China Dolls & Coconut Palms

Q: I bought a China doll (Radermachera sinica) about six weeks ago. It lost a great many of its leaves at the beginning. I have it on a table near a sliding glass window where it gets bright light bu...

Turn Lawn Into Forest

It always happens about this time of year. In the midst of what seems to be an endless heat wave, people start noticing how often they have to water – that is, almost daily – in order to ...

Italian Cypress

My neighbor has a 40-foot Italian cypress that stands like a solitary sentinel, guarding his pool and hot tub and my garage and basketball net. The majestic presence of this tree and its unidirection...

Arboreta, Patience, & Australian Trees

If you want to learn the meaning – that is, the beauty – of patience, visit a botanical garden or arboretum. I recently had the opportunity to do so in Arcadia, where the Los Angeles Coun...

Wandering Roots

Q: My pool deck is lifting in several places as a result of the invasion of roots from my neighbor’s tree. The tree is 50 to 60 feet tall with a canopy at least 70 feet wide. It is deciduous wi...

Growing Trees in Pots

I am looking for small trees that I can place in pots around my swimming pool to give the impression of a cooler, more hospitable climate. I was thinking 8-foot trees would be ideal, but I need to kn...

Silk Trees Ideal for Small Yards

Once in awhile, certain plants and trees practically jump out at you, more glorious than you ever imagined them to be. They stand out as though transported from another place. During the last few day...

A Grove of Trees

I must have pulled at least 10,000 Washington palm seedlings in my lifetime. They come up everywhere in Los Angeles and require nothing but smog to survive. For years, I found nothing redeeming about...

Mayten & Pineapple Guava

Just the other day, in North Hollywood on Sylvan Street, I bumped into two of my favorite trees. One was a pineapple guava (Acca or Feijoa sellowiana) and the other was a mayten (Maytenus boaria). Fo...

Afghan Pines & Mountain Garlands

Question: I have an Afghan pine planted in a hole cut out of my deck. It has been there about 10 years, has a circumference of about 70 inches at the base, and is 6 feet from the house. It currently ...