by April Reinhardt
(last updated April 10, 2019)
Grown specifically to provide shade, shade trees are usually large trees with spreading canopies. Gardeners plant shade trees to enhance privacy, as well as to reduce energy costs for cooling their homes. Some of the most popular shade trees are ashes, oaks, maples, and elms.
There are four factors to consider when thinking about choosing a shade tree; size, site, shape, and zone. Thoroughly research the size the tree will be when it is fully mature. Then, determine if your site will be able to afford adequate space for the tree, and whether the root system of the tree may damage the foundation of your home. Will the shape of the tree fit in with your landscape design? And, more importantly, will the tree thrive in the zone in which you live? Follow these guidelines when choosing a shade tree to enhance your home and property:
Perform research before you commit to one variety of shade tree. Learn about root systems, canopy width and height, growing zones, hardiness, resistance to pests and disease, and wood strength. Armed with your knowledge, and considering the reasons why you need a shade tree, visit your local nursery, tree farms, and online catalogs to make an informed decision. Always remember never to plant a shade tree that may grow to overhang your chimney, as flying embers can ignite tree branches, causing a deadly fire.
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