Cypress at Locke Paddon park

Marina Suggested Tree List

Marina Trees — pick the right tree for the right spot!

Welcome to the updated Marina tree page! Our community needs more healthy trees to provide beauty, character and identitify a sense of place. Our club wants to help by providing our collective observations regarding trees in Marina to encourage planting “the right tree for the spot.”

New Tree List – downloadable pdf here

This list reflect some of the hardiest trees observed historically growing in Marina. The parameters for selection include wind and drought tolerance, affinity to poor sandy soils and marine salt air conditions. Other considerations include maintenance, sidewalk lifting, power line interference, sidewalk strip suitability and leaf litter. There are many other species that will grow here that may not meet all of the critera and may grow well with more care in a protected spot. The historical tree list can be explored further down the page.


Less than 20’ tall at maturity. Suitable for sidewalk strips and 36” openings in concrete. Will not lift sidewalks.

  • Ceanothus ‘Ray Hartman’ California Wild Lilac
  • Laurus ‘Saratoga’ Saratoga Bay Laurel
  • Heteromeles arbutifolia Toyon
  • Magnolia grandiflora “Little Gem” Little Gem Magnolia
  • Rhamnus alaternus Italian Buckthorn
Oak tree in prevailing wind
Oak tree bent by prevailing wind out at the Marina airport. Most likely this tree was planted from a 15 gallon pot—already too tall and spindly to adapt to windy conditions. A better approach would have been to plant a small multi-trunk 1 to 5 gallon tree that would have had time to adapt to the extreme wind conditions.

20’-35’ tall at maturity. Suitable for street strips, wide medians, yards and areas away from power lines. This list reflect trees that have well behaved roots (generally).

  • Allocasuarina verticillate (Casuarina stricta) Mountain She-Oak, Beefwood,
  • coast beefwood
  • Arbutus “Marina” Strawberry tree
  • Arbutus unedo Strawberry tree
  • Callistemon citrinus (Melaleuca citirinus) Lemon Bottlebrush
  • Casaurina stricta (see Allocasuarina verticillate) Coast Beefwood, Drooping She-Oak
  • Corynocarpus laevigatus New Zealand Laurel
  • Eriobotrya japonica Loquat
  • Ilex aquifolium English Holly
  • Melaleuca ericifolia Heath Melaleuca, Swamp paperbark
  • Melaleuca linariifolia Flaxleaf Paperbark
  • Melaleuca quinquenervia Cajeput Tree
  • Melaleuca styphelioides Black Tea Tree, Prickly Leaf Paperbark
  • Pittosporum crassifolium Karo Tree
  • Podocarpus gracilior Fern Pine
  • Prunus ilicifolia ssp lyonii Catalina Cherry
  • Tristaniopsis laurina Small-Leaf Tristania, Water gum
  • Searsia lancea (Rhus lancea) African Sumac
Arbutus ‘Marina’ is a very popular street tree that grows well with little maintenance
LARGE TREES – Evergreen

More than 35’ tall at maturity. Not suitable under or near power lines, or, small street/sidewalk openings. Larger trees will have more issues with roots lifting sidewalks and causing damage. It is recommended that these trees be given plenty of room to grow!

  • Cupressus macrocarpa Monterey Cypress
  • Cinnamomum camphora Camphor Tree
  • Geijera parvifiora Australian Willow
  • Corymbia ficifolia Red flowering gum
  • Eucalyptus nicholii Willow-leaf peppermint
  • Eucalyptus polyanthemos Silver Dollar gum
  • Lophostemon confertus Brisbane Box
  • Lyonothamnus floribundus asplenifolius Catalina Ironwood
  • Pinus canariensus Canary Island Pine
  • Pinus halepensis Allepo Pine
  • Pinus pinea Italian Stone Pine
  • Pinus radiate Monterey Pine
  • Pinus Torreyana Torrey Pine
  • Quercus tomentella Island Oak
  • Quercus agrifolia Coast Live Oak
Beach Street Legacy trees – eucalyptus trees can get very large over time!
LARGE TREES – Deciduous

A deciduous tree can add lovely autumn colors to a landscape. Remember that any tree that loses its leaves will drop copious amounts of litter in the fall.

  • Ginkgo biloba ‘Autumn Gold,’ ‘Princeton Sentry,’ ‘Saratoga’ Maidenhair tree, Ginkgo
  • Platanus x acerifolia ‘Columbia’ London plane, sycamore

Please Note: Palms are long lived at 50-100+ years and some get very large. Not suitable under power lines or small street/sidewalk openings because of mature size. A mature palm can require costly maintenance to remove dead material at the crown.

  • Chamaerops humilis Mediterranean Fan Palm
  • Cordyline australis Dracaena Palm
  • Phoenix canariensis Canary Island Date Palm
  • Phoenix dactylifera Date Palm
  • Washingtonia filifera California Fan Palm
  • Washingtonia robusta Mexican Fan Palm

For further information on each tree visit the Cal Poly Select-a-Tree list

Lyonothamnos asplenifolium
Catalina Ironwood grove with Heuchera and Sticky Monkey Flower. Photo: Juli Hofmann

Updates to the Old Tree List

PLEASE NOTE: Some trees on our historical list are no longer recommended. Although these trees may grow very well in Marina – considerations are now given to:

  • Allergen Species
  • Cold intolerance
  • Disease
  • Invasive Species
Allergen Species

There are tree tree species that can cause severe to moderate reactions for some people. We suggest visiting the following site to get more information on trees and plants that cause allergies before planting.

Cold Intolerance

Metrosideros excelsus – New Zealand Christmas Tree has been removed from the recommended tree list.

The 2007 cold snap devastated many newly planted New Zealand Christmas trees and many did not recover. An older established tree can withstand sustained cold snaps with only topical burning and regrowth from an established root, but this is generally a cold sensitive tree. There are more cold tolerant tree choices that we would rather recommend

Myoporum Thrip
More information on how to ID thrips can be found on the MT&GC In the Garden page

Myoporum laetum – Lollypop tree has been removed from the recommended tree list.

Myoporum laetum was THE main street tree in Marina for decades. It seemingly thrived in the wind and sand without any summer water and managed to look glossy all year round. This all changed when the Myoporum Thrip was introduced in to Southern California and worked its way up to the central coast about 10 years ago. Now every Myoporum that is still living shows some degree of infection and stress. It is only a matter of time before no healthy species will be found on our streets. For more information on the thrip and possible solutions for infected trees

Invasive Species

All of the following have been removed from the recommended tree list.
Acacia baileyana ‘Purpurea’ – Purple Acacia (freely reseeds everywhere)
Acacia salicina – WIllow Acacia (freely reseeds everywhere)
Leptospermum laevigatum – Australian Tea Tree (all over Fort Ord!)
Maytenus boaria – Mayten Tree (suckers freely & invasive roots)

These trees grow GREAT in our area, but sadly they will reseed freely and plant themselves in many locations causing long term maintenance problems. Although there may be specific situations in which – say for example an Acacia baileyana – would be preferred over other less invasive species – we caution for careful consideration before planting. For more information on invasive plant species in general visit

Coast Live oak, Ceanothus ‘Ray Hartman’, Mexican sage and Roldana petasitis in full bloom

For more information on Arborists, Fruit Trees, Plant Nurseries and local informational links visit our links page.

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