best shade trees

seydouxMarch 24, 2013

I have large property in Southeastern Pa. My front yard gets direct southern sun. Due to this the paint on this side of the house peels. I need two shade trees that grow quickly, but will be good in front of the house. Part of the root system will eventually end up in the drainage field for the septic tank. Any recommendations? I have a half acre front lawn.

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I understand what you want. (York County, PA here.) The rule of thumb is that quick growing trees are weak wooded. An example: you can plant one of those fast growing poplars, they will shoot up to 30 feet in about 5 years. And in 20 years they start to fall apart, in 30 years they fall over. All the while they drop branches.

There are some good trees that grow sort of fast and last more than a human lifetime. One would be Quercus bicolor. In 15 years the one here is about 30ft. tall. Another stand out we have is Kentucky Coffeetree. Grows somewhat fast, gives dappled shade, resists ice storms very well.

Many of the Magnolia trees, like Cucumber Magnolia and Bull Bay (aka Southern Magnolia) resist ice for me, even though you would think the latter one would be susceptible.

I would avoid Cherry trees of any kind and White Pines, both fall apart in small ice events.

Also, check your insulation. The usual reason for paint to peel prematurely is that the wood is getting moist from behind. It gets trapped by the paint. So if your walls are poorly insulated, it is harder to keep paint on a house.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 12:30PM
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thank you for the input I had not considered either of those trees. The paint is on the shutters and it gets so hot, that I can strip it off just like I am using a heat gun. So I do need some summer shade. Since it is a stone house, I was considering a deciduous tree because the solar gain is wonderful in the winter.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 3:42PM
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This is an old post, but in well drained areas Chestnut oak (Quercus Prinus/Montana) grows fast and pretty impressively sized at maturity.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 5:08AM
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ty poaky1,
It will not surprise any of you that due to the weather, I have not yet planted any trees. lol I will look for the chestnut oak around West Chester

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 11:53AM
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I have had success with Live oak "late drop" from Mossy oak natives in Mississippi. I have several of them in my yard. They are rated zone 7 hardy on the "Mossy oak" website, but I have 2 whips of the "Late drop" mossy oak Live oaks, in their 2nd winter in my yard. They have survived 8-10 nights of prolonged -10 F in Pa, in the ground. They are not green leaved still, but the leaves are tannish brown. The buds of next season are plump and ready to push out new spring growth.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 2:27AM
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Thanks again Poaky.
I am very familiar with Live Oaks from having lived in Houston for 20 years! I am not sure it is what I want 'tho because, the house is stone and the thermal mass in the winter helps keep the astronomical heating bills down. They are beautiful threes 'tho.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 5:22AM
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I see your point Messy, I see now you asked for deciduous trees. The Chestnut oak I mentioned first is deciduous. It is Q. Prinus/ Montana. Q. Bicolor is great if there is some seasonal flooding.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 10:48PM
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Ok, Luckily no seasonal flooding yet. With the sea's rise it may be sooner rather than later. I just saw the maps for flooding in Delaware and Maryland- scary! We are on a hill, but the water table is quite high. Our well is at 50 ft and the basement has had to be parged. So given a lot of water which one would thrive better? There is an ancient cucumber magnolia which seems happy except some idiot topped it and the arborists tell me it is just a matter of time. Then also where can I get a larger tree in Southeast PA? The normal 10 gal would look ridiculous.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 4:49AM
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demeron(Zone 6)

