Recommended Shade Trees

Growing up to eighty feet tall, shade trees are the backbone of the natural landscape, defining and framing outdoor spaces, providing welcome relief from the summer sun and channeling the breezes.  Characterized by dense, leafy green foliage in the summer, shade trees often develop vibrant fall color, extending their seasonal interest into the autumn.  The following list includes shade trees that perform well in our parks.

Acer x freemanii
Red Maple Hybrid
*spring planting only
Best known for its fiery red leaf color in the fall, the hybrid Red Maple also produces masses of tiny red flowers along smooth gray branches in early spring.  The hybrid Red Maples have all the ornamental qualities of the species plus better hardiness in city conditions as well as a somewhat faster rate of growth.
Acer saccharum
Sugar Maple
*spring planting only
Sugar Maples provide some of the most spectacular fall color in the Midwest, turning brilliant red and orange.  Moderately-fast growing, Sugar Maples tend to develop a broad, rounded head and furrowed gray bark with age.
Celtis occidentalis
Common Hackberry
Common Hackberry, a tree native to the forests of the Midwest, is rivaled only by Oaks in its potential longevity.  Beautiful pale grey bark and clean yellow fall foliage make this tree an asset to the landscape year-round.
Ginkgo biloba
One of the oldest known tree species, Ginkgo is regarded as a symbol of good luck and long life in many Asian cultures.  Also known as Maidenhair Tree because of its interesting fan-shaped leaves, Ginkgo foliage is bright green in the summer, becoming luminous yellow in the fall.
Gymnocladus dioicus
Kentucky Coffeetree
An excellent city tree, Kentucky Coffeetree adapts well to tough urban conditions.  Large ferny leaflets provide filtered shade in the summer.  Fall color is a deep golden yellow; its deeply furrowed bark and unusual, contorted branching habit also provide exceptional winter interest.
Quercus rubra
Red Oak
*spring planting only
Red Oak, one of the fastest growing oaks and a native to the Midwest, withstands city conditions well.  Deep green glossy summer foliage turn shades of muted red in the fall.
Tilia americana
American Linden
Also known as Basswood, the American Linden is a classic native Midwestern tree.  Pyramidal in habit when young, it develops an open, somewhat rounded crown with age.  Tiny creamy-yellow flowers cover the tree in June which, although visually insignificant, are highly fragrant.
Please note:  Due to specific cultural requirements, some shade trees are dug by the nurseries only in the spring and may be planted only during the spring planting season.  These trees, which are noted above as “spring planting only” cannot be planted in the fall.