Shade Trees

Some easy shade trees

(though all trees are pretty easy!)

Shade trees are the original air conditioners! They cast cooling shade in the summer, but let the warm sun shine through in the winter. Trees also cool off hot air by releasing water from their leaves. As a result, it feels 10-15 degrees Fahrenheit cooler under a tree.

It’s hard to go wrong in choosing a native shade tree for a residential setting. Even those that grow in swamps will also grow in a yard. If your yard is swampy, though, you’ll need a tree that tolerates wet areas.

Find details here:  

Native Trees     Native Shrubs

Photos, planting conditions, etc.

Printable lists

of Northern Virginia

native trees and shrubs

(Just those that are for sale. There are many others in the wild!)

When in doubt, choose an oak, because they:

  • Grow slowly but steadily in shade (most shade trees need full sun to grow)

  • Can live hundreds of years (unlike a tulip tree, which grows fast but whose wood is therefore weaker and more prone to breakage.)

  • Support the most caterpillar species (bird food). Acorns are also a critical food source for wildlife.

  • Include a dozen species, some of which tolerate wet soil, others dry conditions.