Planting shade trees on your landscaping has many wonderful benefits. Underneath a large shade tree is the best location for a backyard BBQ or for children to spend time outside. It will also keep your home cooler during warmer months of the year.
To get the full benefit of shade trees, you have to plant the right species and care for them correctly.
MN Tree Trimming has recommendations for the best trees to plant for shade, and some expert advice on maintaining your shade trees so they continue to grow healthy and strong.
Planting Trees for Shade
Any tree can technically provide shade, but there are some species that are built for the best shade. These types of trees often have a thick, wider canopy that extends out nearly as far as it does upward.
Below, we’ve provided some examples of shade trees based on whether they would be best suited for your front or back yard.
Back Yard Shade Trees
Shade trees in the back yard are primarily for your own benefit. Next-door neighbors and passersby probably won’t see these trees very much, so they can be planted purely for your enjoyment.
Besides just shade, these trees can create year-round color and some extra privacy from neighbors.
Here are popular options:
- Sugar maple or silver maple
- Weeping willow
- Weeping cherry
- Red oak
If you have the space, a live oak is a fantastic choice. Live oaks are considered the fastest growing shade trees, and are able to get very big. A mature live oak is able to reach up to 80 feet tall and up to 100 feet wide.
Many of these back yard shade tree recommendations get extremely large, so you need to do your research to determine if the tree is going to have enough space to grow to its full potential.
If there is not enough space, the tree’s root system can damage your fencing or even your home. You will also have to prune the tree every year to keep it from being overgrown. A tree that is too big for its location will most likely have to be removed, which is an unfortunate and sometimes costly situation.
Front Yard Shade Trees
In the front yard, you are planting trees for your enjoyment as well, but these trees will be much more impactful for increasing curb appeal and value to your home than the back yard trees.
Buy shade trees for the front yard that are a little smaller so they don’t overshadow your home. These trees should complement your landscaping in size and color, while still offering plenty of shade for front yard play and relaxation.
These are some of our favorites:
These trees are colorful throughout the year, and they’ll exude even more color during the fall.
Another great option for your front or side yard is the ‘Green Giant’ Arborvitae. This hedge-like tree can be planted in a row with others to create privacy and shade.
With this advice in mind, we recommend that you plant what you like. In reality, any tree can grow to become a “shade tree.” Assuming the trees you choose are suitable for the weather in Minnesota, they will provide your yard and home with shade.
Benefits of Planting Shade Trees
The benefits of having shade on your property are numerous — and there are some that you likely don’t typically think about.
Shade, Obviously – When temperatures get too hot, you don’t need to hide indoors if you have a comfortable, shady yard. Place a chair or hammock below your biggest shade tree and enjoy time outside as long as you want.
Climate Control – Trees can help regulate the temperature in your yard and inside your home. Not only do trees protect you from glaring sun, but they can make it feel 10-15 degrees cooler below their protective canopies. This leads to less solar radiation on your roof and siding as well, which should also result in more affordable energy costs!
Better Air Quality – Trees produce oxygen and filter out pollutants, so there is healthier air around your house. Arbor Day Foundation research states that one mature tree absorbs around 48 pounds of CO2 from the air.
Shelter for Animals – If you’re into bird watching or think squirrels and chipmunks are adorable, your shade trees can provide them all they will need to build a shelter, find nearby food and raise babies.
Fun – What kid doesn’t want a backyard tire swing or tree house? If you have children, shade trees can offer hours of fun and countless memories.
How to Care for Shade Trees
Caring for shade trees is pretty easy as long as you’ve chosen the type of trees for the weather in Minnesota. Trees are strong and durable after the first few years, needing little attention or care.
Consult a local arborist from MN 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 home.
Once you have determined the perfect 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 get the most sun, so plant your trees on one of these sides of your yard. This is two-fold: 1) the trees will then provide the most amount of shade and 2) they will also receive the most amount of sun to grow healthy.
Trimming Your Shade Tree
Prune during the first year or two after planting the tree in order to shape it and help it form a strong foundation. To be safe, and for the best results, call MN Tree Trimming for tree trimming in Minnesota. 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 develop a deep and strong root system and will give the tree stability over the course of its lifetime.
Fertilizing Your Shade Tree
Homeowners should fertilize a shade tree just like you would any other tree in order to aid growth. Fertilizer is not necessary, but it can help your tree to grow faster and produce more leaves, which are the primary source of your shade.
We hope this blog post was helpful! Remember, when it comes time to trim or prune a new shade tree, MN Tree Trimming can help! Call us and a certified arborist in Minnesota will visit your property, examine the tree and decide the best maintenance plan for its long-term health and growth.