Sade tolerant trees

Asked February 10, 2013, 10:45 AM EST

I'd like to know some good choices for trees to plant in my backyard that has a lot of shade. We live in the Irvington neighborhood in Portland and there are many "old growth forest" trees in the neighbors' yards which are beautiful but cause a lot to shade in my yard. I was thinking of planting a flowering dogwood. Would that be a good choice?

Multnomah County Oregon

1 Response

Thank you for asking about choosing an appropriate tree for your shady backyard. Tree size and root-habit are important to consider in addition to the sunlight exposure. You might not have enough sun for a dogwood tree to thrive, but if you do, choose one that is disease resistant. “A lot of shade” can mean different things to different people. How many hours of direct sunlight does the area receive? Is it in dense shade or dappled? Is the shade evergreen, or is there winter light due to trees losing leaves? Our native vine-maple is another possibility for your yard, or some of the shade-loving Japanese maples. Rather than trying to list all the possible tree options, consider some visits to quality plant nurseries for advice about what is appropriate and available. When you have one you are considering, check it out on the Oregon State University Landscape Plants site: You are welcome to ask again here for pros/cons of your choices. Once you have purchased a tree, plant and care for it well, as establishing it the first few years is critical. See “New Tree” ec1438 from Oregon State University Extension: