Growing shade trees in your yard has many amazing benefits. Underneath a large shade tree is the perfect place for a backyard barbeque or for children to enjoy some much-needed time outside. It will also keep your home cooler when temperatures rise.
To get all of the benefits of shade trees, you need to plant the correct species of tree and care for them properly.
ME Tree Trimming has recommendations for the best trees to plant for shade, as well as some expert advice on taking care of your shade trees so they continue to grow strong and healthy.
Planting Trees for Shade
Any tree can technically provide shade, but there are some types of trees that are built for the best shade. These types of trees usually have a thick, wide canopy that reaches out about as far as it does upward.
Below, we’ve provided 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 typically for the homeowner’s benefit. Neighbors and passersby usually won’t see these trees , so they can be planted purely for your enjoyment.
In addition to shade, these trees can provide year-round color and some additional privacy from neighbors.
Here are a few popular options:
- Sugar maple or silver maple
- Weeping willow
- Weeping cherry
- Red oak
If you have 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 is able to reach up to 80 feet tall and as much as 100 feet wide.
Many of these back yard tree suggestions get pretty big, so you definitely want to do your research to determine if the tree is going to have enough space to reach maturity.
If there is not enough room, its root system can destroy your fencing or even your home foundation. You will also have to prune the tree every year to keep it manageable. A tree that is too large for its area will most likely have to be cut down, which is an inconvenient 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 overpower your home. These trees should complement your landscaping in both color and size, while still providing plenty of shade for front yard relaxation and play.
These are some of our favorites:
These types of trees are beautiful 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 tree looks like a hedge and can be planted in a long row to create privacy and shade.
With these suggestions in mind, we recommend that you plant trees you like. In reality, any type of tree can grow to become a “shade tree.” As long as the trees you choose are suitable for the weather in Maine, they will provide your yard and home with some shade.
Benefits of Planting Shade Trees
The reasons to have shade for your home are numerous — there are some that you likely wouldn’t automatically think about.
Shade, Obviously – When temperatures get very warm, you won’t have to hide indoors if you have a nice, shady yard. Put a chair or hammock under your biggest shade tree and enjoy time outside as long as you like.
Climate Control – Trees can help control the temperature in your yard and inside your home. Not only do trees protect you from the hot sun, but they can make it feel 10-15 degrees colder below their protective canopies. This translates 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 expel pollutants, so there is healthier air around 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 adorable, your shade trees can give them all they will need to build a shelter, find nearby food and raise babies.
Fun – What child doesn’t love a backyard tire swing or tree house? If you have children, shade trees can provide hours of fun and countless memories.
How to Care for Shade Trees
Maintaining shade trees is easy as long as you’ve chosen the type of trees for the climate in Maine. Healthy trees are strong and hardy after the first few years, requiring little attention or maintenance.
Consult a local arborist from ME Tree Trimming if you have any questions about how to care for your trees, or to help you determine the best tree for your yard.
Once you have decided on the perfect shade tree(s), follow this easy 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 trees on one of these sides of your yard. This is two-fold: 1) the trees will provide the maximum 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 you first plant the tree to help to shape it and help it develop a strong structure. To be safe, and for the best results, call ME Tree Trimming for tree trimming in Maine. 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 will help them form a deep and strong root system and will give the tree more stability in the long run.
Fertilizing Your Shade Tree
Homeowners should fertilize a shade tree just like you would any other tree in order to support 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 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, ME Tree Trimming can help! Call us and a certified arborist in Maine will visit your home, examine the tree and decide the proper maintenance plan for its long-term health and growth.