Learn About Trees & Shrubs
A Plant Nursery Primer
Ligustrum Japonicum Texanum: A dense shrub easily shaped for landscapes
Residents of Ventura County and surrounding areas will appreciate the dense, compact evergreen known as Ligustrum Japonicum Texanum. Also known as Waxleaf Privet, this evergreen shrub or small tree produces bunches of small white flowers which bloom in late spring, adding color and finesse to any landscape. It does not require an extraordinary amount of water, and can survive in partial shade. At maturity, a Ligustrum Japonicum Texanum can reach up to 10 feet in height, with branches extending out four to six feet. Property owners will appreciate the shrub for screening, shaping or straight hedges. The Ligustrum Japonicum Texanum is naturalized in California and can be found in nearly every community in the Greater Los Angeles region, from Santa Barbara and Ventura in the north to the San Fernando Valley, Westside, South Bay and Orange County. The shrub’s leaves are dark green top, and typically a lighter green shade on the underside. Their fruit are small and dark, sometimes confused for rat or mouse droppings. Overall the shrub does not overly shed and can become a fine addition to a front or back yard, or a business property. They are low-maintenance, except for a need to prune into shapes of a property owner’s liking.
The small, white flowers produced by the Ligustrum Japonicum Texanum offer a nice surprise in late spring into June. In its species, the evergreen tends to be lower to the ground, and grows slower. Part of the olive family, Ligustrum Japonicum Texanum has been shaped by Los Angeles area property owners and managers to supplement gardens and landscapes with beautiful hedges. Performance Nursery recommends care in pruning; this shrub is best pruned, not sheared. A note for pet owners or families with small children: this plant may be poisonous.
Prunus Caroliniana Compacta
The Prunus Caroliniana Compacta is applied throughout Southern California, favored for its hardiness and low water needs. The Los Angeles region’s climate is in essence a desert which makes the Prunus Caroliniana Compacta popular for hedges and screens. Known as the Cherry Laurel, the plant is native to East Texas with regular rainfall and acidic soil. This plant has high tolerance for drought, heat and wind and provides beautiful, small and fragrant white flowers each spring to enhance the appearance of gardens or landscapes. Commonly called “Compacta,” the evergreen can be found throughout the Greater Los Angeles Area. Landscapers appreciate the plant’s ability to endure shearing. In fact, the Prunus Caroliniana Compacta is often sheared carefully for form and size. The plant’s water needs are not out of the ordinary, and it can survive in sun or partial shade. It can reach up to 10 feet tall and 8 feet wide at maturity. It is known as “Compacta” because it’s a smaller, more compact version of the regular Cherry Laurel. In fact, the “Compacta” grows to only about half of the typical height and width of the species. Prunus Caroliniana Compacta has small, bright green leaves that smell like maraschino cherries when crushed. Families with small children or pets should know that the leaves and small black cherry fruits can be toxic. The “Compacta” produces a considerable amount of seeds, which often attract birds, and the shrub is a haven for bees. In active Southern California, landscapers marvel at the plant’s ability to re-grow if damaged or even cut entirely to the ground. This is especially beneficial in yards that often host activities like sports. Performance Nursery provides an ample supply of the Ligustrum Japonicum Texanum in 16-inch boxes.
Ficus Nitida Column
The Ficus Nitida Column can be found throughout the Los Angeles region, preferred for screening, privacy and safety such as near golf courses. They grow tall and slim – some have been known to reach as tall as 40 feet. Typical landscape designers try to keep the Ficus Nitida Column at around 12 feet. The hedge is fast-growing and adapts well to pruning into nearly any size or shape. Its foliage can appear glossy or shiny providing a beautiful look and, when mature, a thick layer to provide privacy and block noise. In Los Angeles the plant fares well as it handles summer heat well.
You can find the Ficus Nitida Columns often along property lines. Landscape designers appreciate the plant’s utility – it can be applied to block the sun, for instance, or wind and outside views. Its brilliant beauty plays well when several of the Ficus Nitida Columns are set alongside each other. As a hedge it does not shed leaves too much making it favorable around pools. When several are planted together and trimmed neatly the plant provides a wonderful-looking, clean hedge.
