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Shade Trees, Flowering Trees, And Evergreen Trees For Landscape Specimen Growing
Not all shade trees lose their leaves in the fall (deciduous), but some shade trees are evergreen and others can be classified as flowering plants. It is well known that shade trees can cool the surrounding landscape and cool homes in the summer heat. Some evergreen trees also provide year-round shade, a factor that may be undesirable in some cases during freezing winters, when an evergreen shade tree can block sunlight’s heat rays that can melt snow and ice on roofs or block infra. – Red light from warm rooms inside the house. Homeowners in the most southern states of the United States may prefer year-round shade on homes and buildings with evergreen shade trees such as the live oak tree, Quercus virginiana; laurel oak tree, Quercus laurifolia; And Darlington oak trees, Quercus hemispherica, would be desirable for planting near the house.
Pine trees are also valuable shade trees for homes and landscape gardens. Perennial shrubs such as camellia japonica and azalea shrubs need year-round shade for proper flowering. Camellia shrubs and azalea plants rarely survive if planted in full sun. Dogwood and redbud trees benefit from the shade of pine trees where they bloom profusely. The cherry laurel tree, Laurocerasus caroliana Ait., is an evergreen shade tree covered in fragrant white flowers in March. The cherry laurel tree is a fast-growing tree, sometimes growing 6 feet per year. Eucalyptus trees, Eucalyptus cinerea are evergreen shade trees, but the ‘Silver Dollar’ eucalyptus tree is generally limited to planting in warmer temperatures of zones 8-11. The exceptional menthol aroma of all parts of the eucalyptus tree makes it particularly desirable where smog and other air pollution are problematic. The loblolly bay tree, Gordonia lacianthus, is often called the loblolly bay magnolia tree, and the flowers’ scent, white color, and shape resemble a miniature magnolia flower.
The southern magnolia tree, Magnolia grandiflora, is an excellent shade tree known for its gigantic 1-foot-wide fragrant white flowers in summer and bright green waxy magnolia leaves that provide dense shade. Some shrubs or perennials can be successfully planted and grown under Magnolia grandiflora trees due to the dense shade and mats of succulent roots that grow above the soil surface (like cypress roots). Other shade plants that also qualify as beautiful flowering plants are black locust, Robinia pseudocacia, shade plants covered in clusters of fragrant white flowers after the fern-like, light green leaves appear. The leaves of black locust trees turn bright yellow in autumn, and the wood has been used for centuries as a waterproof split-rail fence. The Empress Shade Tree, Paulownia tomentosa, (also Blue Dragon Tree, Princess Tree) is a flowering tree that produces clusters of gigantic blue-purple flowers. The Empress Tree is known as a fast-growing shade tree promoted by former President Jimmy Carter. The wood is very strong and light weight; Desirable in the Far East for furniture production and wood carving.
Maple trees and oak trees provide many species for shade and changing leaf color in the fall. Maple leaves can change color to yellow, orange and red. The color of the leaves of the oak tree can change to red, orange, yellow-gold, brown. The Florida maple, Acer barbatum, shade tree turns a bright yellow in the fall and then turns brown and remains on the tree most of the winter. Other important shade trees are the American elm tree, Ulmus americana, and the drake elm, Ulmus parvifolia ‘Drake’, which are yellow-gold in autumn. The winged elm tree has strange scaly feathery growths on its stems and branches that are sought after by florists for their ornamental value in dried arrangements.
The Chinese elm tree, Ulmus parvifolia, is known for its rapid growth to provide rapid shade. Chinese elm is one of the easiest shade trees to transplant and can grow over 6 feet in a year if properly cared for. The American Hawthornbeam, Carpinus caroliniana, is an understory shade tree that glows yellow-gold during leaf change. The bald cypress tree, Taxodium distichum, is an excellent clean shade tree that is well suited to growing on a variety of soils. Bald cypress leaves turn yellow briefly in the fall, but bald cypress’s small leaf size requires no raking. The pond cypress shade tree, Taxodium ascendens, is a great tree to grow around pond-houses and wetland gardens, but should not be grown in areas with general drainage. Pond cypress roots rise out of the water, swollen and large, and are called cypress knees.
The black gum shade tree, Nyssa sylvatica, grows well in wetlands and shade is beneficial to many aquatic plants. Water tupelo (also tupelo gum, sour gum) shade tree grows aquatic in many lowland wetlands. Black gum leaves and water tupelo shade trees turn yellow-gold and orange in autumn. The Chinese parasol tree, Fermiana simplex, forms an umbrella (umbrella) canopy with large bat-shaped leaves that turn bright yellow, then orange, in autumn.
The catalpa tree (fishbait tree), Catalpa bignonioides, has been used for centuries as a shade tree to attract worms (fishbait) used for fishing. The Chinese tallow tree, Sapium sebiferum, is a fast-growing small shade tree that produces a kaleidoscope of colors in its leaves, yellow, red, orange, blue and purple in fall. The Chinese tallow tree produces seedpods in autumn that look like popcorn after the leaves fall, hence the name popcorn tree. Corkscrew willow, Salix matsudana “tortuosa,” and weeping willow, Salix babylonica, are fast-growing shade trees with distinctive linear leaves that turn yellow in fall. The Ginkgo shade tree, Ginkgo biloba, is one of the most famous shade trees and its bright yellow-gold leaves remain on the tree for a week or more when they form a bright yellow circle beneath the barren limbs. Fossilized ginkgo leaves have been found in Oriental archaeological excavations. Green ash, Fraxinus pennsylvanica lanceolata, is a fast-growing shade tree useful as a landscape specimen. The Lombardy poplar tree, Populus nigra, is a fast-growing tree that is planted as hedges and windbreaks in the western United States.
The river birch tree, Betula nigra, is a beautiful landscape tree with unique flaking bark that is replaced by smooth bark in the spring. River birch can be planted in a single trunk specimen or as a clump. Sassafras shade tree, Sassafras albidum, grows aromatic parts consisting of flowers, bark, and roots that were used during the Civil War to make sassafras tea that had an intoxicating effect on wounded southerners. The sourwood tree, Oxydendrum arboreum, and the sweetgum shade tree, Liquidambar styraciflua, both produce spectacular leaf color in the fall, with both sourwood and sweetgum trees turning yellow, orange, and red. The sycamore tree, Platanus occidentalis, is probably one of the best trees for quick shade. Sycamore trees can grow 2 feet in diameter and 50 feet tall in 20 years.
Bamboo trees and bamboo plants have been used as shade trees, privacy hedges and borders. Bamboo plants are fast growing and useful as windbreaks as well as shade screens for privacy covering 40-50 feet (woody bamboo) and 180 degrees of focused light rays. Annual flower beds are often planted in front of a bamboo screen for partial shade, and many shrubs and bushes grow well when placed in front of a bamboo screen, provided the bamboo plants are clumping types.
Shade trees have been used throughout the ages for landscapes, homes, buildings, or as shelter and food for wildlife. Some shade plants offer additional benefits such as beautiful flowers or evergreen foliage. Other shade trees can bear fruit, such as mulberry trees, apple trees, pear trees, and evergreen loquat trees. Still other shade trees contain valuable tasty nuts, such as pecan trees, walnut trees, and chestnut trees. In addition to the benefit of shade, the brilliant leaf color of the fall cooling period makes planting and growing shade trees a pleasant and rewarding endeavor.
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