With summer now in full swing we can expect those long hot days that seem to zap our energy right away. And nothing is quite as tiring as being out in full sun. Planting a shade tree can make all the difference for how enjoyable your time spent in your yard can be. But which tree to plant?
Have you ever heard of growing zones or plant hardiness zones? Perhaps not, but these are the designated regions that have been calculated for the best possible growth environments for different species of plants and trees. What does that mean you might ask? It means that different trees will grow better in different climates. It’s why we don’t see palm trees in Canada and why there aren’t a lot of birch or sumac trees once you head down into the southern states of America. Different trees require different amounts of sun, moisture, and temperatures to thrive.
Our Growing Zone
We, in Southern Ontario, fall under mostly a zone 5 designation. Although people living further south than Hamilton or London ON begin to move into a zone 6 classification. The trees that will grow well here are hardy trees that need a moderate amount of rainfall and can handle temperatures as cold as -30 Celsius. There are many different kinds of trees you can plant, evergreen or ornamental, but the ones you would want to look for to give you relief from the sun are called shade trees. Here is our recommendations for the five best shade trees for zone 5.
The white oak is a large, strong, sturdy tree with an incredibly long lifespan, it can live for centuries in the right conditions. It’s roots grow deep, making it capable of withstanding both drought and some flooding. And it’s notably strong branches can also handle high wind conditions well. When mature, the white oak has both a height and crown spread of 50-80’ leading to a tall but also symmetrically wide tree. This tree offers a ton of shade for your backyard.
Also known as, the tulip tree, because of its distinctive green leaves that resemble tulip flowers in shape, the yellow poplar is a great tree to plant when you’re looking for shade quickly. It can grow at a rate of more than 24” a year to a maturity height of 70-90’ and a spread of around 40’. The vibrant yellow that the leaves turn in the fall is also a beautiful variation from other trees. And the oval shape is a great compliment to other rounded-crown shaped trees.
When we think birch we usually picture the white-barked beauties that stand in such contrast to other tree species, but there are actually many different kinds of birch trees. The river birch’s bark is more of a cinnamon color when mature, although it does still curl and peel. This tree also grows at a fairly quick rate able to increase up to 24” a year. And when fully grown will span 40-70’ with a crown spread of 40-60’. This tree is adept at handling both drought and wet conditions, so it can manage through our unpredictable weather patterns here in Canada.
With beautiful dark green foliage and a beautiful rounded crown, the lacebark elm is not only great for providing shade, but doing it beautifully. This tree can grow anywhere from 13” – 24” every year so it won’t take an incredibly long time to get the shade you’re hoping for, and can grow to a height of up to 50’ with a spread of 35-40’ which gives a nice bit of shade for your backyard. It is also a durable tree capable of handling not only cold weather, but multiple soil conditions.
There’s nothing quite as patriotic as a tree in your backyard bursting with that explosion of red leaves during the fall. But not only is the red maple the perfect tree to show off your Canadian pride, it is also a great tree to plant when you’re looking for some shade in your yard. The red maple can grow anywhere from 13”-24” in a year to a maturity of 40-60’ and you’re looking at that beautiful red canopy covering up to 40’. It is also tolerant of many different soil conditions, and although it prefers wetter soil it can handle drought.
If you are looking for an arborist in Newmarket, Aurora, Markam, or within York region that can give you suggestions and advice about which trees to plant we at Sequoia TreeScape can help. We have over twenty years’ experience dealing with trees and can assist you in making these decisions. And if you are looking for tree work or a tree removal near you then contact us today. The Sequoia TreeScape team is only one call away at (416) 770-8733.
Until Next Time,
Matt Gladwin – Owner