trees that provide a nice canopy of shade that do not drop fruit or pods or sap all over and are not invasive with seedlings coming up and won't crack cement or ruin sprinkler lines. We live in Madera County in the San Joaquin Valley and it's very hot in the summer usually triple digits with the winter getting to the 30's. Not a whole lot of rainfall, which is why I need drought tolerant. I don't mind trees that lose their leaves in the fall and winter, as I don't mind raking up leaves, but as I said before I just don't want the mess of seeds and pods and sap. I'm just certain, I want large shade trees that would give us a beautiful canopy of shade from the absolute awful heat of summer. We live on over 2 acres of property so size isn't a problem. I've researched several sites and I keep getting different suggestions, such as a Chinese Elm or California Pepper but then hear that they are invasive or messy. Most individuals plant Eucalyptus out here, but I think they are scraggly and really don't provide a nice canopy of shade. Please help, I could use the advice.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Clean Shade Trees for San Joaquin Valley, California

You've got tons of resources there. You have SelecTree, Co Extension (altho that County likely underfunded), old CUFR reports, Sunset Western Garden Book, tons. Likely no state has better resources.

I can't say off top of my head that Chinese elm or London plane or California sycamore are clean, but those do better there, provided your water is OK. If you are not irrigating then your choices are severely limited, unless they can get down to untainted groundwater. Before man came, outside of Tulare Lake and riparian areas, there were little to no trees on the valley floor (which is why so many went to eucalypts).


RE: Clean Shade Trees for San Joaquin Valley, California

We are on our own well out here and will be irrigating. Any thoughts?

RE: Clean Shade Trees for San Joaquin Valley, California

  • Posted by jlcjlr 9b Sacramento CA (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 10, 11 at 11:48

If I had the room, I would plant a Sawleaf Zelkova. A neighbor has 2 in her front yard which faces west and they are spectacular, shading the whole front yard and her house. My spot is smaller so my wishlist includes a Shantung Maple. The link is for the Zelkova but the site search will take you to the Shantung. If you know Sacramento at all, this site describes where to go see specimens.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sacramento Tree Foundation

RE: Clean Shade Trees for San Joaquin Valley, California

I did field work in Davis on Zelkova but never published the results, far up my list of favorites. In the southern SJV they will likely need minimum 15" of water to not look ratty and attain a decent size if they can't find clean groundwater. You'll find most trees that you want for shade will want at least 10" of supplemental water if they can't find clean groundwater (meaning free of selenium, ag salts, etc). Farther away from the house you can start planting natives or adapted and provide less water. If you're up in Davis you should go to the arboretum at UC and look at their acacia collection (toward the western end) and gather some ideas on what they can be used for on your property as ornamentals.

BTW, STF has done the best research on tree shade benefits; if you want trees to shade your house - and you should - the greatest benefits in the SJV are found in planting to the west, then the southwest, then southeast. Directly to the south interferes with warming winter sun.


RE: Clean Shade Trees for San Joaquin Valley, California

California has several varieties of live oak trees. One of those or possibly Arizona Cypress if you're looking for drought and heat tolerant and not too much litter. I would go for a mix of conifers and deciduous trees and try to stay with those that are native to Cal. Several trees come to mind, but may have litter problems. Species survive when they produce copious amounts of seeds and that spells litter!

 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Trees Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here