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Shade Trees

Shade trees are a long-term investment, which can beautify your yard, reduce energy costs, and improve air and water quality. Most shade trees add dazzling color in the fall. Learn: The 4 trees that can grow over 5 feet in a single year. See trees by size.

More Information

What are the Fastest Growing Shade Trees?

These 4 trees can grow over 5 feet in a single year:

  1. American Sycamore
  2. Weeping Willow
  3. Lombardy Poplar
  4. Silver Maple

The Tulip Poplar and the Autumn Blaze Maple average 3 to 5 feet in a single year. The Northern Red Oak, October Glory Maple, River Birch, Red Sunset Maple, and Shumard Oak can grow about 3 feet per year.

Sycamore Tree

Caring for Shade Trees

Shade trees are generally easy to grow trees that need minimal if any maintenance once they are established. The best way to care for a shade tree is to keep it watered well for the first year, especially the first few months. Not only does this early time investment help your tree establish faster, it helps your tree’s roots grow. Deep roots mean a healthy, sturdy tree and can even help prevent those large surface roots down the road.

For more information, read our Shade Tree Care blog post.

What are the Best Shade Trees?

The best shade trees are no maintenance, adaptable, fast-growing, and have great fall color. Maple trees, like the Autumn Blaze Maple, October Glory Maple, and Red Sunset Maple are excellent trees with phenomenal fall color. The Weeping Willow tree is an extremely fast-growing shade tree that tolerates wet sites. The Shumard Oak, the Northern Red Oak, and the Willow Oak are resilient, native oak trees that require no maintenance once established and have unsurpassed longevity.

We have a blog post about the Best Shade Trees.

The Most Cold Tolerant Shade Trees

The most cold-hardy shade trees are the American Sycamore, Autumn Blaze Maple, Northern Red Oak, Red Maple, Silver Maple, Ginkgo, and Crimson King Maple. These trees are recommended for zone 3. The Weeping Willow, October Glory Maple, River Birch, Lombardy Poplar, Corkscrew Willow, Dawn Redwood, Red Sunset Maple, Tulip Poplar, and River Birch are also cold hardy, recommended for growing zone 4.

The Most Heat Tolerant Shade Trees

The most heat tolerant shade trees are all recommended for growing zone 9. The American Sycamore, Autumn Blaze Maple, Emperor Japanese Maple, Weeping Willow, October Glory Maple, Red Maple, River Birch, Lombardy Poplar, Silver Maple, Shumard Oak, Willow Oak, Corkscrew Willow, Ginkgo, and the Tulip Poplar are the trees with the most heat tolerance.

Shade Trees by Size

small shade trees

Small Shade Trees (up to 30 feet)

medium shade trees

Medium Shade Trees (30 to 50 feet)

large shade trees

Large Shade Trees (over 50 feet)