Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Tips for Growing Shade Trees and Evergreens


Choosing Evergreens and Shade Trees for Your Landscape
When you are selecting shade trees for your garden, include some trees with bold fall color for an exciting finish to the growing season. As autumn approaches, trees begin breaking down green chlorophyll and storing the components away for winter. This reveals underlying leaf coloration, which was there all along but hidden beneath the green pigments.

The ginkgo, or maidenhair tree, is an ancient flowering tree.
The ginkgo, or maidenhair tree, is a good tree for fall color.

Fast-Growing Trees
These fast-growing trees can fill the yard fast, but they may not be as sturdy and long-lived as slower growers.

  • Ash
  • Poplars
  • Willows
  • Arizona cypress
  • Eucalyptus
  • Catalpa
  • Honey locust
  • Hackberry
  • Red mulberry
  • Tulip tree
  • Cork tree
  • Japanese pagoda tree

Slower-Growing Trees

Among the best trees for fall color are maples, birches, sourwood, ginkgo, tulip tree, red oak, linden, and white ash such as Autumn Applause, all of which are outstanding when nights are cool and days are sunny.

Here are some more tips for choosing shade trees and evergreens:

  • Enjoy a tree that can double as a sculpture by planting a curly-limbed willow. Twisted branches and curling leaves make interesting focal points on small willows such as Golden Curls and Scarlet Curls.

  • Add an upright accent in narrow spaces (such as courtyard gardens) with special, extra-slender trees. Some examples are Columnaris European hornbeam, Dawyck European beech, Princeton Sentry ginkgo, and Columnaris Swiss stone pine.

  • Add spice to the landscape by growing peacocks, which are trees with uniquely colored foliage held all season long. Some of the choices that you might consider are red-leaved Japanese maples, golden-leaved box elders and tulip trees, or purple-leaved Norway maples and beech trees.

  • Some trees with colorful foliage are commonly available at garden centers and nurseries. Others can be found at specialty nurseries.

On the next page, read our tips for planting evergreens and shade trees.

Looking for more gardening tips? Try these links:

  • Gardening Tips: Learn great helpful hints for all of your gardening needs.
  • Annuals: Plant these beauties in your garden.
  • Perennials: Choose great plants that will return year after year.
  • Gardening: Discover how to garden.

More to Explore