Trees & Shrubs for Shade


Planting the landscape is all about knowing the finished effect and what a landscape plant brings to the environment visually. Plants that provide shade in the yard can be an impressive feature, changing the mood of the yard and making areas of the yard suitable for plants that require less light and more moisture.

Choosing Shade Trees and Shrubs

Look at the landscape of your yard and know the soil conditions before choosing a shade tree or shrub. Picking a tree before knowing the conditions may reduce the chance of its success. Avoid any shade trees or shrubs that are susceptible to storm damage or diseases that are endemic in the area. Determine the room you have in the yard and find out the mature height and width of the shrub or tree.


According to Oklahoma State University, shade trees and shrubs are best planted in the fall. Planting in the fall gives the plants time to establish a good root system before the summer heat, which may damage the roots with drought. The root balls are kept moist before planting to reduce damage to the tree or shrub.

Shade Trees

Colorado State University recommends the American sycamore or plane tree for good shade. The flaking bark and large height, up to 100 hundred feet, provides good shade in the yard. The amur maple is another option for smaller gardens, with a maximum height of 20 feet. Both tree varieties are easily transplanted. Transplant strength depends on the variety and requires consideration for a changing garden landscape.


Flowering shrubs are a good choice for shade. The University of Illinois Extension recommends the Summersweet Clethra, with an average height of 3 to 8 feet of height. It is narrow and is good for shaded pathways. Bottlebrush buckeye is slightly larger and has an interesting shape for the winter months when there is little to no vegetation. The winter appearance of the shrub requires consideration, as well.

Diseases and Insects

The shade tree borer is one of the most common dangers for shade trees and shrubs. Shade tree borers develop under the bark of the shade tree or shrub, according to Colorado State University. Stressed plants are in the most danger of wood borer attacks, as fallen and dying trees are the most common victims. Reduce insects and diseases by keeping the plant healthy with correct fertilization and cultivation practices according to the variety's requirements.

Keywords: Shade Shrubs, Shade Trees, Choosing shade plants

About this Author

Cleveland Van Cecil is a freelancer writer specializing in technology. He has been a freelance writer for three years and has published extensively on, writing articles on subjects as diverse as boat motors and hydroponic gardening. Van Cecil has a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Baldwin-Wallace College.