Zone 6 shade trees make perfect additions to your backyards with their lush foliage. They help reduce atmospheric temperatures around your home, keeping the air around you cool, and add immense value to your property.

Seven Zone 6 Shade Trees

Are you looking for a blanket of shade to relax under on a sunny afternoon?

Then keep reading to find some of the best zone 6 shade trees you can plant to increase your property value.  

Best Zone 6 Shade Trees Increasing the Landscape Value

1. Weeping Willow

Also called Babylon Willow, salix babylonica, or even weeping willows at times. These beautiful trees are elegant and deciduous trees that got their name from their delicate arching branches that gently droop to the floor. 

They are even sometimes associated with strength, hope, and wisdom. These classical shade trees are sure to add a bit of drama and value to any landscape while providing the perfect canopy. Weeping willows can be planted in hardiness zones 6 to 8 as they would give amazing shade.

– Features

A distinct feature of this tree is that it is a fast-growing shade tree, it would be growing as high as six to eight feet within a year, and ultimately it would be reaching about 35 to 50 feet tall and spreading about 30 to 40 feet. 

However, this rapid growth doesn’t develop into solid wood, as the tree’s wood is often fragile, and it would crack from the sides. On another note, it has thin, lanceolate leaves with a lighter green on top and grayish, almost silvery color, green beneath.

Weeping Willow Planting Requirements

The tree is usually host to specialized bees and other beneficial pollinators and produces fruit in a dry green or brown pod that releases cotton-like seeds around May to June. It is also a flowering tree whose flowers are male and female green catkins that grow to about two inches long. 

They turn yellow during late winter and in spring, and would fall off. The weeping willow thrives best around water bodies, so it is more suited for homes with ponds or lakes in the compound or anywhere near it.

– Growth Conditions 

Weeping willows require full to partial sun, so you should ensure that your growing site has access to at least four hours of direct sunlight. They also need moist, slightly acidic, and well-draining soil. This is why it’s advisable to plant them near streams, rivers, or ponds. 

However, note that they are tolerant of many types of soil. But they should not be planted near sewers, drainage systems, or underground power lines due to their invasive roots, and this would intoxicate the tree in the long run.

You would need to irrigate your tree every week during the first year of planting and then later, and make sure that you would water it enough for the soil not to dry out, as it wouldn’t tolerate dry soils for a period of time. Lastly, remember that it would be best if you also pruned your tree enough in its first stages of growth.

2. Pine Tree

An evergreen tree, the pine tree, isn’t commonly used for landscaping as most are usually pyramidal and have a broader base. Although some pine trees break this rule by taking on a more rounded shape as they mature. 

There exists also the White Pine, which is also known as Pinus Strobus, and it is the most common of these kinds. And this tree is perfect for you if you’re located in hardiness zones 3 and 7, as it would thrive.

– Features

The white pine is one of the largest growing pines as it can often reach about 50 feet wide and over 80 feet tall, sometimes reaching 150 feet high, thereby occupying an ample space rapidly. On average, these evergreen trees grow about two to three feet taller each year. 

Their trunk has a very deep growing root and can reach up to four feet in diameter. The tree’s wood, on the other hand, is a soft, and a light one, that doesn’t shrink or swell so much.

Pine Tree Growth Conditions

Cold-hardy and attractive all year, the pine tree is one of the few fast-growing shade trees that can live for generations and tolerate drought.

Its clustered soft blue-green needle-like leaves grow to about five-inches in length and grow in bundles of five, making the tree look appealing. The cones are often about four to six inches long and white or light tan on the edges of the scale.

– Growth Conditions

The white pine tree is easy to plant, grow, and even to prune. All it needs is well-drained, acidic soil with good moisture retention. Note that this tree will not survive in very hot weather, road salts, and areas with pollutants but does well with partial shade in warm environments.

Pruning is best done in winter, early spring, or late fall, this is when the pine needles would be thinner. About four hours of direct sunlight is enough for the tree daily, but it must be well watered when young. As it is more mature, it would be prone to survive on its own in dry and even rocky soil. Fertilizers can also be used on this tree, but only highly-acidic evergreen types.

3. Northern Red Oak Tree

Majestic, sophisticated, and grand are commonly used to describe the northern red oak tree. It would also refer to as Quercus rubra or American Red oak, this tree is unarguably one of the best shade tree options for anyone looking to add value to and beautify their landscape. 

It not only provides an excellent canopy that blocks out sunlight well but also provides an amazing fall color, with its leaves turning a mix of burgundy, copper, burnt orange, and red.

