The summer is finally here, and what better way to spend it than relaxing in your yard, soaking up the sun.
Summers in Salt Lake City can be unbearably hot so you’re going to need a shady place to make the most of the gorgeous weather, without the risk of sunburn. Sure, you could get a summer house, but wouldn’t you rather be sitting outside in the fresh air?
We’ve compiled a list of our 7 favorite shade trees that are easy to care for, will make a great addition to your yard and will keep you cooler in the summer heat.
Autumn Blaze Maple (Acer X Freemanii)
This tree is a cross between a red and silver maple and is at the top of our list. In the Fall the leaves turn a gorgeous bright red, hence the name, and it grows up to 3ft per year.
The Autumn Blaze Maple tolerates a variety of soils and is extremely easy to care for. This variety can grow up to 50-foot-tall and 40-foot-wide and grows well in full sun.
If you’re looking for a stunning shade tree that grows quickly and with minimal care, this variety would be ideal.
Zelcova (Zelkova Serrata)
The Japanese Zelcova has become more popular recently and it’s no wonder why. This tree grows in a beautiful vase like shape and looks like an Elm. Unlike an Elm this variety is disease and pest resistant and once they’re established, they’re also drought resistant, perfect for those long, hot summers.
This variety grows between 1 and 2 foot a year and can reach up to 60 foot tall when fully matured. It grows best in full sun and because of it’s unique root system, it’s safe to plant by driveways or concrete.
In the fall the leaves change from green to a gorgeous red and orange which is another reason this tree is one of our top picks if you’re looking for a stunning, shady addition to your yard.
Honeylocust (Gleditsia Tracanthos)
Third on our list of favorites is the Honeylocust. This variety can grow up to 2 foot per year reaching a total height of between 30 and 70 feet when fully mature.
It’s tolerant of many soil types and its root system makes it ideal to stabilize hillsides and prevent erosion.
The delicate leaves provide light, filtered shade. In the fall they turn a bright yellow and blow away, leaving little to be done in the way of raking. So if you’re looking for a low maintenance, delicate variety of shade tree this may be the one for you.
Ginkgo (Ginkgo Biloba)
In Utah we think the Ginkgo is underutilized and because it’s so unique it’s made our list of favorites. This species can live for up to 3,000 years and is considered a living fossil because of how long they live.
When fully mature it can reach 25-50-foot-high, with canopies stretching 25 to 30 foot wide proving an excellent canopy for shade on those hot summer days.
This species of tree is another that grows well next to driveways and concrete and tolerates a variety of soil. The Ginkgo tree has unique fan, shaped leaves and the female produces fruit, so if you’re not looking to clean up, aim for a male tree.
Eastern Redbud (Cercis Canadensis)
Number 5 on our list of favorites is the Eastern Redbud. This beautiful tree blooms with magenta flowers throughout Spring and it’s unique heart shaped leaves turn yellow in the Fall, making it a stunning addition to your yard.
When fully mature this tree grows up to 25-foot-tall and 20-foot-wide providing an excellent shady canopy.
This tree tolerates a variety of soil and, although it needs even moisture and isn’t as drought resistant as the other trees on this list, it is a beautiful addition to any yard.
Tulip Tree (Liriodendron Tulipifera)
The final on our list of favorites is the North American Tulip Tree. This species is hardy, fast growing, and tolerant of a variety of soils.
Once full established it is drought tolerant and can grow up to 60-foot-high and 25 foot wide.
It’s canopy is perfect for creating a shady, relaxing space and the stunning tulip like yellow flowers, that bloom in late Spring, would make your yard stand-out.
Heritage English Oak (Quercus x Macadanielii ‘Clemons’)
The final on our list of favorites is the Heritage English Oak. This species is suited to bigger landscapes as it can grow up to 60 feet tall, so avoid planting under power lines.
It has a stunning, dark green foliage throughout the season and its low branches make it ideal for creating a shady space in your garden.
The Heritage Oak can live up to 300 years old, so if you are after a tree to stand tall through the generations, this could be the one for you.
It is a slow growing tree and needs direct sunlight to thrive. This tree is tolerant of many different soils and environments, but you may need to clean up if the tree drops its fruit.
What puts this species in our top 7 is its ability to thrive in cities because it is unaffected by pollution that may harm other trees and needs only minor maintenance.
The Heritage Oak is one to consider if you are aiming for a long lasting, strong, and resilient shade tree.
There you have it. A complete list of our favorite shade trees’ that are low maintenance and perfect for creating a shady space so you can enjoy the Utah summers in comfort.
Creating a gorgeous yard isn’t just about the lawn, incorporating some of these stunning trees will transform your space from just okay to a beautiful haven in no time.