Shade trees are essential not only for the shade they provide but also for the value they bring to both our property and the nature that surrounds it. Have you ever been to a new neighborhood that lacks trees, and something just seems a bit off? Trees make a community feel more organic, creating harmony between natural and human-made spaces.
Trees also bring the value of your home up and the price of your energy bills down—strategically placing shade trees can change the temperature around your house, lowering energy demands. Plus, trees provide plenty of shelter and food for birds and other wildlife.
How to Choose Shade Trees For Your Yard
Now that you know the benefits of trees in your landscape, it’s time to choose which ones are the best fit for your yard! Here at our Garden Center, our team can help you make the correct choice.
Some people don’t have much space to work within their yards, especially in new housing developments. While this does limit your choices to a degree, there are still plenty of trees to choose from. But just because you have a smaller space doesn’t mean you should look for only shorter trees. Many people don’t consider that trees that are too short can look strange in proportion to the home and yard.
To understand why, picture a crab apple tree in front of a one-story home. When the tree is fully grown, you will mainly see a large low-branched tree blocking the entire view of the house—probably not the look you’re going for. Instead, consider choosing a tree that grows at least twice as tall as the house. This way, the branches can be pruned to create a beautiful canopy of branches over your home.
Best Shade Trees to Plant Near Your House
It’s also important to consider tree diversity when choosing which ones to plant. If everyone planted the same tree species, there’s a risk that a single disease could spread and devastate every tree in the area, similar to what has happened with American elm trees that have been overtaken by Dutch Elm Disease. Plus, including plant diversity in your yard will provide food and shelter for various birds, animals, and insects.
So, look around to see what your neighbors have and try going with something different! Below you will find five top-notch shade trees to consider planting in your Central Iowa landscape.
Worplesdon Sweet Gum is a large tree that reaches about 40 feet tall and 25 feet wide. It has star-shaped green foliage that turns yellow and orange then red in fall. While it resembles a maple tree, this is an entirely different species.
Tulip Tree has an upright shape, growing up to 100 feet tall and 80 feet wide. The leaves have an unusual shape, resembling the webbed foot of a duck. The tree’s foliage turns a lovely shade of golden yellow in fall. The Tulip Tree is named after its May and June-blooming flowers, which resemble tulips.
Fall Fiesta Sugar Maple reaches 45 feet tall and 30 feet wide. When young, it has an upright habit and later becomes quite rounded. This tree has large leaves that provide excellent cooling shade. As its name suggests, this tree has striking fiery orange foliage in fall.
White Pine is an excellent choice for someone wanting an evergreen tree. This fast-growing pine, which can reach over 100 feet tall and about 50 feet wide, has a pyramidal form and attractive blue-green needles. This tree looks beautiful in all seasons, especially winter when its branches catch the snow.
Heritage Oak has smaller leaves than traditional oaks. A vigorous grower, this tree can reach 50 feet tall and 40 feet wide. It is resistant to mildew and has a broad pyramidal form. In fall, this tree’s foliage turns yellow.
With the milder temperatures, fall is a great time to plant new trees in your yard. Stop by the garden center to get started on creating shade in your landscape!