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 Robin's Backyard Nursery Shop

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Best Shade Trees for Your Landscape

Best Shade Trees for your landscape

If you are looking for the best shade trees for your landscape, here are a few ideas.

Whether you have a large or a small yard, full sun or full shade, dry or wet soil, there is a tree for you.

Growing Trees in Containers

Renting a place and still want a tree?

Grow some container trees so you can take them with you if you move.

Don't think it's possible?  Check out this short 1 minute video on how to grow trees in containers.

Note that he mentions cutting the top off. That is the key to stopping the tree from getting any taller. It will grow outwards instead of up. You just have to keep them trimmed to the size you want.

When choosing a pot for your tree, pick one that is just slightly bigger than the root ball. If you put a small tree in a very large container, all the water will run to the sides of the container and your tree won’t get much water.

You will want about 2” on either side of the pot to fill with soil and this will allow the roots to have space to grow. 

I don't have enough room in my backyard plant nursery to grow trees so I get them from other grower in Ontario. If there is a tree you would like, let me know and I will see if I can get it.

Want to know what will grow around a Walnut tree? This is an article that tells you what will grow in your yard. I wrote this article because I have been asked about what will grow under and around a Walnut tree.

Below are the trees I offer in my plant nursery.

Best Shade Trees Varieties

Maple Tree (Acer)

Maple Trees

They are perfect backyard shade trees for any size yard. There are many different species, from very large to small ornamental tree. 

They all have excellent fall colour with their bright red to yellow to orange leaf colour.


Aspens (Populus tremuloides)

Aspen Trees (Populus tremuloides)

Good for filling in spaces that have been cleared as they produce root suckers that quickly grow into more trees. They grow about 2.5 feet per year and have a very nice fall colour of bright yellow leaves.

If you want to grow just one tree in your yard, make sure to remove any suckers that might appear around the base of the tree.

Oaks (Quercus)

Oak Trees

A great shade tree for your yard. They grow to about 70 feet tall and 9 feet wide. They are considered a fast growing tree growing about 3 feet per year when they are young.

Bur Oak

Willows (Salix)

Willow Tree

Very fast growing tree and reaches maturity in as little as 15 years. They love to have their roots close to a water source and will stretch their roots out to find it. 

They can grow up to 50 feet tall and wide so they do need a lot of space.

Flamingo Willow

Dwarf Arctic Willow

Pussy Willow

Pink Pussy Willow

Curly Willow

Silver Creeping Willow

Magnolia Tree (Magnoliaceae)

Magnolia Tree (Magnoliaceae)

Magnolias make great shade trees. The varieties I sell in my plant nursery only get up to 15' and put on an excellent show in the spring.

They are low maintenance and are pretty much pest and diseases resistant.



Leonard Messel


Pruning the Best Shade Trees

Pruning young trees is necessary to achieve a healthy and stronger mature tree.

It helps the tree live a longer and healthier life. Pruning makes a more attractive tree and less likely to suffer from diseases.

You can apply these pruning tips to broadleaf evergreens, deciduous and conifers.

To achieve the best shade trees for your yard they are single trunk trees. Multiple trucks could split apart when they are mature.

The branches should be at a 45 degree angle or greater and be well separated.

You will want to start pruning your tree 1 year after you plant it and continue every year for at least 5 years but probably closer to 10 years.

This will make for an attractive tree that will look great in your yard.

There are 5 steps to pruning:

Remove broken, injured or damaged, diseased, or dead branches. Also anything that crosses another branch

Select a leader and remove any branches that are competing against it.

Next you will want to choose a branch to be the bottom branch on the tree. This branch should be about 6 or 7’ tall so that when the tree is mature you will be able to walk under it. Remove anything under that branch.

Select the branches you want to be the main branches of the tree structure and remove everything else. Remember to keep a good space between the branches.

When the tree is still young you might want to keep some temporary branches to help with photosynthesis. But remember to remove them once the tree gets a couple years older.

There are 3 key points to remember about your tree pruning.

  1. Select a tree that has good structure that will be easy to prune.
  2. Step back before and during your pruning to make sure you are not taking off to many branches.
  3. Don’t wait too long to start pruning. The sooner you start the easier it will be.

When you get done pruning your best shade trees, your tree will be much happier and grow into a tree you are proud of.

Adding the best shade trees to your landscape not only provides you with shade, it also attracts wildlife to your yard.

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