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20 Great Trees for the Sacramento Area

Although by no means a complete list, this is just a handful of trees that do well in the local inland valleys, especially the southern Sacramento and northern San Joaquin valleys, as well as the surrounding foothills. For a more complete guide, see these references: "Sacramento Area Landscape Trees" (get a copy by sending a SASE with 60 cents postage to EHNote #1, Cooperative Extension, 4145 Branch Center Rd., Sacramento, CA 95827); Sunset Western Garden Book ; and, The Outdoor World of the Sacramento Region by the American River Natural History Association:

•Chinese Hackberry (Celtis sinensis) 40-50' tall; 40-60' spread; good lawn tree; can withstand drought.

•Chinese Pistache (Pistachia chinensis) 30-60' tall; 30-60' spread; brilliant orange-red fall color; can withstand drought.

•Cleveland Select or Chanticleer pear (Pyrus calleryana 'Chanticleer' ). 26-45' tall; 15' spread. White flowers before leafing out in early spring; reddish orange leaves in late fall. Attracts bees. Fast rate of growth.

•Coast Live Oak (Quercus agrifolia) 30-75' tall; 60-80' spread; California native; don't water after it's established; drops leaves in spring.

•Deodar Cedar (Cedrus deodora) 50-95' tall; 40-50' spread; evergreen; fast growth; good lawn tree; needs space.

•European Hackberry (Celtis australis) 50-70' tall; 40-50' spread; fast growth; great for lawns; can withstand drought.

•Gingko (Gingko biloba) 70-80' tall; 50-60' spread; good yellow fall color; good lawn tree; plant male trees only.

•Golden Rain Tree (Koelreutia paniculata) 20-30' tall; 15-20' spread; slow growth; yellow flowers in spring.

•Incense Cedar (Calocedrus decurrens) 50-90' tall, 40-50' spread; evergreen; slow growth; takes heat, wind, drought.

•Interior Live Oak (Quercus wizlizeni) 30-75' tall; 40-80' spread; evergreen; native to east side of Sacramento Valley; drought tolerant, but does better with regular watering.

•Japanese Pagoda Tree (Sophora japonica) 30-40' tall; 20-40' spread; good lawn tree; flowers in summer; attracts bees.

•Red Oak (Quercus rubra) 60-80' tall; 40-50' spread; good lawn tree; red leaves in fall.

•Saucer Magnolia (Magnolia soulangiana) 15-25' tall; 15-30' spread; white, fragrant flowers in spring; needs shade, no wind.

•Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinea) 60-80' tall; 35-40' spread; good lawn tree; best oak for fall color in the Valley.

•Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) 50-60' tall; 40-50' spread; slow growth; white, fragrant flowers in late spring and early summer; roots may compete with lawn.

•Star Magnolia (Magnolia stellata) 15' tall; 15' spread; white flowers in late winter and early spring.

•Sweet Bay (Laurus nobilis) 30-40' tall; 20-40' spread; use its aromatic leaves for seasoning; takes well to pruning; good container tree.

•Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipfera) 50-80' tall; 25-40' spread; good lawn tree; lyre-shaped leaf.

•Tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica) 30-60' tall; 15-30' spread; scarlet leaves in fall; good lawn tree; tolerates poor drainage.

•Valley Oak (Quercus lobata) 50-70' tall; 50'-70' spread; fast growth; California valley native; don't overwater.

Honorable mention:

American linden (Tilia americana );

Coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens );

Crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica );

Eastern dogwood (Cornus florida );

Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis );

European hornbeam (Carpinus betulus );

Japanese black pine (Pinus thunbergiana );

Japanese maple (Acer palmatum );

London plane (Platanus acerifolia );

Persimmon (Diospyros kaki );

Pink Idaho locust (Robinia ambigua 'Idahoensis' ) ;

Red horsechestnut (Aesculus carnea );

Red maple (Acer rubrum );

Trident maple (Acer buergeranum );

Willow oak (Quercus phellos );

Xylosma (Xylosma congestum ).