The Best Shade Trees

Planting trees is an effective way to provide shade. Shade in and around homes and buildings can reduce cooling costs as well as add texture to the overall landscape. The most popular trees used for shade are large and often considered fast growing which means they grow 25 inches or more each year.

English Oak

Quercus robur, or English oak, is a drought tolerant tree species that is often underutilized in the United States. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service website, English oak could be used more extensively in the U.S., specifically in areas with low-humidity. The English oak is a great shade tree because it's fast-growing and reaches 50 to 60 feet by maturity. This tree can be planted in hardiness zones 5 through 8 and will tolerate a number of soil conditions including clay and loam although they prefer acid. English oak prefers full sun. In addition, the Forest Service states that this tree is storm damage resistant and rarely seriously affected by pest or disease.

Green Ash

Fraxinus pennsylvanica, also known as Green ash, is another fast growing shade tree that will tolerate a number of soil conditions. The Arbor Day Foundation states that Green ash is an excellent shade tree that is popular in the Great Plains regions as well as cities and high-use parks throughout eastern United States. "This popularity is due to its fast growth, marvelous adaptability to a wide range of soils, and ability to withstand drought," the website states. The Green ash is planted in hardiness zones 2 through 9 and reaches 50 to 60 feet at maturity. They will tolerate most soil types and thrive in full sun. In addition the Green ash is well known for its oval shape and bright yellow fall leaf color.

Linden or Glenleven

Tilia cordata, commonly referred to as a Linden tree, is popular as both a shade tree and a street tree. They are fast growing and reach 50 to 70 feet in height by maturity. The University of Florida, IFAS Extension, explains that Linden trees prefer full sun and moist, well drained soil. These trees thrive in hardiness zones 4 through 7 and resemble pin oak trees once they mature. IFAS states that Linden trees are susceptible to defoliation by Japanese beetles and should not be planted in areas where these pests are known to dwell. In addition, Linden trees are sensitive to road salt and therefore do not make great street trees in areas where salt is used to treat slick roads.

Keywords: Trees used for shade, Fast growing trees that provide shade, Large trees planted to reduce cooling costs, Trees that reduce cooling

About this Author

Leah Deitz has been writing alternative health and environmental-related articles for five years. She began her writing career at a small newspaper covering city politics but turned to environmental concerns after beginning her freelance career. When she is not exploring the trails and outdoors of the East Coast, Deitz writes for a number of websites including, and Associated Content.