Professional tree care contractors will tell you to plant a small deciduous tree on the south side of your property. In this spot, they provide two wonderful functions: they provide a cooling effect to the landscaping on hot, sunny, summer days, and they let in the sunshine in the winter to preserve the heat inside the home and warm the ground outside. If you are looking for a landscaping upgrade, there are several small deciduous shade trees you can choose from that will provide these functions and more.
Small Deciduous Trees
A good small shade tree will have a thick canopy and decent form, and will be non-invasive and resistant to pests and diseases. And they shouldn’t leave too much of a mess behind during seasonal changes. Such trees include species like the Japanese Maple, Japanese Snowbell, Kousa Dogwood, and Golden Rain Tree. These 4 trees are highly recommended small shade trees that even work well for small properties. The ones you choose will depend on the region and climate in which you live. Talk to a professional tree care contractor for hardiness zone and planting advice. In the meantime, continue reading to learn something about each one!
Scientifically known as Acer palmatum, the Japanese Maple is a terrific shade tree because they grow between 6 and 25 feet high and produce full, thick canopies in the spring and summer. A recommended subspecies of Japanese Maple includes the Bloodgood, which grows up to 20 feet high and up to 20 feet wide in USDA hardiness zones 5b through 8.
The Japanese Snowbell, or Styrax japonicas, is an excellent shade tree because it grows its branches horizontally and produces large, wide leaves, giving it a full canopy. This coupled with a height potential of up to 20 feet, makes it a highly effective tree for shade. It is best in USDA hardiness zones 5 through 8.
Also known as Cornus kousa, the Kousa Dogwood is a beloved Dogwood species and a perfect tree for shade. It can grow in height up to 20 feet, but does so slowly. It produces pretty white flowers that bloom late, but are resistant to pests and diseases. It grows best in USDA hardiness zones 5 through 8 because it likes moist, acidic soils. But it will adapt to dryer soils as well.
Golden Rain Tree
Scientifically referred to as Koelreuteria paniculata, the Golden Rain Tree is a special species because it grows fast and blooms its greenish-yellow flowers in mid to late summer, which is very unlike most other trees. It also produces a thick, full canopy effective for shade. They need well-drained soil, but can adapt to many other soil conditions; and they thrive best in USDA hardiness zones 5 through 8.