– Features

The Northern red oak is often praised for being able to thrive in any condition, as well as its ability to grow at a rapid rate. This large member of the oak tree family grows extremely fast and can reach up to two feet high yearly. It eventually reaches a height of about 75 feet and spreads over 45 feet when mature, and provide beautiful shades.

Northern Red Oak Tree Features

This tree grows round and produces round, attractive, almost one-inch acorns that provide food for squirrels, raccoons, blue jays, and other wildlife, thereby helping to attract beneficial pollinators if you have other plants in your backyard.

It is also able to withstand pollution and is very easy to transplant. It has alternating leaves that grow to four to eight inches long with seven to 11 spine-tipped lobes. However, these leaves and their seeds are toxic to humans and cannot be consumed.

– Growth Conditions

As one of the fastest-growing oak trees, the northern red oak thrives in acidic, moist, and well-drained soil but can grow in loamy, sandy, and clay soils. Ideally, the tree requires full sun, which means it needs at least six hours of sunlight daily.

Although the northern red oak is drought-tolerant, it should be well watered during extremely hot climates. Fertilizers can be used on it, but only after the leaves start to appear, and the fertilizer must be rich in nitrogen.

4. Lacebark Chinese Elm Tree 

The Lacebark Chinese Elm tree is among the best trees to plant in your backyard as it is perfect for every setting, from polluted urban areas to open landscapes. It not only thrives everywhere, but it also works as both a shade tree and adds great ornamental value to your yard.

The deciduous to the evergreen tree is relatively smaller than the other shade trees on this list. With its rounded crown and lustrous dark-green leaves, it can do no wrong in the eyes of homeowners.

– Features

The elm tree is famous for its versatility, durability, and ornamental value, but also because it is effortless to manage. Once it has gotten mature, it grows to only 40 to 50 feet high and spreads up to 45 feet, providing elevated aesthetics to your yard. 

Every year, this small tree only increases about 13 to 24 inches in height and grows at an average to fast rate. Nevertheless, its thick canopy makes it an excellent shade tree.

Lacebark Chinese Elm Tree 

It yields brown, elliptical fruits about half an inch long with a tiny seed in the center. The seeds are the ones that provide a food source for birds, while the tree provides nests for birds and other small animals, if you plant it you would have singing visitors that would come to eat these seeds.

On another note, its glossy, green leaves grow to a length between three quarters to almost two inches long and attract small insects like the question mark butterfly and mourning cloak. In fall, the tree turns shades of deep yellow or purple.

– Growth Conditions

The sun conditions for this elm tree are full and partial sun. Hence, it requires at least four hours of direct sunlight. It, however, grows well in all types of soil, including sandy, loamy, and clay soils. However, the soil must be acidic, moist, and well-drained.

It would help if you watered your tree every week when it is young to help it grow properly. But when it is mature, you may water it only when the atmosphere is very dry, as this drought would hinder the growth. The lacebark elm tree does not require fertilization, and you don’t necessarily need to prune it, however, you can remove dead branches and bark in the fall.

5. River Birch

The Betula Nigra is one of the birch species common in swampy areas. It also goes by the name water birch.

It is a reasonably common shade tree due to its elegance and resistance to common diseases, and it is a resilient one. The deciduous tree has a better tolerance for warm, dryer conditions than other birch species and can be grown in hardiness zone 4 to 9.

– Features

Unarguably one of the best fast-growing shade trees, the river birch can live between 50 and 75 years, often reaching a height of 60 to 80 feet and 40 feet wide when mature. This is an aspect that shows that the tree is a promising one, and it would shade the place for a pretty long time.

Its trunk can grow to a diameter of at least two feet, while its bark takes on a gray-brown or pinkish-brown color. On the other hand, its branches are strong and symmetrical to avoid wind, ice, or other damage caused by the elements.

River Birch in swampy areas

This tree can take an upright oval or pyramidal form with shiny dark green leaves that are one to three inches long and have an alternate, oval shape. Its fall colors are bright golden yellow or a dull brownish-yellow, and it is usually a host for larvae of the mourning cloak butterfly.

– Growth Conditions

River birch is best planted in fall or spring and requires full and direct sunlight with at least six hours. The ideal growth of it is when it is in moist, acidic, well-drained soils but will also thrive in poor-draining soils.

Note that it doesn’t require fertilizer, except if the tree is weakened or the soil is too alkaline. Therefore, slow-release granular fertilizer will do the job.

