Shade trees zone 7

Types Of Zone 7 Shade Trees – Tips On Choosing Trees For Zone 7 Shade

If you say you want to plant shade trees in zone 7, you may be looking for trees that create cool shade beneath their spreading canopies. Or you may have an area in your backyard that doesn’t get direct sun and require something suitable to put there. Regardless of which shade trees for zone 7 you seek, you’ll have your pick of deciduous and evergreen varieties. Read on for suggestions for zone 7 shade trees.

Growing Shade Trees in Zone 7

Zone 7 may have nippy winters, but summers can be sunny and hot. Homeowners looking for a little backyard shade might think about planting zone 7 shade trees. When you want a shade tree, you want it yesterday. That’s why it’s wise to consider relatively fast-growing trees when you are selecting trees for zone 7 shade.

Nothing is quite as impressive or solid as an oak tree, and those with wide canopies

create beautiful summer shade. Northern red oak (Quercus rubra) is a classic choice for USDA zones 5 through 9, as long as you live in an area that does not have sudden oak death disease. In areas that do, your better oak choice is Valley oak (Quercus lobata) which shoots up to 75 feet (22.86 m.) tall and wide in full sun in zones 6 through 11. Or opt for Freeman maple (Acer x freemanii), offering a broad, shade-creating crown and gorgeous fall color in zones 4 through 7.

For evergreen shade trees in zone 7, you can’t do better than Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) that grows happily in zones 4 through 9. Its soft needles are blue-green and, as it ages, it develops a crown up to 20 feet (6 m.) wide.

Trees for Zone 7 Shade Areas

If you are looking to plant some trees in a shaded area in your garden or backyard, here are a few to consider. Trees for zone 7 shade in this instance are those that tolerate shade and even thrive in it.

Many of the shade tolerant trees for this zone are smaller trees that normally grow in the understory of the forest. They will do best in dappled shade, or a site with morning sun and afternoon shade.

These include the beautiful ornamental Japanese maples (Acer palmatum) with brilliant fall colors, flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) with its abundant flowers, and species of holly (Ilex spp.), offering shiny leaves and bright berries.

For deep shade trees in zone 7, consider American hornbeam (Carpinus carolina), Allegheny serviceberry (Allegheny laevis) or pawpaw (Asimina triloba).

7 Fast-Growing Shade Trees

Planting shade trees is a great way to add to your property. The trees can be a beautiful addition, giving your landscaping added interest. Shade trees also benefit your home by providing shade to the home’s exterior. This can help lower energy costs. If you plant trees that bloom, you’ll enjoy a colorful landscape and the blooms may attract butterflies.

In deciding what type of shade trees are best for you, consider tree type, style, growing habits, and maintenance to keep the trees healthy. Make sure to consider what hardiness zone your garden is in. These seven shade trees can all enhance your outdoor environment.

1. Northern Catalpa

The northern catalpa is a show stopper with its twisting trunk, a bevy of seed pods dancing in the breeze, and bouquets of white flowers highlighted by extra-large leaves. The fast-growing tree at maturity can reach heights of 20 to 40 feet with branches spreading out 20 to 40 feet. The tree thrives in hardiness zones 4-8.

2. Red Maple

Along with providing ample shade, the red maple is a colorful addition to the yard. Towering at 40 to 60 feet, the red maple is a fast grower that that grows 1 to 2 feet per year. The red maple thrives in the sun making it a good choice as a shade tree. The tree grows in hardiness zones 3-9.

3. Weeping Willow

The weeping willow can make one think of graceful dancers gliding across the dance floor as the wispy twigs and foliage gently sway back and forth. Reaching 40 to 60 feet in height and width, the weeping willow creates an impressive canopy that filters the sunlight. It is easily grown with increases of more than 2 feet per year. It is best grown in hardiness zones 6-8.

4. Nuttall’s Oak

An impressive addition to a yard is Nuttall’s oak with its distinctive leaves that look like a Christmas tree. The shade tree is another fast-growing tree that is ideal for providing shade. Its tall trunk can reach 60 feet with branches that stretch out nearly as wide. Like other oak trees, it produces acorns that squirrels find too hard to resist. The tree grows in hardiness zones 6-9.

