Trees can serve as an excellent natural canopy for providing shade to your garden during the summer months. However, there are benefits and drawbacks to using trees for shade. This post explores some of those pros and cons, as well as listing some of the best types of trees for bringing shade to your garden.
What are the benefits of using trees for shade?
Trees are great for the environment. They can provide a home for wildlife and can help clean the local air of carbon emissions.
Trees can also provide a burst of colour to a garden. When it comes to deciduous trees, these colours may change all year round. Some may also produce fruit that you can pick and eat.
Deciduous trees lose their leaves in winter, allowing more sunlight to pour into your garden in the cooler months, while providing shade in the summer months. In this respect, they can save you the work of having to put up a temporary gazebo or marquee every year.
What are the drawbacks of using trees for shade?
All trees shed leaves – even evergreen trees – which can make them a messy form of canopy. With an artificial canopy, you won’t have to worry about sweeping up leaves.
Trees also do need to be occasionally maintained to stop them getting unruly or growing too much in the wrong direction. You may need to hire tree lopping services when dealing with larger trees. You also need to be careful of trees’ roots and consider that they could disrupt your lawn or affect growth of other plants.
If you’re growing a tree from a sapling, you’ll also have to wait a while before it gets large enough to provide shade (which could be decades). You can buy mature trees to provide instant shade, but they can be more expensive to transport and plant.
Which trees are the best option for providing shade?
Some trees have a much denser crown than others, and therefore better suited to providing shade. A few popular examples are listed below:
- Oak: Oak trees are very popular trees and are known for their large dense crowns. They are slow growing, but can eventually grow to a height of 20 to 40 metres. This makes them better suited to larger gardens.
- Weeping willow: The drooping leaves of a weeping willow are also fantastic for providing shade. These fast-growing trees grow to an average height of 12 to 15 metres. Avoid planting them near pipes, as their roots have been known to penetrate them.
- Maple: Sporting thick leafy crowns, maples are also ideal for providing shade. They are quite a diverse species of tree – with some growing up to 10 metres, while others grow as high as 45 metres. Red maples are relatively fast-growing and are a popular choice.
- Dogwood: Dogwoods are ideal for providing shade to smaller gardens. They grow to an average height of 6 to 8 metres and have a dense flowering crown.
- Crabapple: Crabapples are typically 3 to 4 metres tall but have a very wide crown. This makes them another great choice for providing shade to a smaller garden.