In the blazing summer of St. Louis, finding relief from the scorching sun on 100-degree plus days becomes essential. As landscapers, we know the key to creating comfortable outdoor spaces lies in planting or preserving native shade trees. Not only do they offer a refreshing retreat, but they also work wonders in cooling down buildings, reducing energy consumption, and lowering electricity bills. Let’s explore the best native shade trees for St. Louis and understand how they can make a real difference in beating the heat year after year.
The Cooling Power of Shade: When outside temperatures soar, spending time under the shade of a well-established tree can be a blissful experience. Shaded areas can be up to 20-45 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than exposed spots, providing much-needed relief for anyone outside (animals included!). Moreover, strategically placing shade trees around buildings acts as a natural cooling system, reducing the demand for air conditioning. This eco-friendly approach not only saves energy but also protects your property from sun-related damage.
Top Native Shade Trees for St. Louis:
- Eastern Redbud: The Eastern Redbud is a beloved choice, gracing landscapes with its stunning pinkish-purple blossoms in the spring and ample shade in the summer. This medium-sized tree is ideal for residential yards and adds a touch of elegance to any space.
- American Sycamore: The grandeur of the American Sycamore is unparalleled, thanks to its broad canopy and distinctive white bark. This fast-growing tree is perfect for larger properties, providing both shade and an elegant focal point.
- Sugar Maple: Known for its breathtaking fall foliage, the Sugar Maple is equally impressive during the summer. Its dense canopy offers abundant shade and a burst of vibrant seasonal colors. Ensure you have ample space for this larger tree to flourish.
- White Oak: With its majestic presence and sturdy build, the White Oak symbolizes strength and resilience. Its spreading branches provide generous shade, and it can thrive for centuries, making it a wise long-term investment. See more tree or plant ideas that recommend for most St. Louis yards here.
You can also find more native tree selections with information and photos on the Missouri Botanical Garden’s webpage dedicated to trees here.
Trees to Approach with Caution:
- Weeping Willow (Salix babylonica): The Weeping Willow may be captivating near bodies of water, but its aggressive root system can cause issues with underground pipes and foundations. It’s better suited for larger, open areas away from buildings.
- Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum): Though visually appealing and fast-growing, the Silver Maple’s brittle wood makes it prone to storm damage. Additionally, its roots can lead to complications with sidewalks and driveways.
- Bradford Pear (Pyrus calleryana ‘Bradford’): Run, don’t wait, away from new Bradford plantings! The Bradford Pear’s springtime flowers is well-known, but it’s highly invasive, brittle, and prone to storm damage. If you’ve walked past one in spring-time, you also know how stinky they are, too. Not a pleasant plant overall!
Creating Your Cool Oasis: With these native shade trees, you can transform your outdoor spaces into comfortable, refreshing oases during the St. Louis summer. Be mindful of the tree’s size and its proximity to buildings, and consider potential issues with roots or branches. A well-planned landscaping design not only keeps you cool but also enhances the beauty and value of your property.
As dedicated landscapers, our aim is to help you beat the heat while enjoying the natural beauty of St. Louis. Embrace the power of native shade trees, and let them create a cool haven for you, your loved ones, and your property. Stay cool, and relish the summer under the soothing shade of these magnificent trees.