Pistacia chinensis (the Chinese Pistache) is a deciduous tree that will stop you in your tracks this November. It offers good fall color, namely gold through fiery reds, even in mild climates. In deep soils, Pistacia chinensis can live off almost no water, which was great during our California drought, but you won't have to worry if the El Niño comes, because it can also handle deep watering (just watch for signs of verticillium wilt).
Pistacia chinensis makes a great tree for streetsides, lawns, patios, and gardens. Also try it near windows that need summer shade and more sun during winter as it does lose its leaves. The beautiful China native will slowly grow to a height and width of 30-60'. The largest Chinese Pistache trees that we've seen on the Central Coast are topping out around 40', so don't worry
if you don't have that kind of room. This is still going to be a beautiful tree for your landscape. If you want less mess, try to find a male plant, as only the female Chinese pistache will offer berries. Fruit starts as a berry red, and turns to a bluish black as it ripens. The fruit and foliage will look beautiful in flower arrangements for a pop of color at the Thanksgiving table.
Try this tree in your garden and you won't be disappointed by the showy fall color. If you don't have room for a Pistacia chinensis, be sure to keep your eye out for it as you drive through town! It's one of the best autumn color trees for California and you will be dazzled!