8 Shade Trees To Help Cool Off In Summer


August heat can still be grueling even though the summer season is coming to an end. Don’t wait until you and your clients are in the swing of fall cleanups to ask about adding trees to their landscapes. Now is the time to bring some shade to their backyard retreat that will benefit them now and for next season, too.

1. Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera)

Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera)
Photo: Rob Thurman, Courtesy Missouri Botanical Garden

With tulip-shaped flowers in the spring and bright yellow leaves in the fall, this tree is a fast-growing shade tree that is subject to very few pest problems, according to BobVila.com. Learn more about tulip trees from the Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder.

2. Sugar maple (Acer saccharum)

Sugar maple (Acer saccharum)
Photo: Courtesy of Missouri Botanical Garden

This tree is considered both a shade tree and ornamental that can grow up to 75 feet tall. Helping to convince the client who is hesitant to plant now instead of next season, the sugar maple will also bring vibrant color to their backyard in the fall.

3. Red oak (Quercus rubra)

Red oak (Quercus rubra)
Photo: Rob Thurman, Courtesy Missouri Botanical Garden

A tree that can also grow up to 75 feet tall, the red oak may be another option to persuade hesitant clients with, since it has brilliant leaf colors in autumn as well. Learn more about red oak trees from the Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder.

4. Japanese Zelkova (Zelkova serrata)

Japanese Zelkova (Zelkova serrata)

With a high tolerance to drought and air pollution, this tree can be a good option for some urban locations. The vase-shaped form combined with the preference for full sun makes for a good shade tree.

5. Baldcypress (Taxodium distichum)

Baldcypress (Taxodium distichum)

The Baldcypress has a native habitat of southern swamps due to its ability to out-last other trees in those conditions. Although when planted in the right soil, it can be grown in colder or drier climates.

6. American Beech (Fagus grandifolia)

PHOTO: David Stephens, Bugwood.org
PHOTO: David Stephens, Bugwood.org

Although a slow grower, the American beech has a wide-spreading canopy, which provides a lot of shade. Because of its versatility, the tree is used in parks, golf courses and the forestry industry.

7. Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera)

Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera)

Fast-growing with the easy-to-spot white bark, the paper birch brings shade to your client’s landscape along with year-round color.

8. River Birch (Betula nigra)

River Birch (Betula nigra)
PHOTO: flickr/F. D. Richards

Although naturally growing along river banks, the river birch can be planted almost anywhere. The rapid growth will provide quick shade for your client’s yard and the resistance to birch borers will be a bonus.

Be aware: Silver maple (Acer saccharinum)

Silver maple (Acer saccharinum)

Although fast growing, the aggressive root system can up-heave driveways and cause challenges for mowers. With an additional 2 to 3 feet in growth every year, some clients may have the available space for what could be their perfect shade tree.



  1. The Southern live oaks, otherwise called the Quercusvirginiana, develop in most seaside territories of the mainland U.S, however, they aren’t embellished with the South’s sentimental wisps of Spanish greenery in all areas where they flourish.

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