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Branching Out Is Possible, Even in the Smallest Yards

June 28, 1997|KAREN DARDICK

The following trees are especially suited to Orange County, say Terri Hartley of Hines Nurseries in Irvine, Laura Lyons of the UC Irvine Arboretum and Anne Roth of Roger's Gardens in Corona del Mar:

Agonis flexuosa (peppermint tree, also called Australian willow myrtle)--Evergreen; fast growing to 30 feet high; can grow in lawns or containers; small white flowers in June; leaves smell like peppermint when crushed.

Albizia julibrissin (silk tree)--Deciduous; fast growing to 40 feet high with wide spread but can be headed back to form a 10- to 20-foot umbrella; pink, fluffy flowers in summer; excellent small shade tree; thrives in summer heat.

Bauhinia (Brazilian butterfly tree)--Grows to 20 feet high; produces white flowers in spring through summer; angled branches and twisted trunk add sculptural effect.

Cercis canadensis (Eastern Redbud)--Deciduous; grows to 35 feet high; rosy pink flowers produced in early spring; rounded form.

Cupaniopsis anacardioides (carrot wood)--Evergreen; slow to moderate growth to 40 feet high; easy to prune smaller; native to Australia; suitable for coast and inland.

Hymenosporum flavum (sweetshade)--Native to Australia; slow to moderate growth to 40 feet high; in early summer, produces clusters of yellow flowers with honey fragrance; needs training and staking for several years after planting.

Lagerstroemia indica and hybrids (crape myrtle)--Deciduous; slow-growing single or multi-trunk to 15 to 25 feet high with 10- to 15-foot spread; prone to mildew so not recommended along the coast; Indian Tribes hybrids offer mildew-resistance for inland regions; profuse flowering in various colors from July through September.

Magnolia grandiflora (Little Gem, or St. Mary)--Evergreen dwarf varieties grow 10 to 20 feet high and produce full-size flowers on small trees; prune to shape as tree form since branches grow to ground.

Maytenus boaria (Mayten tree)--Evergreen; slow to moderate growth to an eventual 40 feet high; graceful, pendulous branches resemble small weeping willow; needs deep watering to prevent surface roots.

Melaleuca ericifolia (health melaleuca)--Evergreen; fast-growing 10 to 25 feet high; produces yellowish white flowers in early spring; needle-like dark green leaves resemble heather; good near beach.

Prosopis glandulosa (honey or Texas mesquite)--Deciduous with spreading habit and multiple trunks; moderate growth; looks like a small version of a California pepper tree but without invasive roots.

Prunus cerasifera Krauter Vesuvius or Thundercloud (flowering plum)--Deciduous; moderate growth to 20 feet high; attractive pink flowers in spring with colorful red foliage.

Prunus serrulata Kwanzan (flowering cherry)--Deciduous; grows to 30 feet high with 20-foot spread; rosy pink flowers in pendulous clusters; foliage is red when young.

Tabebuia chrysotricha (golden trumpet tree)--Mostly evergreen; rounded growth to 25 feet high; very showy golden yellow flowers, mainly in April through May.

Tipuana tipu (Tipu tree)--Deciduous or semi-evergreen; fast growth to 25 feet high; can be pruned to umbrella shape; produces clusters of apricot to yellow sweet pea-shaped flowers in June-July; pods follow flowers; can grow in lawns.

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