When choosing a shade producing tree for your yard, it’s best to make an informed decision. Some trees will start out small but fill in year after year, while others might become less desirable over time. Still, some trees have thorns or drop messy seedlings, so be sure to factor in every characteristic of a tree when making a decision, not just how much shade it produces. Your climate zone and soil composition will also affect which tree you should choose, so make sure you know both before you make a selection.
Below are 11 trees that produce shade, including some of their basic qualities to help begin your search and find a tree that you’ll enjoy.
1. American Sycamores
American Sycamores create great leaf piles with 70 feet or more of leaf producing tree. The height may be off-putting if you have electrical lines in your yard, but if you have the space, the off-white, mottled bark looks stunning when barren in winter.
2. Red Oak
Red Oaks grow very quickly and drops seedlings in the form of acorns (which attract squirrels and other critters). They provide a thick, leafy canopy that will keep you cool in the summer.
3. Tulip Trees
Tulip Trees quickly grow to 25 feet tall. They have gorgeous tulip flowers that emerge from the trees unique leaves, which makes this tree stand out anywhere.
Sorrels grow about 75 feet tall and look beautiful throughout the year. Their leaves don’t turn yellow in fall, instead, begin with a deep green and transitions to a jeweled red that is breathtaking.
5. Weeping Willows
The iconic Weeping Willow works especially well near the water. There are hybrids available for drier regions, so never fear, you can grow this beauty in your yard almost anywhere.
6. Northern Catalpa
Northern Catalpa trees produce a large, leafy canopy with large, ornate flowers nestled between the leaves that are simply charming.
7. Hybrid Poplars
Hybrid Poplars grow quickly, up to 8 feet per year, and max out between 40-50 feet. Hybrid poplars do drop cotton-like seeds around the yard and different types drop different amounts. If you want a low-mess tree, this may not be the one for you.
8. Honey Locust
Honey Locust trees are very hardy and adapt well to many soils and climate types. Their leaves do turn yellow and drop quickly in the fall, and they can grow 30-50 feet tall, making them great shade providers.
9. Red Maples
Red Maples do just what you would think in the fall: turn brilliant shades of red before dropping. They grow about 3-5 feet per year until they reach 40 feet high. Not only do they provide a satisfying amount of shade, but the leaves create privacy as well.
10. Willow Oaks
Willow Oaks have pointed leaves and form a bit of shade from their cone shaped figure and their 50 foot height. They’re best for areas requiring a small amount of shade. The leaves do turn yellow and drop in the fall.
11. Paper Birch
Paper Birch trees have a stunning white bark that creates a beautiful backdrop in any season. During the spring, they feature charming green leaves and as the weather cools, they turn gorgeous shades of red, yellow and orange. If your region has snow in the winter, you won’t want to miss these slender trunks among the drifts.
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