When you select trees for your garden or yard, the tree's function will guide you. Some trees give fruit, while others provide screening. Some serve simply as ornaments. One of the most basic functions a tree can provide is shade. Not all trees provide good shade, though some give full shade.
People often plant maple trees to provide shade. The lower-growing varieties are preferred for this purpose. The trident maple makes an excellent shade tree. It grows moderately fast. Within seven or eight years, a tree that started at 5 or 6 feet can reach a height of over 20 feet with an equal spread. The trident maple does best when planted in full sunlight and well-draining soil.
The horse chestnut tree offers strollers shade along many of the streets in Paris. During the springtime the tips of the branches feature long flower spikes in shades of red, pink, greenish-yellow and white. Although the horse chestnut is impressive in appearance, it is a messy tree, and its leaves and nuts are poisonous.
Hawthorn trees come in over 1,000 different types, many of them native to North America. The trees are relatively easy to grow, and many varieties are especially suited for use as shade trees. These include the Arnold, cockspur, Lavalle, downy, single-seeded, Toba, glossy, English and Washington hawthorns.
Though it grows slowly, the beech tree can reach a height of up to 90 feet tall with a limb spread of 50 to 60 feet. The American and European beeches do well when planted on lawns that provide enough room for its development. A tree of 6 to 8 feet can grow to about 15 to 20 feet in a decade.
Walnut trees do more than just providing walnuts. They make suitable shade trees. These trees tend to grow fast when they are young, and unless it has several other walnut trees planted nearby, a lone tree will produce few walnuts. A 4-foot tree grows to about 20 feet within eight years.
Mulberry trees do well in warm climates with extended droughts. Within six years, an 8-foot tree will reach a height of 20 feet with an equal spread. Eventually they can grow up to 50 feet tall. The fruitless male mulberry is the most appropriate variety to use as a shade tree. The droppings from a fruiting tree can stain walkways and attract birds.