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Which Trees are Great for Shade in the Summer?

Posted on September 13th, 2021

As our summers are getting hotter and hotter, we need to find smart ways to keep ourselves and our homes cool. It doesn’t get more eco-friendly and beautiful than using trees to throw shade in your backyard. 

A beautiful tall tree (or three) forms the anchor of your garden, giving your home an ambiance of peace and tranquillity. Being in nature feeds our souls, and there are many physical, environmental, emotional, and cost benefits to planting trees in your backyard.

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the benefits of planting shade trees, the best shade trees for your backyard, and when best to plant them. Let’s get to it.

3 Benefits of Planting Shade Trees

They’re great for children and pets

One of the challenges of rising temperatures is that it can become unpleasant and even dangerous to spend a lot of time outside. Shade trees allow your kids and pets to play safely, protected from the sun’s harmful UV rays (by up to 50%) by the canopy. Set up a designated play area under the branches and let them enjoy their time outdoors.

They shelter and nourish life

A tree’s branches and foliage are a great habitat for birds and other animals, as they provide an instant larder for the creatures. And, as leaves, fruit, and flowers drop, they decompose and form mulch and fertilizer to feed your soil and plants. Trees also help shelter your property from wind, rain, and sun. 

Plus, the best shade trees for your backyard or garden improve our air quality and help with climate control too. A large tree produces substantial oxygen and absorbs carbon dioxide, improving the surrounding environment’s overall air quality. If you plant your trees strategically, the shade they provide can help cut the cost (by up to 30%) of cooling or heating your home – they’re a natural air conditioner. They also cut down on water usage in summer because of their cooling effect on your garden, so it needs less water in shady areas.

They increase your property’s value

Of course, potential home buyers are always drawn to an established garden with trees, and choosing wisely can increase your home’s curb appeal as well as improve the value of your property. Take a drive around your neighborhood for some inspiration and take note of trees you like the look of. Keep these examples in mind when you’re doing some research of what kind of trees you’d like to see in your garden.

What are the Best Trees for Shade?

Beauty and color, canopy span, hardiness, and water usage are all considerations when it comes to choosing your perfect shade trees. 

What would fall in New England be without the autumnal foliage? Below are two of our favorite examples that will work well in most gardens: 

Red Maple: Our favorite shade tree is red maple because it ticks all the boxes – it’s one of the fastest-growing maples, so you get ample shade quickly. It’s beautiful all year round, especially in the fall, when the leaves turn vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow. Red maples are hardy, tolerating most weather and climate conditions. Their fully grown spread is between 40-70 feet, so make sure you plant them with enough growing space. Red maples are also relatively low-mess as they don’t have fruit or flowers to rake up. You will need to rake the leaves once a year when they fall. These make great compost and mulch.  

Flowering Dogwoods: Flowering Dogwoods are very popular shade trees because their spring blooms are just so pretty. They are hardy and low-maintenance, and their fall berries are bird favorites, so they get eaten rather than causing a mess.

Below are a few more fast-growing beauties that will provide some of the best trees for shade in your yard or garden:

  • Quaking Aspen 
  • Northern Red Oak 
  • Northern Catalpa 
  • Hackberry 
  • Pin Oak 
  • River Birch 
  • Sawtooth Oak 
  • California Sycamores
  • Northern Red Oaks
  • Tulip Trees
  • Weeping Willows
  • Willow Oaks

When Should I Plant My Shade Tree?

To give your tree its best life, you should plant it at the right time of year. This could be different for different trees, but fall and spring are generally best as there is less chance of hot sun scorching or harming newly planted and vulnerable trees. Cooler temperatures also help with root growth, which means the tree grows more quickly and is stronger and healthier.

August, September, and October – is often the best time of year to plant new trees. The sweet spot is when the summer hotness is over, but the ground hasn’t started freezing yet. In the fall, trees turn their focus to growing new roots, which helps them develop more stronger roots. 

Chat to Us Today

Choosing the best trees for shade can be a big decision. Our tree and garden experts can find your perfect match. Our custom tree-care service and shrub fertilization programs are designed to keep your landscape healthy and thriving. While preventing insects and diseases, we also feed your plants, offer lawn maintenance programs, and protect your investment, and serve both Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire. 

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