Commonly called Ficus Columns, the plant spreads its roots which can serve as an erosion-control option. But primarily the Ficus Nitida Columns are preferred to provide privacy for a property. If a property owner or landscape designer chooses Ficus Nitida Columns, Performance Nursery recommends consistent trimming as the plant grows very fast. Properly watered and maintained, the plant provides options and solutions for several landscaping needs. When planting try to space the plant at least 10 feet apart to allow healthy root growth. Performance Nursery carries in stock an abundant number of Ficus Columns in both 14- and 24-inch boxes.
Juniperus Sea Green
Los Angeles area landscapers have long applied the Juniperus Sea Green to beautify a property as well as to limit maintenance. The compact shrub, known as Chinese Juniper, creates a healthy hedge all year. Its bright green foliage can tend to be finely textured and the shrub can mature to up to 6 feet tall with a spread of 6 to 8 feet. In autumn and winter the Juniperus Sea Green provides a dark green foliage that is sought by property owners and landscape designers. Beautiful and maintenance-free, the plant is utilized often for borders, windbreaks and screens.
Often simply called the Sea Green, the shrub grows to provide an arching habit that can resemble a fountain. It tolerates many different types of soils and weather conditions, though it needs to be planted in well-drained soil in a location with plenty of sunshine. Sometimes called graceful or aromatic, the evergreen shrub is known as a medium- or even slow-grower so patience is needed with new plantings. Once mature the Juniper Sea Green is favored for its deep green coloring that lasts all year, getting even darker in winter. For landscaping calling for color year-round, the Juniperus Sea Green fits nicely.
Planting the Juniperus Sea Green requires careful location selection. It needs moist soil, with plenty of sun, but be careful not to plant in areas with excessively wet soil or full shade. The shrub is preferred for massing, ground cover or to add touch to a garden, with its sprawling blue-green foliage resembling needles. Ornamentally the plant’s flowers do not offer much, and it produces blue berries from late spring. Overall the Juniperus Sea Green is tapped for its delicate texture, making it a wonderful accent shrub.
The Arecastrum Romanzoffianum is a very familiar sight in Los Angeles and surrounding communities. Often called the Queen Palm, the Arecastrum Romanzoffianum is a classic Southern California palm tree, favored for its remarkably straight trunk and feather-like fronds. This ornamental garden tree is engaged by land developers and landscape designers alike. The Queen Palm is sturdy through this area’s at time high winds, and provides a vertical-looking effect to gardens and yards. The solitaire palm is considered medium- to large-sized for its family, reaching up to 50 feet tall in the most advanced mature circumstances.
Very easy to grow, the Arecastrum Romanzoffianum has proven popular with park and urban street design planners. Los Angeles is known for its palm trees and the Queen Palm, while not the tallest like those seen in Hollywood, is among the most popular. The evergreen looks beautiful – with its elegant, curving, curving leaves and ultra-straight trunk. No wonder it’s so popular with urban planning experts and landscape designers. A landscape featuring only horizontal features can get boring. Add some height to your yard or business property. Additionally, add a vertical feature that requires little maintenance.
Los Angeles residents and property management managers alike appreciate what the Arecastrum Romanzoffianum offers aesthetically to the visual of land areas. Maintenance is minimal, except for the periodic clearing of old dead fronds which can cling to the trunk for months. Flowers of the Arecastrum Romanzoffianum are big and clustered, sheathed at first by woody pointed bracts. Ultimately the flowers are an attraction point with their colors and shapes. The flowers are typically white and maybe yellow-gold, in groups of 2 or 3, blooming usually in spring. Its fruits, which hang in clusters to ripen in the winter, are a hard nut and are edible.
Olea Swan Hill
The Olea Swan Hill tree is a staple of Los Angeles area front and back yards, a favorite for its shape and spread. Sometimes referred to as the Olea europaea, the Olea Swan Hill has been known to grow taller than 30 feet and carry a trunk circumference of 14 feet. However mostly the tree grows to up to 35 feet in height. Typically, property owners do not let it grow that large, performing needed and consistent pruning to keep it at a desired size and shape. The tree’s crown spread can reach 60 feet so owners are advised to keep an eye on the plant and make it a point to prune on a consistent basis.
