Shade trees are the most sought after trees in the United States. Shade trees are usually the first plant chosen for the front and back yards of new homes. Business parks and recreational parks choose shade trees to beautify the landscape and provide habitat for birds and small mammals. Shade trees also reduce heating and cooling costs of houses and buildings and increase property values. They reduce the heat reflected from paved or asphalted areas and convert carbon dioxide to oxygen. Fast growing shade trees provide for a ‘welcome home’ feeling to urban neighborhoods. The stature, strength, and their potential for long life provide a sense of permanence and as living memorials for the residents who planted and nurtured the shade tree.
The success of any shade tree planting process begins by choosing the proper shade tree for the growing conditions in each individual site. Consider the following growing conditions: soil drainage, soil type, available sunlight, space available, existing plants and trees, and all above and below ground utilities. Choose a shade tree that will perform well in the local climate and one that meets the zone requirements. Tree placement in the landscape is another important consideration. Select a shade tree that fits into the space available. The right tree in the right place will prevent root issues that affect sidewalks, driveways, foundations, and septic systems. Shade trees are the largest elements in the landscape. Very large shade trees compliment large homes but may overwhelm smaller houses. Shade tree selection for bold fall color can and will provide pleasure for the eye in the autumn season for years to come.