Tall 25-50ft shade tree, non-invasive, low-shedding (evergreen or not to high maintenance deciduous). I live in 9B zone in California. Does such a tree exist?
I can recommend the Camphor Tree -- Cinnamomum camphora. I know there are others who don't like this tree, but we had 5 of them used for view blocking; they never raised the pavement or were invasive - but they had plenty of root-room opposite the driveway; they are dense and evergreen with shiny green leaves; the birds ate the berries; and required only some pruning to keep branches off the driveway... if not for that they would have needed hardly any.
I always bought multi-stemmed near the ground for a denser look to block the view of the garages as one came up the driveway.
I'm one of those that would never plant a camphor tree. There's one in front of my home planted by the city, and one in the backyard that I believe started out being the neighbors but is so large that half of it is in my backyard. The street tree is raising up the sidewalk, and both tree drop tons of seeds that reseed all over the place. It is a pretty tree, but I wouldn't recommend it unless you have acreage.
I also love the Camphor tree, but would not plant it in a lawn because the constant water from the lawn can cause root disease in the tree. Al
I asked much the same question a while back. The answer was Acer freemanii AUTUMN FANTASY MAPLE, and I also found that Ginkgo biloba/ Maidenhair Tree. Only get a MALE tree. Will produce shade and color. Get Autumn Gold or Saratoga.
The answer about the maple is linked below.
Here is a link that might be useful: Shade tree with non invasive roots
This post was edited by desertdance on Sun, Apr 7, 13 at 12:22
Camphor trees are messy and they sucker. I have one in my front yard and twice a year it sheds branches and leaves. It also has black berries that stain the sidewalk...the birds can't eat them all It's always trying to come up in a small bed nearby.
It's on the NE side so provides no shade for me.
Someday it will have to come out and I will be grateful!
I'd choose a conifer in that situation:
Western juniper - Juniperus occidentalis
Alligator juniper - Juniperus deppeana
Dawn redwood - metasequoia
Italian stone pine - Pinus pinea
McNabb cypress - Cupressus macnabiana
CA nutmeg - Torreya californica
Conifer's are really messy! They not only drop pine cones, but they shed leaves constantly! Also, nothing grows under them.
Many of the suggestions are trees that easily get 60 - 100 feet tall. Camphor is invasive and has an aggressive root system. In fact most large trees eventually have large root systems that interfere with this and that. Select the smallest tree that will do the job you want it to do. In the long run you will save yourself money and trouble.
Also figure that the tree will get a little larger than the estimates you read on the label or in the description. Many trees are listed for their size after 10 years of growth--eventually they will be larger.
Cal Poly Tree selector is a nice site for suggestions. Also check the Sunset Western Garden book for "trees to plant near swimming pools", not because you have a pool but because trees that are good near swimming pools have well-behaved root systems and are pretty clean.
I'm finding Agonis flexuosa to be a very nice small tree (25' is considered to be a "small" tree). Clean, well behaved, deep root system.
Here is a link that might be useful: Cal Poly SLO Selectree
Arbutus 'Marina'. There is some 'shedding' but what tree doesn't shed a bit? Gorgeous bark, interesting branch structure, glossy leaves, lovely flowers and nice multicolored fruit.
The conifers are gorgeous and most do not make a mess, but the OP specified shade tree which generally means a wider crown.
hoovb makes a good point about size...
Tristania laurina, Rhus lancea, Podocarpus gracilior, Butia capitata, Brahea armata, Feijoa sellowiana, Tabebuia chrysotricha, Satsuma Mandarin.
Why isn't anyone mentioning Chinese Pistache? My 1 to 3 year old trees are doing well and when fall comes the colorful leaves all drop within a few days. I like that; one clean-up job each year.
Is there something objectionable they are going to do as they grow larger that I don't know about yet? Min
Pistache is very nice, yes. It does (eventually) get pretty large.
Here is a link that might be useful: Pistachia chinensis