The Q&A Archives: Tree Selection

Question: I have a Brisbane Box that I want to replace. It is new, a recommendation from a nursery, but I have been seeing them on a trail and they are messy and not very pretty. This one is young and new but the older ones have messy seeds and are misshapen. I would like it to be 25 feet or a little more, have a canopy that could be walked under, and a spread of at least 20 feet. Evergreen, of course. Full Sun. The tree is situated near a patio, 5 feet from it's edge and 7 feet from an entry from the hill below so its canopy is important. If it is too big it will cramp the patio. The main reason for the tree was to provide shade to the back of the house as the sun moves around towards setting and is intense on the kitchen. The back of the house faces southwest.

Answer: Normally we refer to small trees as those less than 25 to 30 feet in height. Many small trees are comparatively very fast growing providing the new landscape with quick shade; yet, many small trees are comparatively short-lived (15-25 years). Here are a few suggestions for you to consider:
Wax Myrtle Myrica cerifera 15-20 ft. x 15-20 ft. -neutral evergreen, fast rate of growth, easy culture--sun or shade, will stand moist or wet areas and salt conditions, may be pruned to form leggy trunks

Cherry Laurel Prunus caroliniana 25 ft. -small upright evergreen, fast growth, fruit attracts birds, easy culture--sun or shade

Eucalyptus, Silver Dollar Tree (Eucalyptus varieties suggested: E. polyantheme, E. cinerea) 15-25 ft., evergreen, attractive silver-gray foliage, upright, graceful form

You might also consider a Magnolia tree or an ornamental (evergreen) pear.

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