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Types of Shade Trees

By Diane Dilov-Schultheis ; Updated September 21, 2017

Shade trees come in many varieties. Adding shade trees to your landscaping increases the value of your property, provides a home for wildlife, gets rid of harmful carbon dioxide in the air and, when placed on the east and west sides of your home, cuts your cooling costs.

Tall Shade Trees

Shade trees that grow to mature heights over 60 feet tall are classified as tall trees. Plan years ahead when purchasing and planting these types of trees. Find areas with enough space for the full-grown tree, keeping in mind power lines and all obstacles above the tree. Know the tree's mature spread or canopy, allowing for plenty of room to grow. Examples of large shade trees include American sycamore, bald cypress, bur oak, English oak, green ash, honey locust, horse chestnut, Norway maple, pine oak, red maple, red oak, scarlet oak, Siberian elm, silver maple, sugar maple, swamp white oak, sweet gum, tulip tree, white ash and white oak.

Medium Shade Trees

Mature shade trees reaching heights from 30 to 60 feet make up the medium classification of trees. Pay attention to the USDA cold-hardy listing on any trees considered, and only purchase trees for your specific region. Planting a shade tree with the wrong zone requirement often results in poor growth or the death of the tree. Select only healthy trees and ones from a reliable source to minimize troubles later on. Consider the trees an investment and spend your money wisely on them. Use medium shade trees in areas where larger ones won't fit. Examples of medium shade trees include black gum, ginkgo, Japanese pagoda tree, linden, river birch and yellowwood.

Small Shade Trees

Believe it or not, there are small shade trees, which grow to mature heights of less than 30 feet and still provide plenty of shade. Prior to purchasing shade trees for your landscaping, consider specific their characteristics. Choose trees not vulnerable to storm damage and ones with high resistance to diseases and pests. Consult your local extension for more information about your precise location and possible problems, including trees that generate a large quantity of fruits or seeds. Examples of small shade trees are the golden-rain and the trident maple.


About the Author


Diane Dilov-Schultheis has been writing professionally since 2000. She is a food and travel writer who also specializes in gaming, satellites, RV repair, gardening, finances and electronics. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and has been published online at the Travel Channel and Intel.