5. Paper Birch

Considered to be an ornamental tree as well as a shade tree, the paper birch is a beautiful addition to any landscape. It can reach an imposing height of 70 feet, creating a visually appealing canopy that easily blocks the sun’s rays. It grows up to 2 feet a year. The paper birch prefers hardiness zones 2-7.

6. Hybrid Poplar

Tall, slim, and elegant are words that best describe the hybrid poplar. This tree works well when planted as a group to create a towering screen providing the utmost shade. The trees grow to 40 to 50 feet in a short period as growth of up to 8 feet per year is possible. The tree is also a good source of firewood. Hybrid poplars are suited to hardiness zones 3-9.

7. California Sycamore

For the ultimate height and branch spread, the California sycamore is a good choice. With a potential height of 100 feet at maturity, the sycamore will more than do the job. The tree prefers full, unfiltered sun making it an excellent source of shade. This tree can be grown in hardiness zones 7-10.

Things to Consider

There are several factors that must be considered when selecting shade trees for your property. These include:

  • Checking that the tree can survive in your area’s hardiness zone.
  • The type of soil the tree needs to survive.
  • Knowing if your area will provide enough yearly rainfall to support growth.
  • Seasonal temperatures and how they will affect the tree.
  • Anticipated growing time to maturity.
  • The type of maintenance required such as annual tree trimming.
  • If a permit is required.
  • Potential root problems and limb breakage that may affect the home.
  • Tree suitability for the amount of room available for planting.

For questions about the type of shade trees that are suited to your property, contact a professional tree service, a nursery specializing in trees, or a licensed arborist.

You’re probably here because you’re interested in adding some shade trees to your property but are not sure about where to start. Rightfully so, because there is a lot to know on this subject. This guide will not only help you choose the best trees for shade but also where you should plant them.

Knowing the different types of trees, how long it could take for a tree to grow, and the structure of the tree are things we will look at. In the long run, shade trees offer a large number of benefits including privacy, comfortable shade, lower power bills, and increased property value.

First, it’s important to know how shade works.

How Shade Trees Work

Let’s go back to grade school astronomy class for a second. In Southern California, the sun is always in the southern part of the sky. This causes shadows to always cast to the north.

To put this in terms relevant to your backyard, if a shade tree is planted on the north side of your patio, the tree will not cast any shade onto it. However, if you plant the shade tree on the south side of your patio, most of the tree’s shade will be casted onto it.

If you’re looking to shade your house, you should always plant a shade tree on the southern side of it. This will ensure all of the shade is casted northwards onto the home.

How The Seasons Affect Shade Trees

As the year goes on, the shade produced by the trees will differ because the sun lies in different parts of the sky.

During the summer time, the sun is higher up in the sky.

When the season changes to winter, the sun moves into the lower part of the sky.

If you live in Southern California where the winters are cold but milder than most, you should consider planting a deciduous tree on the southern side of your home. In the summer, the tree will have all of its leaves and keep the home cool with shade. Then, once winter comes, the tree will have lost all of its leaves and allow the sun to naturally warm the home. Both will allow you to decrease your energy bill costs.

Now that we understand how the sun influences shade, let’s breakdown the different types of trees.

Tree Types

Deciduous vs. Evergreen

Is it important that your shade trees keep their leaves throughout the year?

Deciduous and evergreen form the two dominant classes. While deciduous trees lose their leaves during the winter, evergreen trees keep them year round. If you live in Southern California where the winters tend to be mild, you might be indifferent in choosing between a deciduous or evergreen tree.

If you live where the winter is colder, you might want to plant an evergreen tree so as to conserve heat. By blocking the cold wind, evergreen trees can reduce heating costs anywhere from 10 to 25%. Knowing this will help you decide which trees you should plant later on, depending on your purposes for planting shade trees.

Low-Branch Structure vs. High-Branch Structure

Are you looking for a wide amount of shade?

The shape of the tree also should be considered when planting a shade tree. Some trees have a large, umbrella-like shape that produces enough shade for a wider area. Usually these trees have a low-to-the-ground branch structure. This means that the shade will adjust accordingly with the direction of the sun, as we will get into in more detail below. These types of trees are excellent if you are looking to give a patio some shade in lieu of a patio umbrella.

