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Shade Trees

What are Shade trees?

Shade trees are trees planted to provide the comfort and utility benefits of shade. When mature, they are tall, reaching up to seventy feet in some cases, with a broad branch and leaf cover of up to twenty to seventy feet. Shade trees offer impressive canopy protection from the sun for the whole family, pets included, making summers more comfortable. They can also offer benefits financially, with their coverage reducing the need for air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter, through the sun protection and insulation they offer. Shade trees also bring the joys of wildlife to your yard. Many creatures, including birds and pollinating insects enjoy and make shade trees their homes. There are many types of shade trees, including American Chestnut (hybrid), American Sweet Gum, Dawn Redwood, and Ginkgo Biloba.

What season should I plant shade trees?

For planting shade trees, the early fall months of September and October are the best times to plant. This allows the tree to acclimate and set roots down before the cold of winter. The months of September and October offer the advantages of temperate, cool weather and plenty of sunlight. The spring months of February, March, and April are also good times to plant. In addition to the rain spring brings, the spring months allow the tree to establish its root system before the high temperatures of summer weather.

What are the fastest growing shade trees?

The fastest growing shade trees we carry here on our site are the Hackberry, Sawtooth, American Sweetgum and Weeping willow.

What are the tallest shade trees?

At their mature heights, these trees reach at least seventy feet: the American beech, American Sweet Gum, Bald Cypress, Ginkgo Biloba, Honey Locust, River Birch and Sugar Maple. Mature American Elms, Southern Magnolias and White Oaks reach eighty feet, and mature American Chestnuts, Southern Magnolias and Tulip Poplars reach ninety to one hundred feet.

What are the smaller shade trees?

Smaller shade trees include the Black Gum tree, which grows thirty to fifty feet, the Chinese Elm tree, which grows to forty feet, the Hackberry tree, which grows forty to sixty feet, the October Glory Maple tree, which grows forty to fifty feet, the Red Maple tree, which grows forty to sixty feet, the Sourwood tree, which grows twenty to thirty feet and the Weeping Willow tree, which grows thirty to fifty feet.

What are the widest shade trees?

At their mature growth, most shade trees provide an average of forty feet of coverage. Be sure to check each tree specifically, because many average wider. Wider shade trees offer more protection from the sun but may need to be avoided in narrower or smaller locations. These trees include the American Chestnut tree, which can grow up to fifty feet wide, the American Elm tree, which can grow up to seventy feet wide, the American Sugar Gum tree, which can grow up to fifty feet wide, the American Sycamore tree, which can grow up to seventy feet wide, the Hackberry tree, which can grow up to sixty feet wide, the Red Maple tree, which can grow up sixty feet wide, the River Birch tree, which can grow up to sixty feet wide, the Sugar Maple tree, which can grow up to fifty feet wide and the White Oak tree, which can grow up to 80 feet wide.

Where is the best place to grow shade trees?

Shade trees should be planted two and half times their mature height away from the south side of buildings to prevent winter shading. A distance of four to four and half times the mature height of a tree is needed when planting to the southeast and southwest of a building. Consider your needs when deciding where to plant your shade trees. If you have children, or pets, then a shade tree in the back yard will increase usable time outside in the summer and provide a comfortable spot for Fido to nap. If you park your car outside, consider planting a shade tree where it will provide coverage to your driveway or sidewalk. In addition, planting a shade tree close to any cement or asphalt will keep it cooler and protect from the rain. If you are looking to improve a garden or any landscaping, then consider the aesthetic benefits of brightly colored foliage in the fall and deep green in the summer.

Different shade trees have different light requirements. Trees that love full sun include American Beech, American Chestnut (hybrid), American Sweet Gum, American Sycamore, Dawn Redwood, Ginkgo Biloba, Hackberry, Honey Locust, October Glory Maple, Red Maple, River Birch, Sawtooth Oak, Sourwood, Southern Magnolia, Tulip Poplar, Weeping Willow and White Oak.

Certain trees have lower sunlight requirements. Trees that need partial sun are the American Elm, which needs at least six hours of sunlight a day, and the Chinese Elm, which requires four to six hours of sunlight per day.

These trees can either tolerate partial shade or enjoy a respite from the sun. They include American Beech, American Elm (needs six hours of sun a day), Bald Cypress, Black Gum, Chinese Elm (requires four to six hours of sunlight), Dawn Redwood, Hackberry, Honey Locust, October Glory Maple, Red Maple, River Birch, Sourwood, Southern Magnolia, Sugar Maple, Weeping Willow and White Oak.

How do I care for shade trees?

Water deeply and frequently during the first few months after planting your shade tree. Avoid short watering in general, and once your tree is established, avoid frequent watering, since this will encourage the growth of shallow, short roots. Instead, place a hose close to the tree and water thoroughly for a longer amount of time. Mulching around the tree protects the roots and promotes water retention. Leave two to three inches of space between the base of the tree and the mulch to prevent rot. Prune more often during the first three years, and then as needed. Fertilize your shade tree in the spring. Measure the width of your tree from about four feet above the ground, and then use one quarter pound (1/4lb) of nitrogen per inch of your tree’s diameter.