The river birch is best pruned in fall or late summer because it will bleed sap from the wounds. It is also advisable to water the river birch tree at least once a week for two to three hours when it is just starting to grow.

6. Autumn Blaze Maple Tree

With its eye-catching and fiery red fall colors similar to the Japanese maple tree, the autumn blaze maple tree is huge for landscaping if you live in hardiness zone 6. This beautiful tree, also known as Acer freemanii, is a hybrid specie of silver and red maple trees. 

Also note that it captures the best features of both trees with their densely balanced branch structure, beautiful red color, and speedy growth rate.

– Features

The autumn blaze maple tree is a fast-growing shade tree that often gains about three to five feet in height yearly and reaches up to 55 feet tall at maturity, as another note it can also spread up to 30 to 40 feet wide. The tree has an oval crown and is pollution tolerant, so you can plant it in polluted urban areas and along busy streets.

The leaves of this tree are deciduous, oppositely branched, and grow between four and six inches. They are also a shiny green on the surface and silver on the bottom. 

Autumn Blaze Maple Tree

Sadly, this hybrid maple tree does not live long as its bark is thin, and delicate and becomes frail as the tree ages, hence, it can be easily damaged. 

– Growth Conditions

A fantastic benefit of this tree is that it grows without any hassle, so you can plant it and forget about it. The tree can thrive in any soil, even those that don’t have enough nutrients. But it is better to plant it in acidic, moist, and well-drained soil. 

The autumn blaze tree thrives in both partial shades of light and full sun for somewhat up to six and eight hours of direct sunlight daily. Which means that it is best to plant it where there’s enough space and sunlight. 

When it comes to watering, note that rainwater is sufficient or enough to sustain it, which means you must irrigate it with six to seven gallons of water every week when the tree is still young to help it grow properly. Fertilizing the tree isn’t necessary, but if you must, ensure you use nitrogen-rich fertilizer only when the tree is mature.

7. Tulip Tree 

The greenish-yellow flowers of the tulip tree also called liriodendron tulipifera, bear an uncanny resemblance to the tulip flower, hence, the name, tulip tree has been given. These fast-growing shade providing trees that would add ornamental value to any landscape by leaving behind golden yellow leaves in fall and bright green leaves in summer. 

– Features

The flowers of the tulip tree typically take about 10 to 15 years to bloom, but the theatrical display of colors once they do is worth the wait, as these would provide some very cozy shades. The tree itself grows at a swift rate, increasing about 25 inches in height every year. But the growth slows down when it gets more mature.

Once it grows, tulip trees grow to reach a height of 70 to 90 feet and spread about 40 feet. They are not susceptible to insect or disease attacks, so they tend to live very long. 

The deciduous trees usually take on an oval shape and have alternating leaves that grow to three to almost six inches in length. However, their fast growth translates to weak limbs, which can easily break off in a heavy storm. 

Tulip Tree is blooming tree 

This blooming tree would act as hosts to many animals. Their spring flowers provide food for hummingbirds, while their seeds in summer provide food for rabbits, squirrels, mice, and finches.

– Growth Conditions

The tulip tree is best planted in spring after the final frost. It thrives best in partial shades to full sun with about four to eight hours of uninterrupted sunlight daily. 

However, growing the tulip tree can get a bit tricky because it doesn’t always reach full height and width. This implies that it will reach full width and stay smaller with full access to the sun and reach full height but slimmer width with partial access to the sun. 

The trees are best planted in slightly acidic, clay, sandy, or loamy soil types, as the soil must also be well-drained. During dry, hot seasons, watering should be done at least twice weekly when it is merely starting to grow and then, once a week during cooler seasons. 

Also, remember that nitrogen fertilizers should not be used on tulip trees. Only granular or liquid fertilizers should be used on newly planted trees, as older trees do not respond well to them. 


When you step onto any landscape, there’s nothing more fulfilling than an array of colorful foliage on a tree., these are some of the best.

So, if you have enough space, why not try planting one of these trees? Here are a few tips to note;

  • Ensure you plant your shade trees where they’ll have enough space to grow.
  • Plant the trees in their preferred soil type to make them healthier, but most can thrive in any kind of soil.
  • Although there are a lot more varieties of zone 6 shade trees you can choose from, but if you choose the willow tree, or the pine tree, or maybe the river britch tree, they are promising ones.
  • It is essential to water your trees regularly when they’re still young. 

Start with any of these trees if you’re ready to begin planting on your property. In a couple of years, you’ll be happy you did.  


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