The Q&A Archives: A tree to fit a special purpose

Question: I need a tree that is: evergreen,neat (little drop)fast growing, non invasive root system producing a shady canopy for a goldfish pond that is beside a patio adjoining a house. I would appreciate your suggestions. Thank you.

Answer: There are only a handful of trees that will fit your purposes. You want something that is as litter-free as possible, with well-behaved root systems. Tree ferns (Dicksonia and Cyathea), Acacia stenophylla, Ficus auriculata, Palms, or Chinese Parasol Tree (Firmiana simplex). Not all of these are evergreen, but they're all well-behaved. You might want to consider some of the tall-growing hedges instead of trees. Glossy Abelia, Boxwood, Calistemon (Bottlebrush), or Escallonia would serve the purpose and give some seasonal color as well. Fast-growing trees can have weak limb and branch structure, and can have invasive root systems, too, so are not always a good choice, even for your landscape situation. When purchasing plants, choose the largest size you can afford. Plants in one-gallon pots are the least expensive, but take the longest time to mature. Plants in five-gallon containers are generally 3-4 years old (depending upon rate of growth), and are more expensive. For an instant, finished-looking landscape, purchase trees in 15-20 gallon containers, or those dug and moved with heavy equipment. Best wishes with your landscape!

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