The Q&A Archives: Choosing shade tree

Questioner's Location: Portland, TN
Date: April 14, 2007

Question: Our patio gets direct sun from noon till sundown. It is unbearably hot. Can you suggest a shade tree for zone 6 that can be planted within 4 feet of the edge of an asphalt drive with roots that won't harm or be harmed by the pavement? I have often seen quite large sized trees planted in very small areas of soil on city streets and sidewalks. Thanks.

Answer: Along with trees, you might want to consider a trellis with deciduous climbing vines to help shade your deck. Some of the most well-behaved 'patio trees' (so named because they don't have many bad habits), include paperbark maple, trident maple, dogwood, stewartia and crape myrtle. Acacia, laburnum (golden chain) and fruitless mulberry, might be nice too. In my experience, fruitless mulberry provides the densest shade and the leaves are large enough to make end of season raking easier.

Best wishes with your garden!

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