A good design/install firm should be able to recommend and obtain a larger tree. I had some ten-12 foot trees installed last summer. They had the equipment for it-- no way we could have tackled that ourselves.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 2:25PM
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Get a money back guarantee if they are planting it for you. It is hard to successfully plant large trees. Some trees (even oaks) can grow fast and outgrow a larger planted tree of the same kind. It is your yard and choice, but sometimes you can get 6-8 ft trees and as long as you score the rootball from top to bottom, untangle any top, side and bottom roots, be a bit rough if needed, just make sure there aren't any circling roots. Then plant with the top of the rootball an inch or 2 above the soil line, but bury all the side of the rootball, water well for at least 5-10 minutes, making sure the rootball and surrounding soil are well watered, then mulch, keeping mulch away from the trunk. I have found 8-10 ft tall trees at Lowes, Home depot etc. You can get them for $25-$30 bucks. The planting explanation probably wasn't needed if you have planted trees before, I just got carried away. This is one of my Chestnut oaks at about 6 years in the ground, grown from a 3 ft whip. The milk crate may help[ with scale. I got mine at Musser forests online. They are native to mountain areas, maybe you can find an acorn under one, they seed prolifically, which may be good or bad in your yard.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 8:09PM
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You are very kind! And being a gardener I do appreciate the time you are taking explaining how to plant the tree. I know that is where most problems happen. Since these will be in the front yard, I am going to try to have a tree that has some size to it lol. But I do know the fine line between larger trees and transplant shock. Any recommendations as to where the sweet spot is, I will take. I did successful transplant several 30 gallons ones last year. and those were ones where they cheated and there was a burlap covered ball inside of the plastic container. So I was thinking about that size. Any recommendations for that size tree from a nursery in SE PA?

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 4:33AM
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Messymarsy2, I have never planted more than a one gallon tree. Hope others can help. I can't help but urge you to start with small trees, one gallon or 2-4 ft whips, but I can understand if you have a company that guarantees a large tree will do great, or your money back etc... blah, blah..... when any tree is planted by you, or someone else, as long as the roots are not circling, and are growing outward sort of radiating outward of the rootball into the surrounding soil, all is fine.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 12:53AM
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I grow a Shademaster honeylocust that i love. The tree provides a really nice canopy of shade that is not too dense. It is breezy and best of all the leaves are so small, you do not need to rake them when they drop in the fall. The tree grows relatively fast. If you start with large specimens, it will take no time to provide you shade. But I cannot tell you how the tree's roots will affect your septic system.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 9:48PM
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Mike Larkin

Part of the root system will eventually end up in the drainage field for the septic tank. Any recommendations? I have a half acre front lawn.

I would recommend not planting a tree where the roots may grow into the septic field. Unless you have lots of $$ to replace or repair the field. You don not mention size in feet of your front and how far the tree will be from the field.

Maybe your problem is the paint and how it was applied. --"Due to this the paint on this side of the house peels" . Investigate why the paint is pealing.

It will take several years to get shade. Red Maple Acer rubrum grows quick, but occasionally the roots stay near the surface. It has great fall color - thus the name. It grows in most soils, and tolerates full sun. I have one that was planted in 1990 and is about 25-30 ft tall. It was about 6ft when planted. It can grow to about 40-50ft high. The roots can grow 25 -30 ft from the tree trunk. Maybe more.
Go to a local garden center, where they can speak intelligently about the trees in your area, and how they grow in your conditions,
Talk to you septic installer and ask them about planting near your septic field. My guess is that if the field is in the front yard and you are planting within 20- 25 ft of the edge of the field they will recommend against planting a tree.

Good luck

Here is a link that might be useful: My Garden Blog

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 9:50PM
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I just read my last post and it sounds like I was being an a**hole. I didn't mean to sound like that, I kinda meant "and so on" .

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 12:12AM
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Messymarsy, From the posts you have made you should plant some trees that can stand water pooling in their root zone, is that correct? I would try Swamp white oak "Quercus Bicolor". And also"Nuittal's oak" Quercus Nuttalli. Even Shumard's oak can stand some slow draining soil. There is "Overcup oak" also. Swamp Chestnut oak (Quercus Michauxii) and Durand oaks "prefered sites" is listed as "damp to dry sites". I have one in a well drained bottom site. It looks quite robust there, though.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 3:17AM
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If you don't like squirrels, don't plant oaks.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 12:44PM
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