The Q&A Archives: SHADE TREE

Question: I need a shade tree. Here are the factors: Location is 20' from a barn; it will partially shade a horse paddack; a pickup truck will sometimes park beneath; it will be a single specimen; have foot traffic underneath; needs to be drought and strong wind tolerant; zone 7. I am considering Pyrus calleryana 'Aristocrat' and common Hackberry 'Praire Pride' but am concerned about fruit (bird attraction and droppings. Also considering Morus alba, but not much to look at; Chitalpa 'Pink Dawn', but would it be large enough? Would chinese Pistache be too slow of a grower?

Answer: Chitalpa is a cross between Catalpa and the desert willow. Have you considered growing a Catalpa? These do produce clusters of white flowers in the spring, followed by yard-long bean pods, but the pods are not fleshy and do not attract birds nor are they messy when they drop. These are magnificent shade trees. You might also consider White oak (Quercus alba). It grows to 80 feet, has good resistance to insect and disease problems, excellent resistance to storm damage, grows on poorly drained soils, in hot, dry areas. A final suggestions is Yellowwood (Cladrastis kentukea) which grows to a height of 40 feet and has excellent insect and disease resistance as well as good resistance to storm damage. The most distinctive feature of the yellowwood (Figure 6) is its pendulous clusters of white, fragrant, wisteria-like flowers. The tree may not bloom every year, but the clean foliage and rounded form of this tree would make it worthwhile to plant if it never bloomed.

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