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Drought Tolerant Tree List - Great Trees for a Dry California Landscape

Drought Tolerant Tree, Trees for a Dry California Landscape

Drought tolerant trees are among some of the most beautiful trees. Just because a tree is drought tolerant doesn't mean that it is full of thorns, though it can be of that is what you are looking for. There are plenty of trees with spectacular flowers that will get by with almost no assistance after getting them established for coastal or inland valley gardens. The following list of drought tolerant trees should provide plenty of options to create a dry California landscape that not only doesn't cost a fortune to irrigate but is beautiful on every level. No need to compromise.

Drought Tolerant Tree, Trees for a Dry California Landscape

Most trees grow quickly in their youth and slow as they mature. Faster growing trees are usually short term answers in the garden. There are fast growing trees that are quite drought tolerant. I prefer to start with a smaller tree. Usually they are much easier to establish in a dry garden. They don't require irrigation for as long. I plan to irrigate a tree through its first hot season. This is particularly important if you plant a larger specimen. For a drought tolerant tree to survive in a dry garden the tree has to have spread its roots well beyond the container. It is an issue of how much soil can the tree draw from for its water. When setting up irrigation it is important to encourage the tree to spread out its roots. A basin around the base of the new tree is often the kiss of death. Drought tolerant trees are often not at all tolerant of sitting in a puddle while the water soaks in. This doesn't encourage the roots to reach out either. I use a drip system with the drip emmitters over the native soil near the tree one on each side of the new tree. I dig the hole no deeper than the rootball. The top of the rootball should be slightly above the surrounding grade. I use mulch but keep the mulch back from the base of the tree. All of that rotting action can spread to the trunk if it is buried in mulch. In order to keep trees looking fresh during the summer I deep water during a cool spell about once a month. Even if the tree is drought tolerant you probably don't want your garden full of dormant trees hunkered down waiting for a better season.

There are a variety of California Native Trees that perform well in a residential landscape. Many of these trees are well adapted to a dry hot summer. Often these drought tolerant trees come from parts of the state that are hotter and drier than most of us live. There are a number of desert adapted trees in the list including Occotillo, Desert Willow, Chitalpa Pink Dawn, Joshua Tree, and the Palo Verde Desert Museum, But this list is targeted to gardens from coastal communites and inland valleys to the central valley.

Drought Tolerant Tree, Trees for a Dry California Landscape

A great test for me in generating this list is visiting gardens that have not been tended for awhile to see what is still alive. Trees in parkways that don't get irrigation, planters that haven't been watered for years. Those are the trees that made the grade for this list for our dry California landscape.

Even dead trees can have a place in the garden. Particularly trees with nest cavities. If the tree is not a hazard keeping it as part of the habitat will reward you in ways unexpected. Acorn woodpeckers are a keystone species with many other birds dependent upon their nest cavities to make nests of their own. The ultimate dead tree, a power pole. I was able to rescue a portion of an aging power pole with an acorn woodpecker cavity. Took two days but the woodpeckers found that recycled power pole in the back yard instead of the front. You have never seen more joyous birds. Dead trees are also important as roost sites for raptors and others.

So enjoy our Drought Tolerant Tree List and plant a few of these beauties in your dry California Landscape. Your water bill will be much more gentle on your wallet.

