Five Drought-Resistant Trees in California

California has experienced drought since 2020, in addition to a dry year in 2018 and a three-year drought between 2011 and 2017. Furthermore, summers have experienced unusually high temperatures that have desiccated soils and vegetation. 

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, nearly 75% of California experienced extreme or exceptional drought during the 2022 summer. If you’re considering planting trees anywhere in California, choosing tree species with high water efficiency that can survive dry conditions is critical. 

This blog post explores five top drought-resistant trees you can plant in California, as recommended by Fresno’s tree service professional. 

Golden Rain Tree

The Golden Rain is a beautiful, summer-blooming tree with yellow star-shaped flowers. This tree species grows rapidly and is ideal for tough open terrain and urban spaces. 

It can withstand drought and resists pests, diseases, heat, heavy wind, and pollution. Golden Rain Tree thrives in well-draining, neutral to mildly alkaline soils and can reach up to 40 feet tall and 35 feet wide. 

California Sycamore

This large and beautiful tree is one of California’s drought-tolerant native plants. California Sycamores have beautiful, splotch bark that includes gray, white, and brown tones. 

While this tree species is deciduous and sheds its leaves every fall, it provides excellent shade during the spring and summer. California sycamores can reach up to 100 feet in height. 

Common Hackberry

Many homeowners love Common Hackberry trees because they attract squirrels and birds during winter. These large, drought-resistant trees have an attractive rounded top and vase-like shape. 

Their wood is extremely damage-resistant, enabling them to withstand heat, salt spray, ice, high wind, and other harsh conditions. Their structure makes them a popular choice for city backyards and boulevards. 

Common Hackberry trees thrive in neutral to alkaline soils and partial shade to full sun exposure. They are perfect for hardiness zones 3-9 and can grow up to 70 feet tall and 50 feet wide. 

California Buckeye

If you’re looking for a drought-resistant tree species that can thrive without supplemental irrigation, consider the California Buckeye. This species provides a lot of shade, and you can use it to keep your AC unit cooler, helping lower your cooling costs during the summer. 

However, Buckeyes typically shed leaves towards the end of summer. It hardly exceeds 25 feet in height, and homeowners often use it as an accent tree. 

Bur Oak

Bur Oak features deep roots, strong branches, and a dense canopy, giving it an enhanced tolerance for drought. A native of the Great Lakes region, the Bur Oak is highly resistant to deer and insects. 

This tree species can thrive in poor soil conditions and live up to 300 years. Mature Bur Oak trees can reach up to 80 feet tall and 80 feet wide. 

Contact Your Local Tree Experts for Assistance

If you need professional help choosing the best drought-resistant trees for your property, Cut Rite Tree Service is here. Call our professional arborists at 559-320-7723 for a free estimate and to learn more about Fresno trees


We are a locally owned company that prides ourselves in providing the best service possible for the residents of Fresno, Clovis, Madera, Sanger, Folwer, Reedley and the surrounding areas.

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1806 N Temperance
Fresno, CA 93727


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