Everybody needs a little cool shade in our climate. Shade can significantly reduce the temperature of your garden, parked cars, and home. All that cooling shade will save you money on the A/C bill, keep your house’s paint job looking fresh, and protect your plants from the drying heat of the sun. Consider location carefully when planting large-growing trees. You want the shade, but you don’t want to create a future wind hazard by planting a huge tree right next to your home. Site large trees farther from structures, with small-growing trees close to the house.
University of Florida research has shown our native Bald Cypress to be in the “highest wind resistance” category of trees, making it a great choice for our hurricane prone part of the country. The large trees grow in wet soil, but also grow happily in ordinary suburban yards. The finely-cut, fern-like leaves cast a soft shade for your home or garden. Expect coppery, russet fall color.
The most singular icon of southern gardens, massive native Live Oak trees spread their sturdy branches far and wide, draped with spanish moss and resurrection fern. These huge trees grow much faster than they are often credited, capable of stretching 3’ or more per year. University of Florida research has shown Bald Cypress to be in the “highest wind resistance” category of trees, making it a great choice for our hurricane prone part of the country.
This large-growing evergreen tree provides wonderful habitat for songbirds, and the female plants produce attractive blue berries that are eaten by wildlife. Plant in full sun for thick plants, though they will grow nicely in bright shade as well. These native trees create a huge visual screen where privacy is needed.
A spectacular native tree that grows quickly to 30’-40’ tall. All new growth emerges in a rich red color that makes the tree glow in spring, and adds pops of color all summer. Like most maples, the fall color can be stunning when the weather cooperates. While there are many varieties of Native Red Maple, we recommend using Summer Red or Florida Flame for our area.
This uncommon tree grows just 3’-5’ wide but climbs as much as 30’ tall or more! The evergreen foliage requires full sun all day long and well-drained soil to stay clean and pretty. A great choice for hot areas, especially happy in sandy soil near the coast. This narrow evergreen can be a real problem solver for narrow planting beds.
What a spectacular tree! These unique trees thrive when planted in very wet soil, ideally right next to a pond, creek, or in a low spot that holds water. The super fast-growing trees will shoot up 25’-30’ or more when planted near moisture. The long, flexible branches arch all the way down to the ground, like an enormous living fountain.
The most popular Crape Myrtle in Tallahassee, this large-growing specimen produces a lovely shade tree with masses of white flowers all summer long. Natchez will create tall, wide spreading branches if allowed to grow without being cut back each year. Site this tree where you have 20’-30’ of space so it can grow to its full glory. The smooth, cinnamon colored bark is even attractive in the winter.
This lovely oak tree produces a huge amount of shade form just a single tree. The strong branches spread wide, supporting a mass of large leaves that can block the hot sun from your home or garden. Nuttall Oaks thrive in the poor quality, even compacted soils, which are often found in urban and suburban yards.
You don’t find a lot of blue foliage in the plant kingdom, and that’s what make this evergreen so valuable to the gardener’s palette. Soft, steel blue, evergreen foliage grows thick and full in sunny locations. Unpruned trees will grow 20’-30’ tall with an open Christmas Tree shape. However, these plants can be sheared just like a shrub to shape them into topiaries or hedges.