Selecting a tree species considering its environmental tolerances and growth attributes is a pre-requisite for successful landscape performance. The following table presents critical arboricultural information for over 100 trees to assist the land manager in selecting an appropriate tree species for a particular landscape.

This table is a compilation of information from several references (see below) which we then modified based on our own experience with the species. Trees which we would seldom recommend were removed from the list.

A tree’s mature size should be remembered when fitting a species to a planting site. Distances to structures, roadways, signs, solar collectors and other trees are key considerations. In addition, sufficient below ground space should be provided for trees to avoid conflict between tree roots and hardscape. Avoid planting large trees within 15 feet of foundations, roads or pathways.

Landscape irrigation practices greatly affect tree performance. Species that are drought tolerant and those which tolerate frequent lawn irrigation are indicated. In certain locations, especially those in the western portion of the Central Valley, alkaline soils or those with high levels of boron (> 0.5 ppm for sensitive species) can slow growth and/or discolor foliage. Therefore, species which tolerate alkaline or high boron soils are noted where known.

In cases where trees infected by debilitating diseases such as oak root fungus (Armillaria mellea), water mold (Phytopthora sp.) or Verticillium wilt are to be replaced, planting resistant species is recommended. The list provides an indication of species’ susceptibility to these diseases.

The final column was checked in cases where we have little experience with species performance. The use of trees so indicated is encouraged with caution so that we may learn more about them and increase the palate of trees in our landscapes. You may wish to avoid planting these trees in areas where the trees will play a vital functional or aesthetic role.

U.C. Davis and C.S.U. Sacramento are excellent locations to view mature specimens of many of the trees on this list. Prior to your visit, go to either the University Arboretum website or the Grounds Division website, or Sacramento State’s Arboretum Tree Map for information on specific tree locations, maps and tree walks. The non-profit TreeDavis has a tree tour in downtown Davis and is currently working on a “top 20” tree list. The Sacramento Tree Foundation also has a list of trees with their characteristics and images.

Please view our Tree Species List that we have compiled. We welcome comments regarding this list and we plan to periodically update it based on these and our own experience.

-John, Kelly, and Richard

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