Shade trees can keep your home and yard cooler, preserve energy and add wildlife habitat to urban settings. It’s estimated that shade trees have a cooling effect that can match the efficiency of your household AC, dropping the temperature up to 15 degrees (but without the hydro bill). Inside, homes are protected from sun streaming in the windows that heat up walls and floors. Bonus – if you have a shade tree, you can leave the blinds open to the outdoor view. Outside, leafy (deciduous) trees absorb heat and cast shadows down protecting plants against sun scorch. Lawns, flowering and shade loving favs thrive under the protection of their branches. Think begonias, ferns and hostas bordering a vibrant green lawn while water and energy conservation are maintained.
There are several trees available for new planting that grow fast and stay healthy in our region. Of course, if you are building on a lot with mature trees, you will probably want to keep them intact, and we can help you with that. But, if planting seedlings for shade is in your plans, you’ll want to give them plenty of space to spread their roots and branches as they grow and mature. Here are some fast-growing varieties that add shade to your yard:
Hybrid poplars can grow up to 2.5 meters a year to a mature height of 15 meters high. If you have allergies, plant a cottonless hybrid for cleaner seed burst and don’t forget to water the seedlings. There are about 30 unique species of poplar so you have plenty of choice for landscaping. Common species are often found planted in windrows that grow up to a height of 45 meters! Whether you plan a formal or casual setting, the hardy poplar tree will fit into the design. Pruning and daily maintenance are not needed for this tree although there will be some leaves to mulch up in the fall (which is great for enriching the soil) and yearly pruning is recommended after branches break from snow load. Poplars prefer full sunlight, which gives you the perfect opportunity to create a summer heat blocker as they grow and expand. If it’s privacy you need, try the Lombardy Poplar, a popular addition for tall hedging and sound barriers that block heat and wind from your property.
Maple trees add bursts of colour in the autumn when their leaves turn red before dropping. They can grow 1.5 meters a year up to a height of 12 meters. They are stunning as healthy mature trees and not only cool your outdoor space as a shade tree, but keep the area cleaner by collecting dust and particles that would normally blow into your house. They protect plants from drying out and burning from the sun, help rebuild the ozone layer, and provide oxygen rich air for a destressing retreat on a hot afternoon.
Weeping willows grow especially well near water, but there are a variety of hybrids available that grow well in drier zones. Popular in parks and private yards, their large leafy mass creates an excellent sound barrier while blocking unsightly views and noise that cause disruptions on an otherwise pleasant day. A fast grower, they spread branches outward and upward at the incredible rate of 2.5 meters a day.
Encouraged by fast growth and hybrid varieties that problem solve site conditions, shade trees are growing in popularity in urban settings throughout Southwestern BC. Many shade trees have root systems that are safe on small lots and add diversity to the environment and bird habitat.
We would love to talk with you about your landscaping plans. With regular care and pruning, shade trees grow into gorgeous backyard additions that benefit communities. Our landscaping team can help you on any project from initial planning to completion, and our utility arborists keep fast-growing limbs trimmed back from roofs and powerlines.
We have three locations to serve you throughout Central and Southwestern BC and take pride in delivering professional arborist services that preserve and protect urban forests.