Fruitless with no or little pollen, the Olea Swan Hill can be an eye-catcher on any property in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura County or surrounding communities. It stands erect with a low canapy, with evergreen foliage. Ultimately its shape will develop into a rounded, or vase-like, configuration. Property owners mostly appreciate the ovate gray-green color of the leaves, and unobtrusive small flowers. While the Olea Swan Hill is considered fruitless, the tree is not always barren and sometimes owners will feel a need to clear all inedible fruits or apply fruit-control hormones.
When planting, look for a location with full sun or at least partial shade for the Olea Swan Hill. The soil should be dry to moist; the tree is drought-tolerant. Look for a soil of loam, clay or sand, and know that the tree grows about two feet per year. The Olea Swan Hill can be used to create a hedge, or as a screen for privacy. Many Olea Swan Hill trees live more than 100 years – sometimes even more than 150 years. This olive tree can handle heavy pruning if necessary.
The Strelitzia nicolia is a staple of residential yards and business properties across Southern California. Developers of Los Angeles area properties have been attracted for years to what is commonly called a Bird of Paradise, or more precisely for the Strelitzia nicolia, the Giant White Bird of Paradise or Wild Banana. The latter is appropriate as the plant in different areas resembles the banana plant. At maturity they can reach up to 20 feet in height with clumps that can surpass 11 feet. Notable on the Bird of Paradise are its large leaves, which can reach nearly 6 feet in length, and flowers that can surpass 7 inches long.
The green-grey leaves of the Strelitzia nicolia are eye-catching even from a distance; as is the fan-like sprouting tendency atop the stems. Its seeds are large and can provide whites, dark blues and blue-purple shades – to enliven any landscape. It is of note that it takes years of growth for the Strelitzia nicolia to blossom. The plant thrives in soils that are moist and rich, with good drainage in full sun, or at least partial shade. It tolerates a light frost, and it self-seeds freely. Performance Nursery advises against planting the Queen Palm too close to structures as their root systems are rather invasive.
The Strelitzia nicolia tree is known for its large banana-like leaves. Its colorful flowers add to the visual appeal. The flowers give the appearance of exotic birds, hence the tree’s nickname. It prefers soils that retain moisture and may be enriched. When planting consider locations with shelter as strong winds result in damaged and shredded leaves. The Bird of Paradise in the Los Angeles region has long been utilized as an accent plant. It is easy to grow and can thrive even in large containers, making it a favorite pool-side accessory.
Juniperus Blue Point
Residents of Los Angeles, Ventura and Orange County may give a second take then they first see a Juniperus Blue Point – which at first glance can look like a Christmas tree. Closer inspection will reveal that, while the shape may indeed resemble a perfect upside-down cone, the Juniperus Blue Point does not feature pines at all. What a close look reveals is a hardy and fast-growing upright juniper tree that is known to endure and survive very windy conditions as well as drought. In Southern California the Juniperus Blue Point is favored for windscreens, borders and accents for landscaping.
The Juniperus Blue Point is an evergreen that keeps its color year-round, making it an ideal choice for landscaping options. At maturity it can grow to as tall as 14 feet, with a width of 4 to 5 feet. It grows at a moderate pace on up to fast growth; it prefers well-drained soil and mostly sunshine so conditions could impact its growth rate and mature height. The foliage is green with a hint of blue, and dense where the sun most reaches. The texture can resemble soft needles, and flowers, cones or berries are not of concern to property owners or managers as the Juniperus Blue Point does not produce them.
Planting a Juniperus Blue Point, Los Angeles area property owners should look for slightly acidic soil, ensuring the location is well-drained, spacing the specimens about 4 feet apart. Water-soluble fertilizer, best applied in early spring and again each mid-fall, helps the Juniperus Blue Point to thrive. Performance Nursery, based in Somis, Calif., highly recommends the Juniperus Blue Point for borders or accents on any landscaping project.