Common Names --------Plants by their Latin Names

Plants organized by their Latin Names

After Dark Peppermint Tree * Agonis flexuosa After Dark
Angels Trumpet Tree * Brugmansia Charles Grimaldi
Apricot Trumpet Tree * Tabebuia Apricot
Australian Frangipani * Hymenosporum flavum
Australian Willow * Geijera parviflora
Big Cone Pine * Pinus coulteri
Big Poly Emu Bush * Eremophila bignoniiflora x polyclada
Bird of Paradise Tree * Caesalpina gilliesii
Black Locust Purple Robe * Robinia pseudoacacia Purple Robe
Blue Bush Acacia * Acacia covenyi
Blue Oak * Quercus douglassii
Brazilian Coral Tree * Erythrina falcata
Brazilian Rosewood * Jacaranda mimosifolia
Brisbane Box * Lophostemon confertus variegata
Buddhist Orchid Tree * Bauhinia variegata candida
California Ash * Fraxinus dipetala
California Black Oak * Quercus kelloggii
California Box Elder * Acer negundo californicum
California Hopseed * Ptelea crenulata
California Walnut * Juglans californica
Caribbean Copper Plant * Euphorbia cotinifolia
Belah * Casuarina cristata
Carrotwood Tree * Cupaniopsis anacardioides
Catalina Cherry * Prunus ilicifolia lyonii
Catalina Ironwood * Lyonothamnus floribudus
Chaste Tree * Vitex agnus castus
Chinese Date * Ziziphus jujuba
Chinese Wingnut * Pterocarya stenoptera
Chinkapin Oak * Quercus muehlenbergii
Chitalpa Pink Dawn
Coast Live Oak * Quercus agrifolia
Cockspur Coral * Erythrina crista-galli
Cook Tree * Cascabela thevetia
Coral Bean Tree * Erythrina bidwillii
Coral Gum * Eucalyptus torquata
Coulter Pine * Pinus coulteri
Crimson Red Crape Myrtle * Lagerstroemia Crimson Red
Desert Bird of Paradise * Caesalpina gilliesii
Desert Willow * Chilopsis linearis
Dogtooth Wattle * Acacia cultriformis
Firewheel Tree * Stenocarpus sinuatus
Floss Silk Tree * Chorisia speciosa
Garry Oak * Quercus garryana
Gentian Plume California Lilac * Ceanothus Gentian Plume
Giant Bird of Paradise * Strelitzia nicolai
Gold Angels Trumpet Tree * Brugmansia Charles Grimaldi
Gold Medallion Tree * Cassia leptophylla
Golden Rain Tree * Koelreuteria paniculata
Golden Trumpet Tree * Tabebuia chrysotricha
Granite Honey Myrtle * Melaleuca elliptica
Hairy Wattle * Acacia vestita
Holly Leaf Cherry * Prunus ilicifolia
Jacaranda * Jacaranda mimosifolia
Jujube * Ziziphus jujuba
Kaffir Coral Tree * Erythrina caffra
Knifeleaf Wattle * Acacia cultriformis
Lilly Pilly * Acmena smithii
Lolly Bush * Clerodendrum floribundum
Maidenhair Tree * Ginkgo biloba
Mexican Elderberry * Sambucus mexicana
Mimosa Tree * Albizia julibrissin
