The Q&A Archives: Shade Tree

Question: I want to know what type of tree would be best to plant fairly close to a home (20 ft. or so). I'd like a tree that is going to grow quickly and provide a lot of shade. I'd also like one that isn't going to be messy (for example like a pine that drops needles). I want one that isn't going to drop a lot of junk. Can you help?

Answer: In my experience, all trees will naturally drop debris of one sort or another as they grow and renew themselves. However, trees with smaller leaves tend to make less of a mess and for this reason, many people like the Thornless Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis). It grows relatively quickly and makes a light shade which enables grass to be grown beneath it. You might consider planting any medium to large tree further from the house than 20 feet however. Most shade trees grow quite large and their root runs can interfere with basements or foundations if planted too close.

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