Fast growing, climbable tree?

anchita(Bay area, CA)June 11, 2014

We have a large backyard, which has a 30'X40' spot that gets mostly sun during summer -- I haven't noted its exposure during winter. I'd love to plant a tree with a low and strong enough branching structure that my kids could enjoy climbing it. A fast grower would be a plus, and double (but low priority) bonus if it would get edible fruit. I have no idea or knowledge regarding growing trees, so any guidance and/or pointers would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance!

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drinkmorewater

Your kids will grow way faster than any tree, unfortunately.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 1:24AM
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nil13(z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Washington))

If you already have kids, you would have to buy an insanely expensive gigantic box tree and have it craned in to have any chance of them climbing it. Now if you are planning on having kids in 20 years then there might be some other options. Remember, safely climbable branches are to be 6 inches in diamerer.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 11:00AM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

Do NOT get a fast growing Silky Oak! Worst tree on the earth. I suggest a Fig tree. Verte! Fast growing, lots of branches, and delicious fruit. Tastes like strawberries! hard to find, but I have one. Easy to grow from cuttings, but try finding a rooted one. Big, fast growing, and tons of branches. It's the answer you want.

Suzi

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 11:06PM
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surfcitysocal

When I was a kid, we had an alder in our front yard that was planted when I was a baby, and in which, as I was growing up, I spent many hours at its top, looking over the roofs of the 1-story houses in our neighborhood and dreaming of flying. One of my favorite childhood memories.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 3:07AM
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surfcitysocal

I also spent many hours raking the leaves of the alder since it's deciduous...but that's not a bad chore for a kid to have to do.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 3:10AM
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surfcitysocal

The alder did have raised roots above the ground at its base. And as I recall, no grass grew below it...possibly because of the foot traffic at the base of the tree (a lot of the neighborhood kids climbed it, too), or because of the shade. But I wouldn't trade the fun of climbing it and the hours of wiling away the time imagining all kinds of things for grass below it and no roots.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 3:18AM
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anchita(Bay area, CA)

Thank you for your replies.

I do realize that it may or may not be big enough in time for my kids to climb (they are 6, 4 and 2 yrs old right now.) But it seems like such a prime spot for a tree -- hopefully *somebody's* kids will enjoy it :-) I'm going to look into the Verte fig and Alder.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 11:45PM
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RugbyHukr(23)

Valley Oak can grow 4 feet per year.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 1:14PM
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surfcitysocal

Let us know what you decide, anchita. I'm pulling for the alder! If I had the space for one, I'd plant one myself. Robert Fulghum, who wrote the well-known, "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten", also had some funny insights and observations about climbing trees in his other much appreciated book, "It Was on Fire When I Lay Down on It". In the book he reveals he still climbs trees as an adult...and gets some of his best ideas at the top of one. :)

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 6:51PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

A Pakistan Mulberry can grow a foot a month. Ours sure is. PLUS delicious fruit.

Pinterest is a fun place to search for ideas. Kids love tree houses! We actually have 3 large pines, and I'm thinking of putting a cool tree house with a ladder up there for the grand kids.

Have fun searching!
Suzi

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 7:51PM
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anchita(Bay area, CA)

Thank you, everyone, for your input! I decided to get a Pakistan Mulberry tree. Hopefully we'll at least get to enjoy the fruit, if not climbing.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 1:28AM
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sf_rhino

Anchita, have you bought the tree yet? If so where did you get it?
thx
ryan

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 8:16PM
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anchita(Bay area, CA)

Yes, I just bought it yesterday, at Wegman's nursery in Redwood city. They had at least one more Pakistan mulberry, a few Persian mulberries and some form of a Weeping mulberry there as of yesterday afternoon.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wegman's

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 8:53PM
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sf_rhino

Thanks!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 8:24PM
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aquilachrysaetos

For my so Cal location I chose a London Plane. Planted LP Columbia four years ago. My 16 year old climbs it now. It has a nice "ladder" structure with regularly spaced limbs along a straight central trunk. It will be a couple more years before the limbs are thick enough to crawl out on, but a kid can go straight up like a ladder.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 3:45PM
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stanofh

Sycamores. No fruit,can be messy. But natives that wont need much watering when they get to climbable size.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 7:48PM
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aquilachrysaetos

And sycamores smell wonderful! I planted Cal sycamore 'Roberts' in April. It was two feet tall then. Now it's about six feet.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 7:33PM
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