Patio Tree - Knowledgebase Question

Sunnyvale, CA
Question by xinliangli
November 10, 2002
Hi, I would like to plant a small to medium sized tree (<30' tall) near my patio to provide shade in summer. The location of the planned planting site is within the lawn and is in full sun during summer time. I am new gardener and am not sure what kind of tree I should choose. I prefer trees that grow fast, but not too messy. I also like trees with very bright red color in fall. Your suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


Answer from NGA
November 10, 2002


Reliable autumn color in your mild climate gardening region will be a challenge. Two trees that I would recommend are Liquidambar (sweet gum) and Acer palmatum (Japanese Maple). Of the two, Liquidambar is the fastest growing. It has a pyramidal shape and maple-like leaves that turn orange, red and yellow in the fall. Japanese maples are slower growing, but with a similar pyramidal look. Acer palmatum 'Bloodgood' will provide burgandy colored leaves all summer long; A.p. 'Ornatum', the Red Lace Leaf Maple, produces red leaves which turn a brighter red during fall. Acer rubrum 'Autumn Blaze' has a dense oval, upright crown, and orange-red fall color. Hope these suggestions help you choose just the right tree.

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