Lawn trees without surface roots - Knowledgebase Question

Quartz Hill, Ca
Question by wildlfe
May 18, 2010
Currently we have a silver dollar and a eucalyptus tree. The surface roots are ruining our lawn and look terrible. We were going to cut the roots but we think the trees may blow over with the strong wind we get here in the High Desert of So.CA. What are the best lawn trees for our area? Thank you, Carol

Answer from NGA
May 18, 2010


One of the problems associated with growing trees in the lawn is that when you water your lawn you encourage surface roots. Deep watering will encourage deep root systems so if you make a special effort to deeply soak the tree when it is young, the roots will continue to grow down and out as opposed to up and towards the surface. I agree that cutting the surface roots from your eucalyptus trees will compromise their health. It might be better to remove them and choose deep rooted trees as replacements. Here are some of the best:
Chinese Hackberry ? Celtis sinensis; a deciduous shade tree, similar to Elm, but smaller. Glossy, scallop-toothed, dark green leaves. Deep-rooted, tolerates heat, wind, drought, alkaline soil. 30-40 ft., spreading growth habit.

Purple Robe Locust ? Robinia idahoensis 'Purple Robe': Shapely deciduous tree to 40ft. Tolerates heat/cold/poor soil/drought. Small leaflets, reddish new growth. Large, purplish-pink showy flowers, prolonged bloom. Deep watering recommended.

California Sycamore ? Platanus racemosa; Large tree to 80-100 ft. Large, light green leaves, lobed like maple. Mottled, multi-colored trunks due to bark shedding in patches. Tolerates heat, wind, likes deep watering in summer.

California White Alder ? Alnus rhombifolia; Fast-growing, very tolerant of heat and wind. Dark green foliage. Prefers plenty of water. Deep watering recommended. Seeds attract birds. 50-80 ft. x 40 ft.

Italian Alder ? Alnus cordata; Reaches 40-50ft. (smaller than Calif. white alder.) Four-inch dark green leaves, very attractive tree. Decorative woody cones in winter.

Hope these suggestions are helpful.

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