If you live in Southern California and have a smaller yard, then your options to grow different tree varieties are limited. Still, there are some varieties that will fit into your backyard and create just the right amount of shade that you need.
Most trees that you see in garden centers, such as California Pepper tree, Eucalyptus, Sycamore, Ornamental Pear etc., can become quite large, with some reaching up to 100 feet tall!
This is even worse if you have solar panels on your roof because they might grow larger than your house and create shade that will leave you powerless. Plus, all those tiny little creatures like mice and squirrels can easily access your attic.
So, what I would suggest is to do your research – simply use Google and see what smaller trees can grow in your area. Pay close attention to their names because some similar species might become larger than others.
If you live in Southern California, you’ve probably heard that Japanese Maple is a good tree to grow in the garden; but that couldn’t be further from the truth since these types of trees can’t stand the heat.
Semi-dwarf citrus trees like Meyer lemon can be grown in Southern California yards; however, I should note that Citrus Greening Disease can ruin these trees, which is why most gardeners don’t recommend them.
I’ve picked the ones that are quite attractive and tidy and that don’t have aggressive roots which would otherwise impede other plants in the yard. Here are some suggestions:
• Crepe Myrtle (Lagerstroemia) – this species is more like a larger shrub or a smaller tree. It has multiple trunks and produces white, purple-pink flowers during spring and summer. Expect it to grow 30 feet tall and 20 feet wide. Although it can tolerate the heat, water it regularly.
• Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia) – a multi-trunk shrub or tree that has green leaves all year. It is native to California and produces red berries which birds adore. These species usually grow up to between 10 to 15 feet tall.
• Western Redbud (Cercis occidentalis) – this variety adorns your garden with rosy-red flowers in the early spring, accompanied by red leaves throughout the summer after the blooming season is over.
Also read: 15 Shade Tolerant Evergreen Trees And Shrubs + Care Guides