Now that summer is just over the horizon, you’re probably looking for a way to get out of the sun. If you’re lucky, you might have some good, old-growth shade trees around your property. These trees are large, with lots of branches, and provide a respite from the hot sun when you are working outside. They are perfect for putting a picnic table or hammock under for relaxation. Not everyone has a shade tree in their yard though – but you can fix that fairly easily. Here are some shade trees you could consider planting that will provide returns in the future.
This is a hybrid tree that was bred specifically to combine the favored features of the silver maple and the red maple. It has the hardiness and tolerance to poor climate that the silver maple has, along with the rapid growth found in the silver. From the red maple, it gets a wonderful form that makes for a great shade tree – it reaches up to 80 feet in heights, and can be 40 to 50 feet across, creating plenty of shade under the branches. It also gets the flaming fall foliage of the red maple, adding beauty to your lawn as the temperatures drop.
European Black Alder
Growing up to 60 feet high and from 20 to 40 feet in width this tree works as both a a shade tree and a screen tree. This is one of the hardiest trees of the bunch, able to live in zones all through Europe and the northern parts of America, up through Canada. It thrives in moist soils, making it safe for folks who live along streams and rivers who may have to worry about saturated soils.
Northern Red Oak
Oaks have always been considered top-notch shade trees, but none are better than the classic Northern Red Oak, particularly in cooler climates that need a hardy tree. These will grow up to 75 feet high, and often produce a wider shade cover than that. Northern red oaks can take quite a bit of time to develop though, which makes them not all that desirable for someone looking for immediate shade.
This shade tree has been giving the Northern Red Oak a run for its money in recent times. It features many of the strong points of the more common oaks, such as the great foliage and wide shade, but some of the shortcomings like low-hanging branches. It does mature faster than most oaks reaching it’s full height of 40 to 60 feet faster than almost all other oak types.
Named for its paper-like bark that peels away in horizontal strips, the Paper Birch loves the cold weather, and thrives in the upper parts of the United States as well as Canada. It is the provincial tree of Saskatchewan and the state tree of New Hampshire, and is a familiar site in many forests of the Northeast and Northern Midwest. It will hit 70 feet in height on average, but in some instances, can nearly double that in height. It can provide a solid 40-50 feet of coverage, making it a great shade tree for the cooler weather areas.
Choosing the right shade tree for your yard is important, as shade trees can get quite large and will be a part of your landscape for decades – all of these trees can easily live for up to one hundred years when cared for properly. Take into consideration the size of the trees when choosing where to plant them – one disadvantage of shade trees is that they can be hazards in high winds. In our opinion though, you can’t go wrong with any of the examples we’ve given.