Drought Resistant Shade Trees

Trees that provide shade are a valuable asset for gardeners with homes in hot regions. Many gardeners will find it imperative to cultivate shade trees that are also drought resistant, as providing excessive water can be expensive and irresponsible during water shortages. There are a number of drought resistant shade trees that can be utilized to create a more pleasant backyard atmosphere.

Royal Poinciana

Royal poinciana (Delonix regia) is a fast growing member of the bean family that can grow up to 40 feet tall, often with a dense canopy that is wider than its height. A native of Madagascar, royal poinciana is a favorite shade tree in warm climates. Royal poinciana boasts fernlike green leaves and clusters of silky flowers, which are available in a range of bright colors. The summer flowering tree is best grown in full sunlight in USDA zones 10 to 12. The drought tolerant tree will thrive in just about any soil type, regardless of pH. The tree is ideal for coastal gardens, as it has a good tolerance of salinity.

Southern Magnolia

Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) is a large evergreen that can reach heights of up to 90 feet. A native of the American South, the Southern magnolia sports a broad canopy of glossy leaves that provide deep shade for those wandering beneath it. The tree is notable for its huge, showy white blossoms, which are richly fragrant and appear in flushes throughout the spring and summer. The red fruits of the tree, which appear in autumn, are also attractive. Southern magnolia is highly drought tolerant and requires no additional watering. The tree does best in USDA zones 7 to 9, in a rich, well-drained, acidic soil. Southern magnolia will tolerate both full sun and partial sun.

Silver Dollar Gum

Silver dollar gum (Eucalyptus polyanthemos) is an evergreen species of eucalyptus tree native to Australia. The tree may grow up to 50 feet high, with a similar spread. Silver dollar gum makes an excellent specimen shade tree. The tree garners its common name from its dusty silvery blue leaves, which are quite circular. Both the foliage and the bark of the tree are heavily aromatic and may be brought inside for their enjoyable scent. The fast growing tree grows best in full sunlight in USDA zones 9A to 11A. Silver dollar gum is quite drought tolerant and won't require supplemental watering. The tree isn't picky about soil and will thrive in alkaline, neutral or acidic soils as long as they're well-draining.

Keywords: shade trees, drought resistant, drought tolerant

About this Author

Michelle Wishhart is a writer based out of Astoria, Ore. She has been writing professionally for five years, starting with her position as a staff arts writer for an alternative weekly paper in Santa Cruz. She has a B.A. in fine arts from the University of California in Santa Cruz and a minor in English literature.