While these trees are low to the ground and produce a wide area of shade, other trees might grow larger but feature branches high up off of the ground. When trees have branches farther from the ground than an umbrella-like tree, they end up producing shade directionally down from the tree. This means that the shade is independent from the sun’s direction. Both tree shapes offer benefits as shade trees, it just depends on the needs of the homeowner.

Fast Growing vs. Slow Growing

How fast do you need your tree to grow?

When it comes to trees, instant gratification does not exactly apply. If you hate waiting, you can check out our tips on hacking your plant growth while your neighbors wait like everyone else. You will face a true test of patience as you wait for your tree to grow, but the good news is there are varying levels of growth speed across different trees. While some trees won’t reach maturity for 20 years, other trees reach maturity in just a few years.

Usually, the trees that take around 20 years to grow provide the best shade possible. Conversely, the trees that take a few years to grow will provide decent shade but sometimes be aggressive on nearby terrain. Sometimes these shade trees can actually lift up patios because they grow so fast. However, a wide number of options for shade trees exist, so let’s look at some of the best types to choose from.

So, what are the best types of shade trees to plant?

The Best Shade Trees For Your Home

After completing thousands of landscape design projects, we’ve narrowed down the seven best shade trees for Southern California:

Mulberry (Morus)

The mulberry tree is a deciduous tree that grows large. You can expect it to grow relatively fast and it requires full sun exposure. They originated in the Middle East, northern Africa, India, and southern Europe. The fruit that mulberry trees produce are very popular in these regions. Around the 17th century, they were imported to Britain. Today, these trees are found just about everywhere.

Coast Live Oak (Quercus agrifolia)

Native to Africa and Europe, oak trees are a slow growing and evergreen. They grow to be large in height and offer dense foliage. Usually, oak trees require full sun exposure and low-to-medium water. This means that they are great drought resistant trees.

They feature an attractive looking bark and you’ll find birds and butterflies hanging out near them. Oaks make excellent shade trees if you are willing to wait for them to mature.


Jacaranda are beautiful semi-evergreen trees that reach a medium height over their lifetime. They grow faster than oak trees but not as fast as a mulberry tree. Jacarandas not only thrive in desert conditions like in Southern California but also produce the beautiful flowers. Known for their blue-lavender flowers, Jacaranda make excellent shade trees.

Ash (Fraxinus)

Ash trees, of the Fraxinus species, are in the olive and lilac family. They grow fast and are deciduous. About 40 to 60 species of the Ash tree grow to be medium to large. They feature opposite branching, meaning their branches grow symmetrically from each other. Ash trees also have unique bark. As they get older, they tend to form a diamond-shaped pattern on the bark. These beautiful trees produce seeds known as “key” or “helicopter seeds” due to the way they spin as they fall from the tree.

Chinese Elm (Ulmus parvifolia)

The Chinese Elm tree, native to Asia, is a semi-evergreen tree and grows fast. They grow very large, reaching a mature height of 40–60 feet with a spread of 50–70 feet. You can expect this tree to reach about 30 feet within five years. Chinese Elms require a medium amount of water and full sun exposure.

Chinese Elms make great shade trees if you do not want to wait too long for your trees to mature. They will brighten up your yard with their light green leaves and the bird and butterflies that they attract. Their wide-spreading, arching branches are an elegant way to produce natural shade.

Camphor (Cinnamomum camphora)

The majestic Camphor tree is native to China and Japan. It is a slow growing evergreen tree that will eventually reach a height of 50–60 feet. It features a strong trunk with heavy limbs that branch out.

Camphor is an aromatic tree with fragrant yellow flowers that bloom in the springtime and produces black fruits.

Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis)

The deciduous Sycamore tree is native to eastern United States. You can expect this tree to grow faster than others do, making it a good option for shade trees that you want sooner than later. Sycamores feature white patches of bark and contorted branches.

Sycamores grow to be very large in size with heavy trunks and wide leaves. They need full sun exposure and a moderate amount of water to grow.

If you’re interested in receiving an obligation-free consultation about landscaping, please feel free to contact us here, or call us at (818) 275-8271.

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