The Cupressus sempervirens tree is a very familiar sight in the Greater Los Angeles region. Commonly known as the Mediterranean cypress, its elongated vertical profile is most often seen in a row to provide a property protection from the wind and sun. Also known as the Italian, Tuscan, “graveyard” cypress, or even pencil pine, the Cupressus sempervirens is a species native to the Mediterranean, particularly the eastern portion of that region. The medium-sized coniferous evergreen can reach up to 115 tall and is known for its ability to bend with winds regardless how small.
One thing about the Cupressus sempervirens, including in Southern California, is its longevity. Some of these trees have been known to exceed 1,000 years old, and one, in Iran, is reported to be more than 4,000 years old. With a cone-shaped crown and hanging small branches, the appearance of the Cupressus sempervirens is usually not overlooked. These cypress trees are common around Los Angeles as border trees, providing a property considerable privacy. Its oblong seed cones mature to a brownish color in 20 to 24 months after pollination. These trees are known to retain their dark green color year-round; the species name sempervirens comes from Latin for “evergreen.”
The Cupressus sempervirens fares well in areas with hot and dry summers, and mild somewhat rainy winters such as in Southern California. It is an ornamental tree that can be grown successfully in several different types of climates including in cooler and more moist summer climates such as in Great Britain and the Pacific Northwest. To put the profile of the Cupressus sempervirens in perspective, it is estimated that the long narrow crown is less than a 10th wide as the height of the tree. It also provides a pleasant scent that radiates a property properly landscaped.
The Juniperus Spartan has been a part of the landscape in the Greater Los Angeles region for many years. The fast-growing Juniperus Spartan is probably the most typical of the juniper family and can provide dark green color year-round to any landscape. This dense-branched evergreen tolerates drought, heat and cold, required for the Southern California desert climate. Since it grows into a pyramid-like shape, it requires little pruning and in fact overall is a low-maintenance landscape plant. The Spartan Juniper is very popular for borders and screens, providing property owners privacy. They can grow up to 18 feet tall, though on average they sit at 6 to 10 feet.
The hardy Juniperus Spartan can survive extreme temperatures, including to minus degrees Fahrenheit, making it attractive to landscapers who understand the periodic heat waves and cold fronts that can mark a season in the Los Angeles area. It can grow just about anywhere, but prefers mostly sunny locations, maybe with some morning or evening shade. The Juniperus Spartan is coniferous and also prefers moderately or well-drained soil, whether sand, silt, loam or clay. It does not require a lot of watering.
Some call the Juniperus Spartan the most popular of the upright Junipers. It is a very robust light tree that has been engaged by landscapers throughout the Southern California region. This is an upright, conical and dense tree. When planning, try to separate the Juniperus Spartan specimens at least 5 feet apart as the tree appreciates air flow and they can tend to grow outward. Their growth rate can depend on environmental elements such as climates and soil types. It is not susceptible to disease or pests but can show signs of damage if not inspected at least annually.
Thuja Plicata Emerald
The Thuja Plicata Emerald is a mainstay of properties within the Los Angeles region, favored by plant nurseries for their shape and color. Growing to up to 40 feet tall and 20 feet wide, the Thuja Plicata Emerald prefers partial shade or full shade to grow into a robust form. It is a form of the Western Red Cedar commonly called the “Emerald Cone.” The way it naturally grows into a cone-like shape makes its common name no surprise. For landscaping, the brilliant color of this plant makes it utilitarian for landscape designers.
The Thuja Plicata Emerald is native to the Pacific Northwest but grows hardily in Southern California and its environs in the Greater Los Angeles region. The tree prefers regular irrigation and above-normal shade, and it is not the most water-demanding tree. Its spread might be most desired: the width can reach up to 25 feet. The dark green foliage and typically conical shape makes the Thuja Plicata Emerald a preferred choice of landscape architects. A side benefit is the plant’s pleasant odor, when branches or leaves are crushed. It is very hardy in tough weather patterns including sub-freezing.
Remarkably adaptable, the Thuja Plicata Emerald can be utilized in multiple configurations. The native conifer is adept for use in a variety of landscape design purposes. Its ability to settle into any garden, especially as an ornamental fixture or border-liner, makes the Thuja Plicata Emerald a favored option for landscapers throughout the Southland. Given enough room to grow to maturity, this plant is very tolerant to shearing and lasts.
