The Q&A Archives: The right shade tree

Question: I am looking for a deciduous shade tree for the east side of my house. Something that has deep roots, & few surface roots.

Answer: Drought tolerant trees tend to have deep root systems that don't threaten things like driveways, sidewalks and foundations. Jacaranda mimosifolia (Jacaranda) The Jacaranda is a deciduous tree with brilliant lavender blue blooms in spring. It?s graceful, fernlike leaves provide dappled shade from Spring to Fall. Jacaranda prefer sandy soil, full sun and moderate water. Lagerstroemia Hybrids (Crape Myrtle) For showy summer flowers, the Crape Myrtle cannot be beat. Blooming in pink, lavender, and white, Lagerstroemia is a visual relief from the summer heat. Crape Myrtle is a fire-resistant deciduous tree that gets brilliant Fall color. Crape Myrtles thrive in full sun and moderate water. Liquidambar styraciflua (American Sweet Gum) The Liquidambar is the best choice for fall color in Southern California. Bright orange, yellow and red leaves provide a brilliant show in the Fall. The American Sweet Gum grows is a fire-resistant deciduous tree that grows well in the full sun with regular to moderate water.

If you have lots of room, Catalpa trees are wonderful shade trees with huge leaves (easier to rake!) so you might consider planting one. Fruitless mulberry is another favorite.

Best wishes with your new tree.

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