The Best Landscape Shade Trees

Shade trees are nice ornamental additions to have in a landscape to provide a canopy over a patio or gathering site. Shade trees that have the most interesting foliage, or that are grown for their large size, are good ones to use in a landscape. The best landscape shade trees are the ones that grow fast, grow tall with a good canopy, and have great fall color.

Amur Maple

Acer ginnala, the amur maple tree, is hardy to USDA hardiness zone 2. It is a deciduous tree that gets 15 to 20 feet tall with a medium to fine texture. Leaves are medium to dark green, 1 1/2 to 3 inches long. Fall foliage is either red or yellow. Flowers are yellow, fragrant, and in spring clusters. Plant an amur maple in full sun or partial shade in any soil. Propagate via seed or softwood cuttings.

Black Tupelo

Nyssa sylvatica, the black tupelo tree, is hardy to USDA hardiness zone 4. It is a deciduous tree that gets 30 to 50 feet tall with medium texture. Leaves are dark green, 1 1/2 to 3 inches long. Fall foliage is red, orange, yellow, or purple. Plant a black tupelo in full sun in moist acidic well drained soil. Propagate via cuttings or seed.

Pin Oak

Quercus palustris, the pink oak tree, is hardy to USDA hardiness zone 4. It is a deciduous tree that gets 75 feet tall. It is a dense tree. Leaves are shiny green and 3 to 6 inches long. Fall foliage is red or bronze. Flowers are springtime yellow blooms. Plant a pin oak in full sun in moist, acidic, well-drained soil. Propagate via grafting or seed.

Siberian Elm

Ulmus pumila, the Siberian elm tree, is hardy to USDA hardiness zone 4. It is a deciduous tree that gets 50 to 70 feet tall with a fine texture. Leaves are dark green and 1 to 3 inches long. Fall foliage is yellow brown. Plant a Siberian elm in any soil or condition. Propagate via seed or cuttings.

White Ash

Fraxinus americana, the white ash tree, is hardy to USDA hardiness zone 3. It is a deciduous tree that gets 60 to 70 feet tall. Leaves are dark green and 2 to 6 inches long. Fall foliage is yellowish with purple or burgundy. Flowers are small and black, purple, or green in April. Plant a white ash in full sun in moist fertile soil. Propagate via seed or bud grafting.

Keywords: shade tree, best landscape shade trees, fall color

About this Author

Tina Samuels has been a full-time freelance writer for more than 10 years, concentrating on health and gardening topics, and a writer for 20 years. She has written for "Arthritis Today," "Alabama Living," and "Mature Years," as well as online content. She has one book, “A Georgia Native Plant Guide,” offered through Mercer University; others are in development.