The Q&A Archives: Trees for hillside in California

Question: We are looking for a tree to grow in San Diego on a small hillside (about 6 feet tall with a 45 degree incline)to give us privacy. The slope has full/partial sun. We hope to find a tree no taller than 40 feet mature height, with a decent root system that is not invasive, is also minimal in mess, and is evergreen. Is there a tree that has all or most of these characteristics that you can suggest? We like the Majestic Beauty Evergreen Ash. Someone suggested the Brisbane Box, but read that its root system is weak and can blow over in strong winds. Please help!

Answer: Evergreen Ash is a good choice, as is ornamental pear. Ornamental pear trees flower but do not set fruit so litter will be minimal. You might also consider Majestic Beauty Olive tree. This, too is fruitless and evergreen. When you visit the nursery, ask about any bad habits of the tree you select. Sometimes fast growing trees are short-lived, or have brittle branches. There's no guarentee that even the most well-behaved tree will keep its roots to itself. Feeder roots explore the soil, looking for moisture and nutrients. If you supply the required amounts, the roots won't be as likely to invade nearby flower beds or lawns in search of water.

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