Trees for Shade and Beauty

    • There’s still time to plant summer vegetables: tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, cucumbers and corn will bear for you if you plant them now.
    • Fertilize hanging baskets every 10 to 14 days with a liquid fertilizer. Pinch off faded blossoms and they will keep blooming all summer for you.
    • Spray roses every two weeks with Neem oil to keep leaves free of black spot and mildew.
    • Attract birds to your garden with a concrete bird bath. They come in many attractive styles and make good gifts.
    • Pepper plants should be fertilized when the first blossoms open.

Trees for Shade and Beauty

When the summer heat comes on, we quickly appreciate the value of a shade tree. Shade trees can be different sizes depending on their location and whether you want to shade a small patio, or part of the house.

When choosing a tree, it is always best to first determine which trees are best adapted to the planting site. Then you can consider tree function, size and shape, flowers, leaf color, or other outstanding features. Trees provide us with many benefits from shade and beauty, to erosion control, wildlife habitat and stream bank stabilization.

For a fast-growing shade tree, look for a Raywood ash or a Fruitless mulberry. The Raywood ash grows more upright when young, eventually becoming a dense, round-headed tree. Its burgundy fall color is very attractive. Fruitless mulberries quickly make an umbrella of shade. The large leaves turn bright yellow in the fall and are easy to clean up, but the catkins can be messy in the spring.

Maples and sycamores make fine, large shade trees. October Glory maple is a beautiful, round-headed tree growing 40 feet tall. It has striking bright red to orange fall color. Summer Red™ red maple is a fast-growing shade tree, 35 ft. tall and 20 ft. wide, with orange-red-purple fall color. It forms a dense, broad tree providing welcome summer shade.

Our native Bigleaf maple, Acer macrophyllum, has huge maple leaves 6-12 inches across. It can grow up to 50 feet tall but is normally more like 30 feet. It likes to grow along streams but will also grow on drier sites. In the fall, it stands out in the forest with its bright yellow leaves.

London Plane trees, or sycamores, grow 50 feet tall and 40 feet wide and have naturally shedding bark that makes a very attractive trunk. Their large, maple like leaves turn yellow in the fall. Bloodgood is a disease-resistant variety.

Pink Dawn Chitalpa is a smaller, deciduous tree that is fast-growing to 25 feet tall and wide. It has long, narrow, bright green leaves that form a background for the large clusters of trumpet-shaped pale lavender flowers that bloom all summer. Once established, it needs only occasional watering.

For a smaller tree with showy flowers, you might choose the popular red-leaved Krauter Vesuvius flowering plum. It grows 15-20 feet tall and wide with light pink single flowers in spring and purple-red leaves all summer. The double pink flowered Prunus blireana has beautiful spring blossoms. Its purple foliage turns greenish in the summer.

Flowering crabapples make fine smaller shade trees with their showy spring flowers, broad canopy and colorful fruits. Prairiefire flowering crabapple has dark purplish-red flowers and colorful fruit and grows to about 20 feet tall. They make fruit that is enjoyed by the birds but can be messy around the patio or walkways, so be sure to plant them where the fruit-drop will not be a problem.

Weeping willows grow 30 to 50 feet tall, with equal spread. Their weeping branches will reach down to the ground, if left unpruned, making a magical and shady gathering place underneath. They need lots of water and room to grow, but an old weeping willow is a friend long remembered.

For a cool, shady place to relax on hot summer days, “trees are the answer!”

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