The Olea Dwarf is sought by Los Angeles area landscape designer and property owners for a variety of reasons. The Olea Dwarf is part of the olive family, yet unlike its family members with huge horizontal habits (up to 30 feet), the Olea is favored for its lack of fruit and general aesthetically pleasing appearance. Drought and heat tolerant, the Olea Dwarf is perfect for the climate in Southern California, from Santa Barbara and Ventura down to the flatter and usually hotter environments of Los Angeles and Orange County. The Olea Dwarf works well in many settings including as a hedge, or a shrub acting as a stand-alone small tree.
Sometimes called the “Petite Olive,” the Olea Dwarf is favored as a choice for an evergreen. Its deep green leaves are pleasing to look at from a distant, and critters like deer tend to leave it alone for those living in areas prone to wildlife visits. Left alone the Olea Dwarf will grow into a naturally rounded shape that has been noticed in the Mediterranean region for many, many years. It requires very little pruning and grows relatively slow compared with similar trees.
In Los Angeles and other nearby locales such as Long Beach, Hollywood or Orange County the Olea Dwarf is recognized as a bush that can stand alone, or work with others of its family to provide a wonderful hedge. It is very popular for landscaping in the Western United States including California and Nevada. Its dense foliage appreciates both coastal and inland environments.
The Chamaerops Humilis is a staple of front and back yards in the Los Angeles region. Known as the Red Flowering Maple, this flower-rich plant can grow to up to 10 feet tall, though typically it is an upright that can be controlled height-wise by regular pruning. Fast-growing, the Chamaerops Humilis provides intense dark green color to a landscape year-round. Its plentiful bouquet of flowers – local residents are familiar with its 3-inch-wide flowers that are shaped like a bell. The flowers feature incurved petals in a wonderful deep maroon color. It’s a flowering maple that is named for the leaf resembling a maple.
Planting the Chamaerops Humilis, seek locations with plenty of sun, along the coast if possible. The Abutilon is rather drought-resistant and is hardy as an evergreen of up to 25 degrees Fahrenheit. One thing to remember with the Chamaerops Humilis is that it is prone to pest infestations. It’s like a mallow but a strong attractor to hummingbirds. This palm species is native to Europe but has been cultivated in the United States for years. It is seen throughout Southern California including in Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley, Orange County and nearby locales.
The Chamaerops Humilis, with its clumping palm that resembles a shrub, is engaged in the Los Angeles area as a border ornament or even a featured plant in the center of a yard. Typically it gets to around 6 feet tall, sometimes as large as 15 feet. This fan palm produces leaves up to 5 feet long, as well as leaflets that can clump. The stems can develop into multiple stems, slumping into a shrub-like appearance. Its deep burgundy foliage is its trademark. The tree is known to be very hard down to 20 degrees Fahrenheit, and as stated, it tolerates windy and beach conditions.
Agonis F. After Dark
The Agonis flexuosa “Jervis Bay After Dark” is popular in the Greater Los Angeles region as a tree that can grow to about 20 feet tall, widening to around 10 to 15 feet in width in a subtle, weeping habit. Its dazzling new growth in spring can reflect a darkish red that most property owners or landscape designers appreciate. It grows slower than most of its family members and has thinner leaves; yet it still offers similar small whitish flowers that landscapers have appreciated over the years. The flowers feature burgundy-like centers that add texture to landscape ornamental trees.
Agonis F. After Dark is related to the West Australian willow myrtle and gathers its nickname from the After Dark Peppermint Tree. As they age they can tend to widen out with less thin foliage. Planting-wise, select locations for the Agonis F. After Dark with full sun, maybe allowing for a light shade. The soil should be well drained; however this tree does not require a lot of watering. It is pretty much drought-resistant, especially along coastal areas. This tree also is very tolerant of high winds, typical to Southern California in the fall and sometimes in the winter; and it fares well in environments near the ocean.
The Agonis F. After Dark can be a wonderful hedge. Keep its leaves and branches dense with regular pruning. Its branches have been known to arch elegantly in the wind making it quite popular with property owners and landscape designers alike. Often called the After Dark Peppermint Tree, its purple-like foliage is attractive to those seeking color for their yard or garden. In late sprint it can produce small relatively fragrant flowers.
