Trees are a great addition to any home. They provide shade and beauty and can improve the value of your property. In Sarasota, Florida, you’ll find lots of gorgeous trees. But some trees are better at growing here than others. Knowing which non-native tree species will thrive in your area can help you create a healthier yard and help the environment by using fewer resources than would be needed to grow more temperamental plants. Here are some of my favorites:
Japanese Blueberry Tree
The Japanese Blueberry Tree (Elaeocarpus decipiens), is an evergreen coniferous tree native to Japan, Korea, and China. This species can reach 40 to 60 feet in height and has a conical crown of evergreen, alternate, simple obovate leaves. A desirable ornamental because of its lustrous green foliage. It makes for an excellent accent tree in parks and gardens. The Japanese Blueberry Tree can also be used as a hedge where there is limited space or at home entrances where privacy screening is desired.
Japanese Fern Tree
The Japanese fern tree is an elegant small tree that reaches 20 to 25 feet in height, with a dense, rounded crown and straight trunk. The bark is brownish and flakes to reveal pinkish inner bark. The dark green compound pinnate leaves make it a perfect shade tree for any garden. This species is tolerant of most well-drained soils and can be planted almost anywhere in your landscape.
Water Chestnut Pachira Aquatica
Although the Water Chestnut Pachira Aquatica can grow up to 60 feet high in its native habitat of Eurasia and Africa, it is usually shorter in cultivation, between 30 and 40 feet. The swollen trunks have a greenish bark with dark-green evergreen leaves. Cultivated for its seeds that taste like chestnuts, this tree is a good addition to your front yard if you have a large space.
Bridalveil Tree- Caesalpinia granalido
The Bridalveil Tree is a good choice for Sarasota landscapes. This tree can reach a height of 30 feet and has an open, rounded vase-shaped crown of upright spreading branches that grow irregularly. The leaves are alternate, bipinnate, and obovate, with delicate evergreen leaves that provide shade in the summer months.
The fruit is narrow, dry, hard, persistent pods which grow in clusters on leafless stems. It grows well in well-drained soils and makes an ideal ornamental tree in the region.
Peltophorum dubium is a medium-sized, deciduous tree with a wide spread. It has high branches and an umbrella-like canopy, making it popular in parks and gardens. The trunk is slender with thick, scaly gray bark.
Its flowers grow in upright whorl clusters with fragrant yellow blooms from late winter through spring; they may also appear in fall, depending on your climate conditions.
With a little research and dedication, you can find the right tree for your home. Remember to ask friends or family members if they have any ideas, or be on the lookout at nurseries or hardware stores specializing in landscaping. There are many great places to search for non-native trees!