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10 Shade Trees We Love

These 10 trees have stolen our gardening hearts this spring…


Drought tolerance and exceptionally bright red fall color are hallmarks of this popular and proven performer. A hybrid of Red and Silver Maple, this vigorous grower combines the best attributes of both in a stately, adaptable, fast growing shade tree.

Zone: 3
Height: 50′
Spread: 40′
Shape: Upright branching, broadly oval
Foliage: Medium green
Fall Color: Brilliant orange-red, long lasting


Exquisite flowering tree displays a dazzling profusion of white flowers in early spring. Narrow, pyramidal form is coated with dark green summer foliage turning brilliant reddish-purple in fall. Ideal specimen tree for areas with limited space.

Zone: 5
Height: 30-35′
Spread: 15′
Shape: Narrow, Pyramidal
Foliage: Dark green
Fall Color: Brilliant reddish-purple
Bloom: White flowers in spring
Fruit: Non-fruiting


Heat tolerance is the distinguishing characteristic of this Acer truncatum hybrid. Its foliage resembles that of Crimson King, but its form is more upright and compact. Thanks to the Acer truncatum parentage, it flourishes in the summer heat where few purple leafed plants will grow.

Zone: 4
Height: 35′
Spread: 25′
Shape: Upright oval
Foliage: Deep purple
Fall Color: Maroon to
reddish bronze


A gracefully arching small tree, that has a profusion of reddish-purple blooms in mid-spring. The flowers are borne on the branches and trunk, appearing before the leaves. It will adapt to many soil types except very wet ones. It prefers a site in full sun to part shade.

Zone: 5
Height: 25′
Spread: 30′
Shape: Multi-stem or low branching tree. Somewhat flat-topped
Foliage: Medium green
Fall Color: Yellow
Bloom: Reddish purple in bud, rosy-pink when open. April-May


The huge doubly compound leaves give this tree a tropical feel, and the arching branches present an elm-like form. This is a seedless selection. Good tolerance of heat, drought, and cold.

Zone: 4
Height: 50′
Spread: 35′
Shape: Oval to vase with upright arching branches
Foliage: Big doubly compound leaves, bluish-green
Fall Color: Yellow


Fast growing and wide spreading, with branches developing a horizontally tiered appearance. Flat topped clusters of white flowers often exceed 6″ in diameter. Outstanding fall color; mottled orange, yellow, red, and purple-red. Blue-black fruit in the fall.

Zone: 5
Height: 30′
Spread: 40′
Shape: Horizontally layered, spreading
Foliage: Dark Green
Fall Color: Orange to red
Bloom: White, 6″ flat topped clusters in May-June
Fruit: Blue-black, small, clustered. Ripe in fall


Catalpa is a Midwest native tree which grows with a narrow, open, irregularly rounded crown and spreading branches. It has large, heart-shaped leaves and large clusters of fragrant, white flowers. The long, interesting seed pods persist through the winter. Northern catalpa is very adaptable to adverse conditions. Its branch structure presents a bold, rugged appearance.

Zone: 5
Height: 50′
Spread: 35′
Shape: Pyramidal with rounded top, open structure
Foliage: Medium green, very large heart-shaped leaves
Fall Color: Yellow green
Bloom: White, fragrant, in large clusters
Fruit: Long, interesting seed pods persist through the winter


A valuable tree for street planting, ‘Redmond’ has the largest leaves of the lindens. The dense foliage is glossy green with bright yellow autumn color. Clusters of small, yellow, fragrant flowers appearing early summer followed by small dangling fruits. Spreading branches create a broad symmetrical tree. Voted 2000 Urban Tree of the Year by the Society of Municipal Arborists.

Zone: 3
Height: 40-60′
Spread: 25-30′
Shape: Spreading, pyramidal
Foliage: Glossy green
Fall Color: Bright yellow
Bloom: Clusters of small, yellow, fragrant flowers in early summer
Fruit: Small nutlets in late summer


Beautiful pyramidal maple with a relatively carefree growth habit, narrower than others, making it an excellent large shade tree for more compact landscapes. Highly adaptable, pest and disease-free, and resistant to leaf chlorosis. Dark green, heat resistant foliage turns a brilliant red in early autumn. Excellent cold hardiness.

Zone: 4
Height: 40-45′
Spread: 20-30′
Shape: Pyramidal
Foliage: Dark green
Fall Color: Brilliant red


Bright pinkish red flowers combine with deep purple cutleaf foliage to present a unique new crab. Deeply lobed leaves and upright form with good branching and density are inherited from its Golden Raindrops® parent. Nursery growth is outstanding, and it displays good to excellent resistance to the common diseases.

Zone: 4
Height: 20′
Spread: 15′
Shape: Upright spreading
Foliage: Purple, cutleaf
Fall Color: Orange-red
Bloom: Bright pinkish red
Fruit: Red, 1/4″

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