Trees That Tolerate Shade

Trees that tolerate shade, like all trees, strive to attain the greatest amount of sunlight possible; however, shade-tolerant trees are able to thrive in conditions with less than ideal sunlight, making them a tough competitor against less adaptable species of trees, according to the University of Idaho Cooperative Extension System. Identifying shade-tolerant tree varieties and their particular requirements offers tree options tailored to your shade-prone garden.

Pink Dogwood

Pink dogwoods (Cornus florida 'Rubra') are trees that thrive in full sunlight and tolerate shade. The pink dogwood is a deciduous, flowering tree that displays pink flowers and dark green foliage. Blooming in April to May, pink dogwoods produce glossy, red berries that attract birds in the fall season. This shade-tolerant tree prefers moist, well-drained soil and grows to a height of 15 to 30 feet and a width of 15 to 20 feet, according to the NC State University Cooperative Extension.

White Pine

White pine trees (Pinus strobus) are evergreen trees that tolerate shade, though they also thrive in full sun. This evergreen tree displays spiral-shaped needles, and extended brown cones that measure 6 inches in length. Shade-tolerant white pine trees prefer acid, moist, well-drained soil, and grow to a height of 80 feet and a width of 40 feet, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Balsam Fir

Balsam firs (Abies balsamea) are evergreen trees that tolerate shade and thrive in full sun. Balsam fir trees display inconspicuous purple to orange flowers (male) or purple flowers (female) with aromatic 1-inch, dark green needles. Balsam fir trees also produce purple to green cones that are help upright on the tree, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Shade-tolerant balsam fir trees thrive in cold climates with well-drained, acid, moist soil, and grow to a height of 70 feet and a width of 20 feet.

Sugar Maple

Sugar maples (Acer saccharum) are deciduous trees that tolerate shade and thrive in full sun. Sugar maples display medium to dark green leaves that become red, orange and yellow during the autumn season, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. This shade-tolerant ornamental tree prefers rich, moist, well-drained soil. Sugar maples grow to a height of 80 feet and a width of 40 feet.

Keywords: trees that tolerate shade, shade-tolerant tree, trees thrive shade

About this Author

Tarah Damask's writing career, beginning in 2003, includes experience as a fashion writer/editor for Neiman Marcus, short fiction publications in "North Texas Review," a self-published novel, band biographies, charter school curriculum, and articles for eHow. She has a love for words and is an avid observer. Damask holds a Master of Arts in English and creative writing from the University of North Texas.