Top 3 Shade Trees For Your Yard (And How To Care For Them)

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Top 3 Shade Trees For Your Yard (And How To Care For Them)

22 January 2015
 Categories: , Articles


There are a lot of good reasons to plant shade trees in your yard. Strategically planted near your house, shade trees can block the direct sunlight from warming up your house and save you a few dollars a month on your energy bills. They can also provide a restful place to sit and relax outside and a beautiful view from your living room window. Check out a few shade trees that grow quickly, look gorgeous, and are easy to care for. One or more of these may be perfect for your yard.

Paper Birch

The paper birch is a good choice when you're trying to maximize a small space. The tree has a slim trunk that doesn't visually overwhelm the space that it's in, and the papery white bark helps add to the illusion that the tree is smaller than it actually is. Apart from regular mulching and watering, your main concern when growing a paper birch will be keeping an eye out for destructive pests. The paper birch is susceptible to leafminers and birch borers, so keep an eye out for stunted foliage or yellow spots on the leaves. If you see these signs, you'll need to explore pesticide options.

Birch trees need slow, deep waterings during their growing season in the spring and summer. It's important that the soil around the tree be kept cool and moist. Mulching can help you maintain the moisture and temperature required to keep your birch tree healthy. You should also be sure to have your paper birch pruned regularly, and at the appropriate time of year. Paper birches should never be trimmed or pruned between May 1st and August 1st, because the pruning wounds attract harmful pests.

Weeping Willow

Weeping willows are some of the most beautiful and popular trees for residential property. The bowed branches of the weeping willow provide great shade for outdoor activities or rest, and the striking appearance of the tree can increase your curb appeal. These trees are large and take up a lot of space, so choose one if you're trying to fill in a large blank area in your landscape. Many people like to plant these trees near water features.

Care for a young weeping willow by using fertilizer rich in nitrogen and regularly weeding around the trunk. Willows are generally simple to grow and nurture. Watch for leaves falling out of season, which could be a sign that you're over or under-watering the tree, and make adjustments as needed. Weeping willows should be pruned in the winter during the tree's dormant period. Broken branches and crisscrossing limbs should be pruned, and branches that touch the ground should be trimmed at the tips.

Northern Calpata

The Northern calpata, sometimes known as a bean tree, cigar tree, or caterpillar tree, is a great tree for beginning gardeners because they're easy to care for and are hardy enough to resist many diseases, pests, and weather conditions. They have seedpods that resemble cigars and long leaves that can reach a foot in length, which means they provide excellent shade. They bloom in the spring, producing small white flowers that look similar to foxgloves.

When planting a Northern calpata, the most important consideration is the soil pH. It should be in the 6.1 - 7.8 pH range. Don't be concerned if the tree seems to take a long time to bloom. Northern calpata's typically don't bloom until late spring, so your tree may be the last in the yard to regain its leaves after the winter. These trees should be pruned in the early spring, late fall or winter, and pruning should focus on getting rid of the dead or broken branches.

While these three shade trees are not difficult to care for, pruning and trimming any large tree can be dangerous for you, and for the tree if you aren't sure of what you're doing. If you're new to tree care, it's in your best interests to contact a local tree trimming service, like Pete & Ron's Tree Service, to handle this part of your tree's health.