You know how great shade trees are. You can save 50% on your air conditioning bill if their shade falls on your house during the hottest part of the day. (Choose your planting spot with that in mind.) They drop their leaves to allow warming sun through to your house in the fall and winter.
They add value to your house when it’s time to sell. Fall is a great time to plant a tree because you get to see what color the leaves will be when they change color. Also trees tend to be on sale now, so you can get your best deal. However spring planting works well too if you make sure to keep it watered through the summer.
Trees that Grow Fast and Have Great Color
1) Sawtooth Oaks have yellow Fall color that changes to golden brown. They grow to be 40-50 feet high and about 50-60 feet across at maturity. Plant with that in mind.
2) Autumn Blaze Maples have gorgeous Fall foliage (see photo below). This tree grows to 50 feet tall by 30 feet wide. The branching pattern is dense so you will get full shade. Click here for more tips on growing an Autumn Blaze Maple.
3) River Birches have yellow leaves in the Fall & attractive bark. They can take the heat in the US South better than other birch trees.
4) Leyland Cypress trees are increasingly popular planted in a row as a privacy fence or hedge. They are not as disease-prone as some cypresses, but they are susceptible to some diseases that have no cure. Do your homework on this one.
5) Crepe Myrtle trees (pictured above) are trees with which I have some first-hand experience. The trunk is very slender and grows in a slight V-shape. They need to be planted 4 or 5 trees in the same hole to look more like a tree. Otherwise they are so scrawny you can hardly see them. Many people plant them close to the house to get the maximum shade from them. They do very well in hot dry conditions and produce beautiful deep pink flowers. They are more like trees in the southern US but more like shrubs in the northern US. The photo shows crepe myrtles that have been planted in multiples. Amazingly the flowers last almost all summer adding wonderful color even in really hot climates. These are a great choice for drought-prone areas.
My first choice would be the Autumn Blaze Maple, pictured below. It’s a top choice of landscapers and will add real beauty to your yard. The birch, cypress, and crepe myrtle have their good points, but they don’t give as much shade or as much of a big tree look that adds so much value to your home.
No matter what you choose to plant, be sure to take photos of your tree during its most attractive time of year. You can show those photos to prospective buyers who might be looking at your house at a different time of year.