Choosing a tree to grace the landscape is a long term investment. Numerous things should be evaluated when determining the best shade tree to plant. The tree’s overall size when fully grown must be taken into consideration to determine if the tree will be too large or too small. A relatively healthy tree variety will save the gardener money as the years pass if the tree does not require yearly spraying or maintenance to keep it healthy and maintain its overall looks.
When planting a shade tree close to sidewalks, concrete driveways or building foundations be sure the tree’s root system does not heave upward as the tree grows. Heaving roots will deform, crack and destroy concrete. If the tree is planted too close to a homes foundation it may do extensive damage to the structure as the roots grow.
1) American Linden Tree
The American linden tree (Tilia americana) grows to acceptable height for large yards. The tree produces a pleasing oval shape that offers ample shade. It tolerates full sun to partial shade. It will grow well in a wide range of soil conditions. The tree grows relatively fast and averages 18 inches per year. During the fall months the tree turns a brilliant yellow.
2) Red Oak Tree
The red oak tree (Quercus rubra) turns a brilliant shade of orange and red each fall. It grows up to 120 feet in height and can grow 20 inches per year. The tree does require a large yard. It offers abundant shade. The red oak tree suffers from very few pests and is relatively hardy. The tree is considered to be a high value timber tree due to its wood.
3) White Birch Tree
The white birch tree (Betula papyrifera) produces lovely white bark that peels from the tree. It is widely coveted as an ornamental tree but also grows wild through most of North America. The tree grows up to 70 feet in height. It prefers to be grown in full sunlight to partial shade.
4) Pin Oak
The pin oak (Quercus palustris) grows up to 75 feet in height. It tolerates a wide range of soils. It is moderately drought tolerant once established. Care should be taken when cultivating around the tree because its bark is relatively thin and easily damaged.
5) Crab Apple Tree
The crab apple tree is available in numerous varieties. Depending on the variety, the small tree can produce white, yellow or red springtime flowers. Following flowering small crab apples materialize. The crab apples are widely used in making jellies and jams. They are also favored by birds and small mammals. Most crab apple trees produce stunning yellow, red and orange fall color.