Does your landscape include a lot of large shade trees? Then consider adding smaller understory trees. On the one hand, different tree heights add interest to your landscape. On the other hand, understory trees can provide privacy by offering some screening among the trunks of larger trees. However, all this requires finding trees that grow in shade. Good news! A number of species do well in full to partial shade.
Define the Level of Shade
The first step is to define the level of shade where your tree will go. There are three levels of shade: light shade; moderate shade; and heavy shade. Firstly, light shade areas get partially filtered sun. For instance, under open-canopied trees such as birch. Next, moderate shade areas get mostly reflected light. This is the situation in a typical hardwood forest, ie the type of forest native to Western NY. Lastly, heavy shade is where there is no direct sunlight. For example, under dense evergreens such as hemlocks.
When choosing trees that grow in shade, note that trees grown in shade may not be as dense as the same plant grown in sunlight. Moreover, those grown in shade may produce fewer flowers and/or have less dramatic fall color. Nevertheless, several understory trees grow beautifully in shade.
Top 3 Trees That Grow in Shade
Our list of trees for shade focuses on species that grow in hardiness zone 6. This is the planting zone for Webster, NY – our hometown and place of business. Moreover, we concentrate on smaller understory trees that complement larger canopy trees. However, readers should note that there are shade-tolerate har
1. American Hornbeam
Native to our region, the American Hornbeam (Carpinus
2. American Hophornbeam
A close cousin to the American Hornbeam, the American Hophornbeam (Ostrya virginiana) prefers drier, upland areas compared with the Hornbeam. The tree’s common name comes from the appearance of the seeds. These are produced in drooping clusters of sac-like, pods
3. Pagoda Dogwood
Pagoda dogwoods (Cornus
Trees That Grow in Shade: Honorable Mentions
While our top 3 trees that grow in shade focuses on smaller understory trees with a native shade-habitat we wanted to mention two other options for shady landscapes.
First, the Eastern or Canadian hemlock (Tsuga canadensis). This large evergreen tree with distinctive lacy foliage grows upwards of 80 feet. Clearly, this is not a
The way a crowDust of Snow by Robert Frost
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree
Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.
Witch Hazel (Hamamelis
Tree Services in Webster NY
Looking to manage trees on your property? Need help choosing trees that grow in shade for your landscape? Let Arbor Tree Experts help. Established in Webster in 1985 we are a fully licensed and insured tree service in Webster. Our team includes ISA certified Webster arborists working to ANSI standards. We offer tree removal as well as stump grinding and pruning. Likewise, we can help you choose the best trees for your unique landscape. Contact us for a quote.