Shade Trees

Shade Trees


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Properly selected and planted shade trees add both economic and aesthetic value to your property. Trees may reduce home energy costs and increase property value. Large trees may be an asset or a liability depending upon the species of tree and site selection. Here are some species that make excellent shade trees. 


Growth Rates

(Growth rates are subjective)

Slow:   1' or less annually

Moderate:  1-3' annually

Fast:   2-4' or more annually


Acer rubrum     (Red Maple)

Height: 40-60'  Width: 30-40'  Growth Rate: Moderate-Fast

Features: Excellent red fall color; tolerates wet conditions


Acer saccharum  (Sugar Maple)

Height: 60-75'  Width: 40-50'  Growth Rate: Moderate-Fast

Features: Excellent fall color that can be red, orange, or yellow


Betula nigra     (River Birch)

Height: 40-70'  Width: 40-60'  Growth Rate: Fast

Features: Showy exfoliating bark; tolerates wet conditions; can be multi- or single-stemmed 


Cercidiphyllum japonicum   (Katsura Tree)

Height: 40-60'  Width: 40-60'  Growth Rate: Moderate-Fast

Features: Pest and disease resistant; yellow fall color; fallen leaves smell like cotton candy 


Fagus spp.   (Beech)

Height: 40-70'  Width: 35-60'  Growth Rate: Slow

Features: Various forms available; a large stately tree


Gleditsia triacanthos v. inermis   (Honeylocust)

Height: 30-70'  Width: 30-70'  Growth Rate: Fast

Features: Casts dappled shade; bright green foliage, yellow fall color


Platanus x acerifolia   (London Planetree)

Height: 70-100'  Width: 65-80'  Growth Rate: Fast

Features: Beautiful bark on mature specimens; resists anthracnose; tolerates wet conditions 


Quercus rubra   (Northern Red Oak)

Height: 60-75'  Width: 60-75'  Growth Rate: Moderate-Fast

Features: Red fall color; acorns are excellent source of food for wildlife


Ulmus parviflora    (Lacebark Elm)

Height: 40-70'  Width: 30-60'  Growth Rate: Moderate

Features: Mature specimens have showy bark; vase shaped canopy; pest and disease resistant


Zelkova serrata     (Zelkova)

Height: 50-80'  Width: 50-80'  Growth Rate: Fast

Features: Resistant to Dutch Elm Disease; orange-yellow fall color


Sources: Compiled from experience and information from Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs. For more information visit us on the web at