Mountain Ebony * Bauhinia variegata
Mudgee Wattle * Acacia spectabilis
Mugga * Eucalyptus sideroxylon
Naked Coral Tree * Erythrina coralloides
Native Frangipani * Hymenosporum flavum
Orange Bells * Tecoma X smithii
Oregon Oak * Quercus garryana
Ovens Wattle * Acacia pravissima
Palo Verde * Parkinsonia Desert Museum
Paperbark Tree * Melaleuca quinquenervia
Pearl Acacia * Acacia podalariifolia
Peppermint Tree * Agonis flexuosa
Pineapple guava * Feijoa sellowiana, Acca sellowiana
Pinyon Pine * Pinus monophylla
Poinciana * Caesalpina pulcherrima
Pomegranate Wonderful * Punica granatum
Punk Tree * Melaleuca quinquenervia
Purple Fernleaf Acacia * Acacia baileyana purpurea
Purple Peppermint Tree * Agonis flexuosa After Dark
Purple Robe Black Locust * Robinia pseudoacacia Purple Robe
Purple Trumpet Tree * Tabebuia impetiginosa
Queensland Frangipani * Hymenosporum flavum
Red Bird of Paradise * Caesalpina pulcherrima
Red Flowering Gum * Corymbia ficifolia, Eucalyptus ficifolia
Red Ironbark * Eucalyptus sideroxylon
Red Pencil Tree * Euphorbia tirucalli Sticks on Fire
River Bankisa * Banksia seminuda
River Wattle * Acacia cognata
Scrub Oak * Quercus berberidifolia
Silk Tree * Albizia julibrissin
Silky Oak * Grevillea robusta
Silver Dollar Gum * Eucalyptus polyanthemos
Shoestring Acacia * Acacia stenophylla
Silver Princess * Eucalyptus caesia magna
Silver Wattle * Acacia dealbata
Single Leaf Pinyon Pine * Pinus monophylla
Smoke Tree * Cotinus coggyria
Snowy River Wattle * Acacia boormanii
Strawberry Tree * Arbutus unedo
Summer Chocolate Mimosa * Albizia Summer Chocolate
Sweet Shade * Hymenosporum flavum
Sycamore * Platanus racemosa
Taiwan Flowering Cherry * Prunus campanulata
Tambookie Thorn * Erythrina acanthocarpa
Thornless Palo Verde * Parkinsonia Desert Museum
Toyon * Heteromeles arbutifolia
Tree Dahlia * Dahlia imperials
Tree Mallow * Lavatera assurgentiflora
Trident Maple * Acer buergerianum
Tropical Hydrangea * Dombeya wallichii
Trumpet Tree * Brugmansia candida
Tucker's Oak * Quercus john-tuckeri
Valley Oak * Quercus lobata
Variegated Brisbane Box * Lophostemon confertus variegata, Tristania conferta variegatus
Variegated Brush Box * Lophostemon confertus variegata, Tristania conferta variegatus
Water Gum * Tristaniopsis laurina
Western Redbud * Cercis occidentalis
White Floss Silk Tree * Chorisia insignis, Ceiba insignis
White Orchid Tree * Bauhinia variegata candida
White Trumpet Tree * Brugmansia Betty Marshall
Yellow Elder * Tecoma stans
Yellow Oleander * Cascabela thevetia

