Best Trees to Plant for Shade

shade tree

Having shade trees in your yard has many amazing benefits. Underneath a full-grown shade tree is the perfect location for a backyard barbeque or for kids to enjoy some much-needed time outside. A shade tree will also keep your home cooler during warmer months of the year.

To get all of the benefits of shade trees, you need to plant the correct species of tree and care for them properly.

KY Tree Trimming has recommendations for the best trees to plant for shade, and some expert advice on taking care of your shade trees so they grow healthy and strong.

Planting Trees for Shade

Any tree can technically provide shade, but there are some species that are built for maximum shade. These trees often have a thick, wide canopy that reaches out about as far as it does upward.

Below, we’ve provided some examples of shade trees depending on whether they would be best suited for your back or front yard.

Back Yard Shade Trees

Shade trees in the back yard are typically for the homeowner’s benefit. Next-door neighbors and passersby probably won’t be able to see these trees , so they can be purely for your enjoyment.

Besides just shade, these trees can create year-round color and some extra privacy from neighbors.

Here are a few popular choices:

  • Magnolia
  • Sugar maple or silver maple
  • Weeping willow
  • Weeping cherry
  • Red oak

If you have a large enough space, a live oak is a beautiful choice. Live oaks are considered the fastest growing shade trees, and they can get very large. An older live oak can reach up to 80 feet tall and up to 100 feet wide.

Many of these back yard tree suggestions get extremely large, so you need to do your research to determine if the tree is going to have enough space to reach maturity.

If there is not enough space, its root system can destroy your fencing or home foundation. You will also need to prune the tree every year to keep it manageable. A tree that grows too big for its yard will most likely have to be removed, which is an unfortunate and sometimes expensive situation.

Front Yard Shade Trees

In the front yard of your home, you are planting trees for your enjoyment as well, but these trees will be much more impactful for adding value and curb appeal to your home since they can be seen.

Purchase shade trees for the front yard that are a little smaller so they don’t overshadow your home. These trees should pair with your landscaping in color and size, while still creating lots of shade for front yard relaxation and play.

These are some of our favorites:

Red maple
River birch
White oak
Ginkgo tree

These types of trees are colorful throughout the year, and they’ll display even more color in the fall months.
Another excellent choice for your front or side yard is the ‘Green Giant’ Arborvitae. This tree looks like a hedge and can be planted in a long row to provide privacy as well as shade.

With options in mind, we recommend that you plant what you like. In truth, any tree can be a “shade tree.” As long as the trees you choose are suitable for the weather in Kentucky, they will provide your yard and home with shade.

Benefits of Planting Shade Trees

The reasons to have shade for your home are numerous — there are a few that you likely don’t automatically think about.

Shade, Obviously – When temperatures get very warm, you don’t have to hide indoors if you have a comfortable, shady yard. Place a chair or hammock under your biggest shade tree and relax outside as long as you like.

Climate Control – Trees can regulate the temperature in your yard and inside your home. Not only will trees protect you from the glaring sun, but they can make it feel 10-15 degrees cooler under their canopies. This translates to less solar radiation on your roof and siding as well, which should also result in lower energy costs!

Better Air Quality – Trees produce oxygen and expel pollutants from the air, so there is healthier air surrounding your home. Arbor Day Foundation research reports that one mature tree absorbs around 48 pounds of CO2 from the air.

Safety for Animals – If you’re into bird watching or think squirrels and chipmunks are cute, your trees can give them all they need to build a shelter, find food and raise babies.

Fun – What child doesn’t love a backyard tree house or tire swing? If you have small children, shade trees can provide hours of fun and joyful memories.

How to Care for Shade Trees

Caring for shade trees is pretty easy as long as you’ve planted the type of trees for the climate in Kentucky. Trees are strong and durable after a couple of years, demanding little attention or maintenance.

Consult a local arborist from KY Tree Trimming if you have any questions about how to care for your shade trees, or to help you decide the best tree for your yard.

Once you have chosen the best shade tree(s) for your yard, follow this care guide until your shade tree is well established.

Planting Your Shade Tree

The east, west and south sides of your property always get the most sun, so plant your new trees on one of these areas of your yard. This is two-fold: 1) the trees will then provide the ideal amount of shade and 2) they will also receive the maximum amount of sun to grow healthy.

Pruning Your Shade Tree

Prune during the first year or two after planting the tree in order to shape it and help it develop a strong structure. To be safe, and for the best results, call KY Tree Trimming for tree trimming in Kentucky. A certified arborist will arrive at your home and deliver professional care for the tree.

Watering Your Shade Tree

Watering a new tree is crucial. This helps them form a deep root system and will give the tree more stability over the course of its lifetime.

Fertilizing Your Shade Tree

Homeowners should fertilize a shade tree the same way you would any other tree in order to promote healthy growth. Fertilizer is not a requirement for caring for a shade tree, but it can help your tree to grow faster and produce more leaves, which are the source of your shade.

We hope this information was helpful! Remember, when it comes time to prune or trim a new shade tree, KY Tree Trimming can help! Call and a certified arborist in Kentucky will visit your home, assess the tree and lay out the best care plan for its long-term health and growth.