Shade trees and evergreens are generally thought of as two different types of trees. Shade trees are deciduous. The leaves block the sun and they drop in the fall. Evergreens, for the most part, have needle-like leaves and retain their color all year. Broad-leafed evergreens provide the best of both worlds: shade trees that retain their color all year.
With its tall, linear trunk and dense crown, the red maple, Acer rubrum, is often planted as a shade tree, according to the "Field Guide to Trees of North America" by the National Wildlife Federation. Found throughout the Midwest and Eastern U.S., the red maple grows in a variety of environments, including both dry and wetland. The average height of a red maple is 80 feet. The smooth bark is gray with a red tint. The green leaves have three or five shallow lobes and turn bright red in the fall. The red maple is known for its showy red flowers that bloom in the early spring.
The ponderosa pine, Pinus ponderosa, is an evergreen conifer with a wide range throughout North America, from Mexico to British Columbia. The tree is often planted as an ornamental tree, according to North Carolina State University. The bark is light purplish-gray that peels away to reveal a red, yellow and brown underbark. The tree grows to an average height of 160 feet, but some specimens have grown to 250 feet. The shape of the tree is conical. The needles grow in clusters of three and range in color from gray-green to yellow-green. The brown cones are shiny and oval shaped when closed, becoming matte and egg-shaped when opened. The male flowers are purple and the female flowers are red.
The live oak, Quercus virginiana, is a broad-leafed evergreen tree that grows throughout the Southeastern U.S. The tree has a dense, round crown and is more broad than tall. The tree grows to a height of 50 feet with a trunk diameter of 2 to 4 feet. The tree is planted as an avenue tree in South Carolina, according to "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Trees of the World" by Tony Russell, Catherine Cutler and Martin Walters. The bark is gray with a red tint and covered in scales when mature. The leaves, which fall throughout the year, are dark green and shiny. The new leaves and branches are covered in gray hair. The acorn is dark brown.