Acacia baileyana purpurea * Purple Fernleaf Acacia
Acacia boormanii * Snowy River Wattle
Acacia covenyi * Blue Bush Acacia
Acacia cultriformis * Knifeleaf Wattle, Knife Wattle, Dogtooth Wattle
Acacia dealbata * Silver Wattle
Acacia podalariifolia * Pearl Acacia
Acacia pravissima * Ovens Wattle
Acacia spectabilis * Mudgee Wattle
Acacia stenophylla * Shoestring Acacia
Acacia vestita * Hairy Wattle
Acca sellowiana * Pineapple Guava
Acer buergerianum * Trident Maple
Acer negundo californicum * California Box Elder, Boxelder
Acmena smithii * Lilly Pilly
Agonis flexuosa * Peppermint Tree
Agonis flexuosa After Dark * Purple Peppermint Tree, After Dark Peppermint Tree
Albizia julibrissin * Mimosa Tree, Silk Tree
Albizia Summer Chocolate * Summer Chocolate Mimosa, Summer Chocolate Silk Tree
Arbutus unedo * Strawberry Tree
Banksia seminuda * River Banksia
Bauhinia variegata * Mountain Ebony
Bauhinia variegata candida * Buddhist Orchid Tree
Brugmansia Betty Marshall * White Trumpet Tree
Brugmansia x candida * Datura or Trumpet Tree
Brugmansia Charles Grimaldi * Gold Angel's Trumpet Tree
Caesalpinia californica
Caesalpinia gilliesii * Desert Bird of Paradise
Caesalpinia pulcherrima * Red Bird of Paradise, Poinciana
Callistemon Cane's Hybrid * Cane's Bottlebrush
Callistemon viminalis * Weeping Bottlebrush
Cascabela thevetia * Yellow Oleander, Cook Tree
Cassia leptophylla * Gold Medallion Tree
Casuarina cristata * Belah
Ceanothus Gentian Plume * Gentian Plume California Lilac
Ceiba insignis * White Floss Silk Tree
Ceiba speciosa * Floss Silk Tree
Cercis occidentalis * Western Redbud
Chilopsis linearis * Desert Willow
Chilopsis linearis Purple Splendor * Purple Splendor Desert Willow
Chitalpa 'Pink Dawn'
Chorisia insignis * White Floss Silk Tree
Chorisia speciosa * Floss Silk Tree
Clerodendrum floribundum * Lolly Bush
Corymbia ficifolia * Red Flowering Gum
Cotinus coggygria * Smoke Tree
Cupaniopsis anacardioides * Carrotwood Tree
Dombeya wallichii * Tropical Hydrangea
Eremophila bignoniiflora polyclada * Big Poly Emu Bush
Erythrina acanthocarpa * Tambookie Thorn
Erythrina bidwillii * Coral Bean Tree
Erythrina caffra * Kaffir Coral
Erythrina coralloides * Naked Coral Tree
Erythrina crista-galli * Cockspur Coral
Erythrina falcata * Brazilian Coral Tree
Erythrina humeana raja * Dwarf Natal Coral Tree
Eucalyptus ficifolia * Red Flowering Gum
Eucalyptus polyanthemos * Silver Dollar Gum
Eucalyptus sideroxylon * Red Ironbark
Eucalyptus torquata * Coral Gum
Euphorbia cotinifolia * Caribbean Copper Plant
Euphorbia tirucalli Sticks on Fire * Red Pencil Tree
Fiejoa seloiana * Pineapple Guava
Fraxinus dipetala * California Ash
Fouquieria splendens * Occotillo
Geijera parviflora * Australian willow
Gingko biloba * Maidenhair Tree
Grevillia robusta * Silky Oak
Heteromeles arbutifolia * Toyon
Hymenosporum flavum * Sweet Shade, Queensland Frangipani
Jacaranda mimosifolia * Jacaranda, Brazilian Rosewood
Juglans californica * California Walnut
Koelreuteria paniculata * Golden Rain Tree
Lagerstroemia Crimson Red * Crimson Red Crape Myrtle
Lavatera assurgentiflora * Island Tree Mallow
Lavatera purisima * Purisima Tree Mallow
Lophostemon confertus variegata * Variegated Brisbane Box, Variegated Brush Box
Lyonothamnus floribundus * Catalina Ironwood
Melaleuca elliptica * Granite Honey Myrtle
Melaleuca quinquenervia * Paperbark Tree, Punk Tree
Melea azedarach * Chinaberry Tree, Bead Tree, Cape Lilac, Persian Lilac
Parkinsonia aculeata Desert Museum * Thornless Palo Verde
Pinus coulteri * Coulter Pine, Big Cone Pine
Pinus monophylla * Single Leaf Pinyon Pine
Pistacia chinensis * Chinese Pistache
Platanus racemosa * Sycamore
Prunus campanulata * Taiwan Flowering Cherry
Prunus ilicifolia * Holly Leafed Cherry
Prunus ilicifolia ssp. lyonii * Catalina Cherry
Ptelea crenulata * California Hopseed
Punica granatum * Pomegranate Wonderful
Quercus agrifolia * Coast Live Oak
Quercus berberidifolia * Scrub Oak
Quercus douglasii * Blue Oak
Quercus dumosa * Scrub Oak
Quercus garryana * Oregon Oak
Quercus john-tuckeri * Tucker's Oak
Quercus kelloggii * California Black Oak
Quercus lobata * Valley Oak
Quercus muehlenbergii * Chinkapin Oak Robinia pseudoacacia Purple Robe * Purple Robe Black Locust
Sambucus mexicana * Mexican Elderberry
Stenocarpus sinuatus * Firewheel Tree
Strelitzia nicolai * Giant Bird of Paradise
Tabebuia Apricot * Apricot Trumpet Tree
Tabebuia chrysotricha * Golden Trumpet Tree
Tabebuia impetiginosa * Purple Trumpet Tree
Tecoma X Smithii * Orange Bells
Tecoma stans * Yellow Elder
Tristania conferta variegatus * Variegated Brisbane Box, Variegated Brush Box
Tristaniopsis laurina * Water Gum
Vitex agnus castus * Chaste Tree
Yucca brevifolia * Joshua Tree
Ziziphus jujuba * Chinese Jujube, Chinese Date