The Agave Americana is cultivated around the world as an ornamental plant, including in the Greater Los Angeles area and nearby environs. Commonly called the century plant, or American aloe, the Agave Americana is a species of flowering plant native originally to northern Mexico as well as in Arizona and Texas. Today the plant is grown as an ornamental plant in many parts of the world including in South American and in the Mediterranean Basin. It is not related to plants in the aloe genus despite its nickname as the American aloe.
Depending on soil conditions and the planting location, the Agave Americana can grow up to 6 feet tall, with glue-green or gray-blue leaves that feature spines at the tips and margins. Older leaves can tend to droop downward. They are relatively hardy can live for 10 and maybe up to 25 years. Its flower stalk can be surprising: sometimes it can reach 15 feet tall. These usu8ally are seen in summertime. Typically the original plant dies and is replaced by small offshoots. Location-wise it prefers full sun and well-drained soil; it is drought-tolerant and generally slow-maturing. The evergreen can get up to 5 feet wide but typically rests around a foot wide.
The Agave Americana can survive the desert conditions often presented in the Greater Los Angeles region. By just providing a little supplemental water during dry months (which is often in the Southland) the Agave Americana can grow larger than usual. However, be careful not to over-water, particularly with clay soils (typical in Southern California housing tracts).
Podocarpus Gracilior Column
The Podocarpus Gracilior Column is a fern pine that has served as a regular focus point in yards and landscaping projects throughout the Los Angeles area. The shrub is applied often for commercial landscaping projects, due mainly from its trustworthy hardiness and habit growth trends. It can be molded into a hedge, the form of a tree, or left naturally into its column-like form. Overall the Podocarpus, as it’s called commonly, is low-maintenance once grown and established in a location.
Aesthetics-wise for the Podocarpus Gracilior in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura County or nearby areas, the plant provides a pest-free addition to a landscape as well as light green foliage that can emphasize corners lacking a lot of sunlight or color. Landscape designers appreciate how the plant is mostly pest-free, and is not bothered much by a lot of direct light. However, while the Podocarpus tolerates drought-like conditions, it looks better when at least watered a bit during a dry season.
This is a very graceful evergreen fern pine that originated in the African region. It grows so slowly that it can tend to retain a green glossy like foliage for quite a while. Its significantly stalked fruits bring forward it’s official name. “Gracilior” means graceful – an adjective often applied to the Podocarpus Gracilior. This fern pine has been known to grow to as high as 50 feet, with a spread as wide as 35 feet. It’s ability to grow well in an urban environment makes it very popular with landscapers and landscape designers. That, and the fact that it can survive winter temperatures as low as 20 degrees and most times the plant is very easy to maintain.
Arbutus U Marina Std
The Arbutus U Marina, also known as the Marina Strawberry Tree, has been a favorite evergreen in the Los Angeles and Ventura County regions for many years. It’s considered a medium-sized tree even though it can grow up to 50 feet tall (though it also can be as short as 25 feet in height). It’s dense and broad crown is favored by landscape designers, along with its tendency to peel older bark away to reveal bright, shiny red new bark under the older growth. Its white flowers, with gentle pink touches, can tend to resemble pendulums or an urn shape.
Flowers of the Arbutus U Marina can turn into an edible fruit. The evergreen can tolerate drought conditions but looks best, including when it’s flowering, when watered periodically during summertime. Location-wise, plant the Arbutus U Marina in full sun. It’s hardy down to as little as 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Overall it’s the tree’s looks that attracts landscaping gardeners. It’s evergreen leaves and pendulous clusters of flowers and fruits are visually striking, making it look in appearance to a Pacific madrone, a larger type of tree.
The Arbutus U Marina is part of the Arbutus genus that covers quite a few evergreen broadleaf trees, many indigenous to the Mediterranean, Western Europe and North America. Its leaves are dark green and can appear rather rubbery in light, another attraction point. This evergreen blooms and fruits year-round, with most occurring in spring and autumn; so property owners should be aware of potential maintenance and cleanup needs around these periods.
