Best Shade Trees for Southern California

Best Shade Trees for Southern California

By Jason Talmage on November, 20 2020
Tree Highlights Shade Trees Camphor Trees Hollywood Hedges Magnolia Trees Podocarpus Trees

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Jason Talmage

Beautiful year-round weather is one of the best parts about living in Southern California. If your goal is to plant trees that offer beauty and shade in every season, consider four of the best shade trees that thrive in this climate.

Hollywood Hedge

Also known as Indian Laurel Columns or Ficus nitida, Hollywood Hedge is a highly popular shade plant in Southern California. This fast-growing evergreen can be pruned to almost any shape and size. It handles the desert dryness without issue and prefers to grow in full sun.

When planted on the south or west side of your property, Hollywood Hedge provides excellent shading and a wonderful cooling effect. It also grows tall and dense, making it an effective privacy screen and sound barrier.

Camphor Trees

Camphor is a large evergreen shade tree that matures to a height of 50 to 60 feet. Once established, these plants require little water, making them a hardy, drought-tolerant choice for Southern California homes.

Your family is bound to love having a camphor tree for many reasons, including its aromatic flowers in springtime, sturdy branches for erecting treehouses, and year-round green foliage. Because camphor trees take longer to grow, it’s wise to transplant a large tree so you can begin enjoying shade from the lush, wide canopy immediately.

Podocarpus Trees

Podocarpus—also known as long-leafed yellowwood—is a unique-looking evergreen. Its thin leaves on spindly branches create a dense, delicate-looking crown for optimal shade. This medium-sized tree grows as tall as 30 to 40 feet, making it perfect for shading your patio. You can also plant several in a row as upright hedges, windbreakers, or privacy borders around your property.

The top features of the podocarpus tree include low maintenance, resistance to pests and disease, and tolerance of numerous growing conditions. This fast-grower only requires pruning if you want a particular shape and size. It also has moderate water needs once established.

Magnolia Trees

Magnolia is a genus of plants that comprises about 210 species. Many of these thrive in the Southern California climate, including:

Despite their differences in size and winter foliage, all magnolia trees are prized for their generous shade and fragrant flowers, which may be white, pink, purple, red, or yellow. These trees also produce fruits in the fall that are a favorite food of many birds. Magnolias are characterized by their dark, waxy green leaves and beautifully twisting branches.

Japanese Privet Trees

The Japanese privet is a small to medium-sized tree with an evergreen canopy for year-round shade. Native to Asia, these moderately fast growers thrive best in full sun or partial shade. They provide versatile landscape uses beyond shade, including serving as privacy screens and windbreakers when pruned properly.

Birdwatchers will be pleased to learn that Japanese privet trees attract hummingbirds with lovely white flowers in late spring. These give way to glossy, ornamental berries, which ripen in the fall and last throughout the winter.

No matter what shade trees you choose, Moon Valley Nurseries stocks the plants you’re looking for. We have numerous convenient locations throughout California and elsewhere in the Southern US to meet our customers’ needs. Healthy, well-cared-for trees combined with the best warranty in the industry gives you the confidence you need to start landscaping your yard. For more expert advice about choosing the right trees for your property, please contact us today.

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