Q: Can you recommend a fast-growing tree with non-invasive roots that grows tall and dense?
Monday, January 04, 2016
Posted by: Shannon Sperati
We would like to plant a couple of coast redwoods to block a neighbor's two-story windows but have read conflicting information regarding their root system. Can the coast redwood roots damage foundations, nearby cement, and underground plumbing? If so, can you recommend a fast-growing tree with non-invasive roots that grows tall and dense?
A: The challenge is selecting a fast-growing tree that won't get too large to cause the root conflicts you are concerned about, but will also serve as a screen without creating a spite fence. The biggest issue with redwoods, aside from their eventual large size and large surface roots, is their water needs. Redwoods are not the best tree choice for a low natural water environment like San Jose. A better evergreen conifer option is the Deodar cedar, Cedrus deodara. Other quality broadleaf evergreens that could serve as a screen are the coast live oak, cork oak, holly oak, or California Bay. When planting for a quick screen, more trees could be initially planted with tight spacing and removed to thin the row as the trees grow larger and need more space between them.