The Q&A Archives: Shade Trees

Question: What type of shade trees will grow fast and not become more than 55 feet tall?

Answer: Height at maturity is one of the considerations when choosing a shade tree, but you should also think about whether seasonal litter might be a problem. If so, concentrate on conifers rather than deciduous trees. If seasonal leaf litter is is acceptable, but not fruit or nut drop, stay away from trees like oak, walnut, plum, apple, etc. I always opt for deciduous trees with large leaves because they're easier to rake up in the autumn! If this sounds reasonable to you, consider fruitless mulberry, catalpa, maple, sycamore or locust. Each of these trees are excellent shade trees and they can be pruned hard to promote many limbs and branches. Their shade is dense, and they're well-behaved landscape trees, with little pest problems.

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