Trees are very important to your garden. They provide shelter from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. They help your property to stay warm during winter and cool during summer. And they also provide a canopy for all the small plants in your yard.
Out of the many trees, which ones are ideal for shading?
The best trees to grow for shading will depend on your area, its location, the type of soil you have in your garden, and the amount of space in your yard.
There are deciduous trees and evergreen trees; deciduous trees shed leaves once a year while evergreens are full and flush throughout the year. There are shading trees that require plenty of space to spread; some trees will grow as high as 20 metres.
It is best, where possible, to go with native Australian trees – some councils will insist on it. But here are some ideal options for garden shade.
While not actually native to Australia (native to Brazil in fact) the Jacaranda is a magnificent tree that can reach heights of around 10-15m. Don’t plant them near a swimming pool, or close to gutters as when the lose their flowers they can clog up gutters, pool filters, etc. The Jacaranda can look stunning on an open lawn, as a single specimen, or when planted on mass as a border. Resist the urge to prune a Jacaranda – it will causing vertical shoots to spike up elsewhere. Best suited to tropical and warm climates, the Jacaranda can tolerate light frosts but will be slower growing and smaller.
2. Yellow Box
Also known as the Eucalyptus melliodora, this evergreen shading tree is suitable for Mediterranean or bush landscape designs. It has cream or pink flowers and can survive in dry to constantly moist soil. The shading tree grows in the eastern plains and tablelands of Australia, from Victoria to NSW and South Central Queensland. It is considered amongst the best native tree for honey production, as an added bonus.
The blackwood is another evergreen tree. The flowering tree’s dense foliage is an ideal refuge for small birds; it can grow along eroding creeks and offer soil conservation for unstable slopes. You can grow it from root cuttings and from seeds. It is a successional species, growing for 15-50 years, and generating sufficient seed volumes to regenerate. Blackwood can grow as high as 30 metres with a 15-metre spread. However, the root systems can cause damage to underground plumbing and paving. In fact in some countries, the black wood has been classed as an invasive plant, it is so hardy. This tree can also be used as a fire barrier plant in some rural settings.
4. Coast Banksia
Although it’s grown as an ornamental tree, coast banksia can also provide shading and screening to your property. The evergreen tree is distinct for its upright, cylindrical, and pale yellow flowers, flowering from January to July. It can grow up to 20 metres tall with a 10-metre spread. It’s easy enough to cultivate and it survives in deep sandy and clay soils, particularly suited to the east cost of Australia and shows strong resistance to wind and salt exposure. It is moderately frost and drought tolerant, and attracts nectivorous birds.
5. Golden Robinia
The deciduous tree grows fast and it can tolerate poor soil; it is also reasonably drought tolerant. It has white fragrant flowers when spring comes, and its lime-green foliage turns golden when autumn arrives.
However, damage to roots, for example by mowing or whipper snippering, can lead to suckering. Stress to the tree, which can cause the upper most part of the tree to die, can also lead to suckering. To prevent suckering, which is a big problem with golden robinia, you’ll need to mulch around the tree. Keep it watered and take out any suckers as soon as you see them.
Like any grafted plant, take extra care when mowing or gardening around them – particularly Robinias, and use mulch rather than growing grass under grafted trees.
Whatever type of tree you choose, take note of a few crucial factors before planting. Consider when and where the sun hits your property, which way the windows face, and the presence of paved areas. Knowing the answers to these points will help you make the most of the trees in your garden.
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