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short shade tree with non invasive roots

13 years ago

Ok, I'm new to planting anything so bear with me here . . .

We live in a moutain community in Southern California. Technically we are in zone 8 or 9. We have desert like conditions but we also get snow and below freezing temps for at least 3 months in the winter. It is incredibly dry here and our soil is basically dry rocky decomposed granite.

Our backyard doesn't have any shade. We are putting in a wooden playset for the kids and eventually re-doing our deck. We'd like some shade for those things. The problem is that the only spot that would provide any kind of shade is near power lines and about 15 feet from the septic tank. Luckily the leach lines go the opposite direction, but I don't want to take any chances with our [metal!?!] tank.

Is there a tree that would grow in our area that would not get too incredibly tall (under 25 ft), grow relatively quickly, and not have agressive roots? Our other option, as my husband just pointed out, is if the tree doesn't get wider than 15 feet, then a taller tree is fine. Please don't suggest an evergreen, as we're already surrounded by them and I want something different. I also am weary of flowering trees (although that was my first choice) since bee allergies run in the family and it would be planted near the playset.

The lady at the local nursery convinced us to try an apple tree to fit this spot. My dogs promtly tore it to shreds while still in the pot. And after I did my research I'm not sure its what we really wanted in that spot anyway. I will however plant it elsewhere to see if it can recover.

So am I asking for too much? What should I be looking at? Thanks for any help.

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