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Choosing A Shade Tree

Choosing a shade tree is a great opportunity to add a new dimension to the landscape.  Before you choose ask yourself what is the goal for you and how does the tree help serve that goal.  For example, if you want a flowering tree, most large shade trees do not have great spring flowers.

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  For this type of goal us a smaller cherry, apple or pear tree.  For creating shade oak, maple and birch are great choices.  Also a stewartia tree is a nice tree that has flowers.  It tends to grow taller than wide however.  Shade trees can reduce heating and cooling costs both indoors and out. By reducing electricity usage energy costs could be reduced by 25 percent. The leaves of the shade tree help drop the summer temperatures under their canopies by up to 10 degrees. If you plant the tree near a driveway they can reduce heat reflected from paved areas. Trees also attract and sustain wildlife and help convert carbon dioxide to oxygen. A line of trees can aid in helping prevent soil erosion and nearly all trees will increase your property value.

Name Shape Height Comments

Red Maple
Acer rubrum

Upright, spreading 80-100 feet Foliage appears early and falls early. Fall foliage varies from yellow to scarlet. Medium to fast growth rate.

Norway Maple
Acer platanoides

Oval 40-50 feet Dark green foliage turns yellow in fall. Medium growth rate.

Sugar Maple
Acer saccharum

Dense, oval 100 feet plus Fall foliage varies from yellow to orange to scarlet. Slow to medium growth rate.

Silver Maple
Acer saccharinum

Oval, spreading 50-70 feet Resembles the sugar maple but is a very fast grower. Tolerates poor soil.

Red Oak
Quercus shumardii

Upright, oval 60-90 feet Fall foliage is dark red. Provides brown acorns in the fall. Transplants easily. Fast growth rate.
Green Ash
Fraxinus pennsylvanica
Rounded, oval 50-60 feet Fall foliage is bright yellow. Drought resistant. Seeds may sprout in garden; seedless varieties are recommended. Fast growth rate.

Green Weeping Willow
Salix babylonica

Wide-spreading 40-50 feet Yellow fall foliage. Thrives in wet areas. Fast growth rate.

Blue Colorado Spruce
Picea pungens 'Glauca'

Upright 35-50 feet Evergreen with intense blue foliage. Rarely needs pruning. Slow growth rate.
Canadian Hemlock
Tsuga canadensis
Spreading 40-70 feet Evergreen with dark green foliage. Prune regularly to encourage fullness. Medium to fast growth rate.

White Pine
Pinus strobus

Upright 50-80 feet Evergreen with blue-green needles. Produces 6-8" cones. Fast growth rate.

River Birch
Betula nigra

Pyramidal 30-40 feet Green leaves turn tan in fall. Tolerates wet soil. Bark naturally peels away from trunk. Fast growth rate.

Leyland Cypress
Cupressocyparis leylandii

Pyramidal 50-60 feet Drooping evergreen branch form is unique and attractive. Fast growth rate.
Southern Magnolia
Magnolia grandiflora
Pyramidal 60-80 feet Large, dark green leaves. White blooms in spring. Medium growth rate.
London Plane Tree
Platanus x acerifolia
Spreading Up to 100 feet Also known as sycamore. Yellow foliage in fall. Mottled bark and small fruit add interest. Fast growth rate.
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