When you hear the term shade tree, tall trees like oaks and walnuts often come to mind. But if your yard in on the small side, you may think that planting such shade trees is not an option. While your small yard may not have room for a stately white oak, that does not mean you can't plant shade trees. Here are five smaller trees that add beauty and shade to small yards.
1. Japanese Maple
Most maple trees are too large for smaller yards, but not Japanese maples. This smaller maple variety grows to about 30 feet maximum, and some sub-types stay even smaller. The Bloodgood Japanese maple is a good example - it has a maximum height of 15 feet, but it has a broad canopy that brings shade to your space.
Japanese maples are known for their bright red fall foliage. They grow up to two feet per year, especially if planted in a site that receives partial sunlight. These trees are drought-tolerant, so you won't have to worry about watering your tree once it establishes strong roots.
2. American Hornbeam
Another beautiful, red-leafed tree, the America hornbeam matures to between 20 and 30 feet in height with a similar width. Its foliage is red when it emerges in the spring. It then turns green throughout the summer before transforming back to a purple-red color in the fall.
American hornbeam trees will grow almost as well in a shady space as they will in full sunlight. They tolerate some drought and poor drainage. These trees are prone to minor leaf spot diseases. Regular pruning will encourage air flow through the leaves, helping to reduce the risk of infection.
3. Kousa Dogwood
If you're looking for a flowering shade tree, the kousa dogwood is a great choice. It matures to between 15 and 25 feet tall with a massive, 25-foot spread. Kousa dogwoods have big, white flowers that appear in May or June. Its dark green, ovular leaves are also very attractive. The trees' tiny pink fruits are known to attract songbirds.
Kousa dogwood trees will tolerate full sunlight or partial shade. They do require mulching and regular pruning for ongoing health.
4. Chinese Pistache
Don't let the disheveled appearance of young Chinese pistache seedlings fool you. These trees are pretty ugly for the first few years of their lives, but they soon grow into gorgeous, round-crowned shade trees. The mature height of a Chinese pistache is between 25 and 35 feet with a similar width. Their dense canopy casts more shade than that of the average tree.
These trees thrive in full sunlight, but they're not picky about soil type. In the fall, they turn a brilliant red-orange. Seeds from the Chinese pistache may attract small rodents and birds to your yard.
Serviceberry trees are known for their white flowers. There are several varieties, some of which are larger than others. The apple serviceberry, for example, matures to about 20 feet tall and produces tiny pink fruits that resemble apples. Allegheny Serviceberry trees are a little taller - about 25 feet - and produce purple fruits in the fall.
All serviceberry varieties share a few characteristics. They are drought-tolerant and low-maintenance, and they attract birds. Most will grow in partial shade, making them a good choice for yards overshadowed by a neighbor's larger trees.
Don't let the small size of your yard keep you from planting shade trees. Any of the trees above would be a beautiful, welcome addition to your landscape. Contact Joe Webster Tree Care, Inc., if you need help selecting, planting, or caring for your new trees.