Non Deciduous Shade Trees
Deciduous trees are those that lose their leaves in the winter, growing them again the following spring. Non deciduous trees, also called evergreens, are those that keep their foliage year round. There are a number of non deciduous trees that can be utilized in the garden to provide shade from the sun and shelter from the rain.
A member of the mulberry family, banyan (Ficus benghalensis) is a tropical evergreen tree native to India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Reaching heights of up to 100 feet, banyan is an exotic tree that uses aerial roots to prop itself up. The tree sports glossy, broad foliage. For gardens in USDA hardiness zones 10 to 12 who have plenty of space to spare, banyan makes a stunning shade and specimen tree. The tree does best in partial sunlight or shade in well drained soil. Banyan is moderately drought tolerant, but the tree will look its best if watered enough to keep the soil slightly moist to the touch.
A member of the laurel family, camphor tree (Cinnamomum camphora) is a tall evergreen that can reach heights of between 50 and 150 feet. The tree boasts a thick trunk topped with a wide spread of aromatic leaves and shiny black berries. Excellent as a shade or specimen tree, camphor tree can be cultivated in USDA zones 8 to 10. A native of Asia, the tree will tolerate partial shade or full sun, and it will look its best in a fertile, sandy soil. Camphor tree is drought tolerant once established and shouldn't require supplemental watering. The tree is considered invasive in some areas, such as Florida, so check an invasive plant list before cultivating the tree.
Silver Dollar Tree
A native of Australia, silver dollar tree is an evergreen species of eucalyptus that boasts silver dollar-shaped dusty blue green leaves. The plant reaches a mature height of about 40 feet, making it manageable for most gardens. The tree's broad spread makes it an ideal shade tree and the strong aroma from the foliage is often a welcome addition. The leaves and peeling bark of the silver dollar tree can be brought indoors to be used as a natural air freshener. Silver dollar tree is adaptable to many different soil types and will grow well in USDA zones 7 to 10 in full or partial sunlight. Highly drought tolerant, silver dollar tree is a low maintenance plant that requires little attention once established.