Growing shade trees in your yard has many amazing benefits. Underneath a big shade tree is the best place for a backyard BBQ or for children to play outdoors. It 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 right species and care for them properly.
IA Tree Trimming has recommendations for the best trees to plant for shade, as well as some expert advice on maintaining 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 species that are built for maximum shade. These types of trees typically have a thick, wider canopy that reaches out about as far as it does upward.
In the following paragraphs, 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 typically for your own benefit. Neighbors and passersby usually won’t be able to see these trees , so they can be planted purely for shade and enjoyment.
Besides just shade, these trees can provide year-round color and some additional privacy.
Here are a few popular choices:
- Sugar maple or silver maple
- Weeping willow
- Weeping cherry
- Red oak
If you have the space, a live oak is a great choice. Live oaks are considered the fastest growing shade trees, and are able to get very big. An older live oak can grow up to 80 feet tall and up to 100 feet wide.
Most of these back yard tree suggestions get extremely large, 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 space, its root system can destroy your fencing or even your home foundation. You will also need to prune the tree every year to keep it from being overgrown. A tree that grows too large for its location will probably have to be cut down, which is an unfortunate and sometimes expensive situation.
Front Yard Shade Trees
In the front yard, you are planting trees for your enjoyment as well, but they will be much more beneficial for increasing curb appeal and value to your home since they can be seen.
Choose shade trees for the front yard that are somewhat smaller so they don’t overshadow your home. These trees should pair with your landscaping in size and color, while still offering plenty of shade for front yard play and relaxation.
These are some of the shade trees IA Tree Trimming recommends:
These trees are beautiful throughout the year, and they’ll showcase even more color during the fall.
Another good option for your front or side yard is the ‘Green Giant’ Arborvitae. This tree looks like a hedge and can be planted in a row with others to provide privacy as well as shade.
With options in mind, we encourage you to 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 Iowa, they will provide your yard and home with some shade.
Benefits of Planting Shade Trees
The benefits of having shade on your property are numerous — there are some that you probably don’t typically think about.
Shade, Obviously – When temperatures get too hot, you don’t need to run 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 control the temperature in your yard and inside your home. Not only will trees protect you from the glaring sun, but they can also make it feel 10-15 degrees colder underneath their canopies. This results in less solar radiation on your home as well, which could result in lowering your energy costs!
Better Air Quality – Trees produce oxygen and filter out pollutants from the air, so there is healthier air around your house. Arbor Day Foundation research reports that one mature tree absorbs around 48 pounds of CO2 out of 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 food and raise babies.
Fun – What kid doesn’t love a backyard tree fort or tire swing? If you have small children, shade trees will offer hours of fun and joyful memories.
How to Care for Shade Trees
Maintaining shade trees is easy as long as you’ve chosen the type of trees for the weather in Iowa. Trees are strong and durable after the first few years, demanding little attention or maintenance.
Consult a certified arborist from IA Tree Trimming if you have questions about the care of your shade trees, or even to help you determine the perfect tree for your yard.
Once you have decided on the best shade tree(s) for your yard, follow this simple care guide until your shade tree is fully grown.
Planting Your Shade Tree
The east, west and south sides of your yard 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 provide the ideal amount of shade and 2) they will also receive the most amount of sun to grow healthy.
Trimming Your Shade Tree
Trim during the first year or two after planting the tree in order to shape it and help it form a strong structure. To be safe, and for the best results, call IA Tree Trimming for tree trimming in Iowa. 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 more stability over the course of its lifetime.
Fertilizing Your Shade Tree
Homeowners should fertilize a shade tree just like you would any other type of tree in order to support healthy 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 information was helpful! Remember, when it is time to prune or trim a new shade tree, IA Tree Trimming can help! Call us and a certified arborist in Iowa will visit your property, examine the tree and determine the best maintenance plan for its long-term growth and health.