drought resistant trees

Landscape Trees for Drought Conditions in Northern California

California’s extreme drought conditions have made water conservation a common goal for the region’s businesses. Choosing drought-resistant plants and trees makes achieving this objective easier while keeping your commercial landscape looking great. Fortunately, Northern California’s warm climate and long growing season give trees ample time to get established before the first December frost, making now a great time to contact our tree management team about making the switch. What do our arborists recommend for landscape trees for drought conditions in Northern California US Hardiness Zone 9?

Drought Tolerant, Fast-Growing Trees for Your Northern California Landscape

These fast-growing trees can quickly change your landscape’s look and irrigation requirements:

California sycamore tree

California sycamores reach 40-100 feet, with canopies nearly as wide, offering abundant shade. Established trees are drought-tolerant, thriving in full sun. Leave ample space between nearby structures for this species’ aggressive roots.

California white oak tree

The California white oak offers excellent longevity and the ability to provide shade. It can live over 200 years, thriving in full sun and partial shade. This massive oak species reaches 40-70 feet, growing about 2 feet each year, making it one of the largest in North America.

California cherry tree

California cherry trees are native to the region. They grow quickly once established, reaching heights of 40 feet and widths of 20 feet. They thrive in full sun to part shade. In late spring, the tree showcases beautiful white flowers, attracting birds and insects. Be careful planting near concrete, as the fruit can stain.

Heritage river birch

This hardy tree is a popular choice for low-maintenance commercial landscape designs. It resists diseases, boasting strong limbs that stand up to wind and ice. Mature trees reach 40-50 feet tall with a span of 25-40 feet, growing about 3 feet annually. The birch’s distinctive, peeling bark adds color and flair to any landscape design.

American red maple

The American red maple is a hardy shade tree that thrives in nearly any soil type. It grows up to 3 feet annually, reaching 40-60 feet tall and spans 25-45 feet wide.

Drought Tolerant Small Trees for Northern California Landscapes

Our tree care services team recommends these drought tolerant trees for smaller landscapes. They are perfect for adding beauty without overpowering your commercial landscape design:

California buckeye

This California native grows 13-39 feet tall, producing white flowers followed by buckeyes. The fruits are toxic, so carefully consider each chosen location before planting.

Crepe myrtle tree

Crepe myrtles need regular watering immediately after planting but are quite drought tolerant once established. They reach 15-25 feet tall, flowering from July through October.

Pomegranate tree

The pomegranate is a small shrub that tree management pros can train into a tree up to 20 feet tall. Its easy-care nature, colorful flowers and fruit, and vibrant foliage make it a popular choice in drought-resistant landscape designs.

Western redbud

Groom this versatile tree into a single trunk, multiple trunks, or a shrub as tall as 10-20 feet. It prefers full sun and can tolerate drought conditions – but blooms best with deep watering.

Tips for Designing a Drought Tolerant Commercial Landscape in Northern California

Be sure to consider the impact of each tree when fully grown to avoid tree sizing and spacing snafus. It’s much easier to choose the right tree for your landscape’s footprint than it is to remove and relocate established trees. Selecting a few different tree sizes and varieties ensures a more visually exciting design. Our licensed, certified arborists can help you identify species that will achieve your goals.

Find the ideal landscape trees for drought conditions in Northern California, carefully selected to thrive and survive in your San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, or Hayward commercial landscape’s microclimate. Contact your local Arborwell branch to schedule an arborist consultation today:


drought resistant trees, tree selection, water conservation

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