The Q&A Archives: What is best tree for shady conditions

Question: For zone 8, what are best trees for shady/part sun conditions, not too large around 20' or so.

Many thanks

Answer: Gaithersburg would be considered a zone 6 rather than zone 8, so I am a little confused by your question. Most trees prefer full sun. As a rule of thumb, if a site has sun for six hours including the hour of noon then it is considered full sun. You might be able to grow a redbud or dogwood in your site with shade or less than full sun. These two will do well in all morning sun or bright dappled light all day. Partial sun locations are sometimes considered full sun as when the sun hits all afternoon, if the site has afternoon sun you could look at some of the smaller crabapples or ornamental cherries which can handle hot afternoon sun. All of these trees need a well drained soil. I would strongly suggest you work with your local professional nursery staff to analyze the growing conditions where you want to plant your tree (not just sun but also soil type, moisture levels and wind exposure) and identify trees that would do well there, then you could select the one you like best from among those. Enjoy your new tree!

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