The Platanus Racemosa is known by numerous names including the California sycamore, Western sycamore or California plane tree. Mostly the other names make sense as the Platanus racemosa, as grown in the Los Angeles region, is a species of the sycamore tree. It really is native to California and Baja California and is known to grow mostly along the Western coast of the United States. It is known to grow pretty easily in different forms of habitat, including in canyons, seeps, along streams and rivers.
A large tree that can exceed 100 feet in height, the Platanus Racemosa can also feature a thick trunk to reach up to 3 feet in diameter. Some specimens have been known to have very wide trunk sizes as large as several dozen feet. The trunk of the Platanus Racemosa can tend to split into more than one large trunk and these splitting can generate many branches. With pretty large palmate-like leaves, which produce leaflets or lobes from the base of the leaves, the Platanus Racemosa is more known for its colorful bark.
The bark of the Platanus Racemosa can be a collage of white, beige, pink-gray or pale brown spots. Older back darkens and peels away showing off the new variety of colors. This is a deciduous tree that will drop a significant amount of dry leaves that can range from orange-red to a dry golden color. Today, the Platanus Racemosa is planted mostly as a landscape tree in landscapes and gardens. Its ability to let sun breath through in winter, as well as shade the hot sun in the summer, add to its attraction as a landscaping option in the Los Angeles area.
Quercus Agrifolia Std
The Quercus agrifolia is known as the coast live oak in the Los Angeles region – a staple of many urban and suburban landscapes. It grows west of the Sierra Nevada Mountains from central California down on into Baja California in Mexico and is well-known (and relatively well-protected) in Southern California communities from Thousand Oaks in Ventura County down to Carlsbad and San Diego County down near the U.S.-Mexico border. It is known for its classic oak-tree shaped leaves, and it gets the coastal live oak moniker from the fact that it’s an evergreen.
Similar to the canyon live oak, the Quercus agrifolia creates a trunk that often features multiple branches and can grow to a mature 30 to 75 feet in height. It’s spread-out habit is a fairly familiar site in Southern California, though what the coastal live oak is probably most well known for is its longevity. The Quercus agrifolia is known to live as long, or even longer, than 250 years making it a staple of a geographic landscape and nudging elected officials to protect it from destruction during land use development projects. Often the species is called the “California live oak.”
Older versions of the Quercus agrifolia in the Greater Los Angeles area, say older than 20 years, have been known quite well by its big, round crown. This tree’s leaves and acorns also are well known. The leaves are typically dark green and oval, getting up to around 4 or 5 inches long and a half-inch to two inches wide. The edges and especially tips can tend to be rather sharp to the touch. The flowers produce in the spring, ultimately producing an acorn fruit resembling a large nut that many Native American tribes used as sustenance.
Acer P. 'sango-kaku'
The Acer P. “Sango-Kaku,” or Acer Palmatum, is commonly called the Coral bark Japanese maple in Southern California. This deciduous tree features colors that can tend to intensify in cold weather, to a light red or some would say salmon color. The best color can be gleaned in full sun, and at maturity it can grow as call as 25 feet in height. It prefers moist or at least well-drained soil, but has been known to tolerate different soil types including clay and sand. Overall the Acer Palmatum “Sango-Kaku” is known to be hardy and drought-tolerant.
This tree is known to be medium in size and rounded upon maturity, getting as large as 20 feet wide. It does not grow quickly, moderate at best. This beautiful tree is often noted for its coral bark color on younger branches. Its light green leaves can reveal neat red margins, then turn to golden in the fall. Planting-wise, be certain to select a good location, with well-drained soil and at least a bit of shelter.
The Acer palmatum can serve as a focal point of any garden or landscape scene in the Greater Los Angeles area. Even in fog or gloomy conditions this tree’s color can stand out. Most Japanese maple types prefer cool coastal climates, with at least some shade inland. Once established, remember to water the Acer palmatum regularly, keeping the top 2 or 3 inches of soil under its canopy moist. It is not the strongest at surviving chilling frosts so when a cold spell is predicted it might be wise to shelter young trees in sheets or plastic.