Shade trees are a welcome addition to most South Florida yards. They not only make beautiful landscape specimens, they also help cut down on high summer power bills.
In this section, we feature great non-flowering trees that are grown for shade.
A tree is generally the lowest-maintenance plant there is...unless it's badly placed. Plenty of room to grow means avoiding problems later.
Ideally, a tree should be planted a distance from your home that's half the width of the mature canopy. The Plant Pages for each tree make it easy...we tell you how far away to plant from a house.
Shapes of trees range from broad-spreading to spreading, oval to rounded canopies.
Of course, flowering trees and even palms can provide shade as well...giving you many options for large or small shade trees.
What if you want a certain big tree and only have room for a mid-size one? Large trees can often be trimmed to keep their height in check, though it will require professional trimming experts to do the work.
Planting a tree on the South or West side of your property helps keep the hottest sun off the house.
Some of South Florida's most beautiful shade trees are deciduous - they lose their leaves in winter. If you're planting a shade tree for energy-saving, a deciduous tree is a good choice. The leaves in warm weather protect your home from blazing sun. In winter, when the tree is bare, sunlight can get through the branches to help heat your home.
It's a win-win...unless you just can't stand the look of bare branches for a few months.
You can also grow a large shrub, small flowering tree, or certain accent trees and palms to protect one or two windows that get blasted with sun.
Trees that keep their leaves year round can provide a sheltering canopy to protect plants below from frost. They also act as a natural covering to keep winter temperatures a few degrees warmer in the area below them.
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The ultimate guide to low-maintenance plants
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by Chase Landre, author of South-Florida-Plant-Guide.com