While there are structures you can add to your landscaping such as gazebos, pergolas, and arbors to give you a break from the sun, nothing matches the natural, relaxing feel of a shade tree. Many people plant trees which will spread to provide shade in a sunny yard, but did you know that there are many varieties of trees in the Midwest that grow best in shady spots? If you’ve held back on adding more trees to your landscape because you didn’t think you had enough sun, here are some species of trees which do well in shade and are appropriate for the Midwest.
Sugar Maple: Sugar maples do very well in shade, and in fact prefer it. They are excellent additions to dense, shady areas. Expect them to top out at 60-70′ and spread up to 50′. If you’re up for a new hobby, you can also tap them to produce your own maple syrup. The color they provide in autumn is exceptional.
Wafer Ash: This tree is part of the citrus family, and is a compact specimen. It only grows up to 15-20′ high and spreads as little as 10′, so it is a great addition to a stand of taller, larger trees which need something to fill in between them.
Eastern Redbud: Expect this tree to get about 30′ tall and spread about the same amount. A lovely benefit of the redbud is that it produces a profusion of pink our purple flowers in the spring, so if you’re interplanting your existing trees and shrubs with an eastern redbud, you’ll get a pop of color. Also, the dark-green leaves eventually fade to a soft yellow. This tree may produce more than one trunk, so it can fill out on the ground around it as well.
Even if you’ve got sufficient shade already, adding some additional trees to that spot can add impact as well as provide a more secluded feel. Groupings of trees give a feeling of your own secret forest – right in the middle of the city.