Recommended Shade Trees

Asked September 20, 2014, 10:07 AM EDT

Can you recommend a few disease resistant, non-fruit or nut-bearing shade trees. I live in a neighborhood that is plagued by a disease that is killing the oaks and maples. What type of trees would you recommend for a sunny front yard, overshadowing the drive and garage?

New Castle County Delaware

1 Response

I'm afraid you will not find a tree that is totally disease resistant - even if the label notes this. All trees are susceptible to some diseases and insect infestations ... some are more susceptible, depending on the planting environment. As for a non-fruit or non-nut bearing shade tree ... you need to plant a male specimen of a dioecious species. Dioecious plants have male and female flowers on separate plants ... a male plant will not bear fruit (or should not), but does provide a flower set. Some tree examples are:

Acer - some species, like Acer negundo - Box Elder (Delaware native)

Cercidiphyllum - Kadsura Tree

Chionanthus - Fringe Tree

Cotinus - Smoke Tree

Comptonia- in Bayberry Family

Diospyros- Persimmon (Delaware native)

Fraxinus - Ash Trees (most Delaware native)

Ginkgo ... ONLY get the male tree (Delaware native)

Gleditsia - Honey Locust; Polygamo-dioecious (Delaware native)

Ilex - Holly

Juniperus - Juniper

Lindera - Spicebush; Dioecious to polygamo-dioecious

Maclura - Osage Orange

Myrica - Bayberry

Populus - Poplar or Aspen

Salix- Willow

The Delaware State Tree is: American Holly (Ilex opaca) ... most folks want the female specimen because of the berries and value to local wildlife. Ilex will not grow well in a sunny location - they like 'dapple shade' or a forest understory environment. You may be able to locate a 'thornless' variety of Honey locust ... this specimen would provide a light shade and has an 'oriental' aesthetic value. Good for a large front yard. Just make sure whatever specimen you select - it is definitely a male plant. ~DOT