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12 Shade Trees for Small Landscapes

Just because you have a small space doesn't mean you can't have an attractive shade tree. Learn how to pick the right one to fit your space and style.

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Japanese Maple

Japanese maples offer lots of fantastic colors and textures in upright forms that provide good shade and structure. Many will attain 10 to 20 feet in height, not quite as wide, depending on the specific variety.

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Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica)

Crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) joins azaleas and magnolias as Southern staples. The small- to medium-sized tree, growing to 15 to 35 feet depending on the variety, comes in numerous cultivars, which feature flowers in lavender, pink, purple, red or white. The crape myrtles that bloom in mid to late summer are especially valuable for the landscape’s “dog days,” but there are also some that bloom in early summer. The fast-growers are also prized for their beautiful, shedding bark during winter.

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American Hornbeam

American hornbeam is a slow grower, to around 30 feet tall and maybe as wide. Its deep green leaves turn yellow-orange in fall. The flowers and seeds are a treat for wildlife.

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Washington Hawthorn

Washington hawthorn provides white flowers in late spring, glossy red fruit in late summer which persist into winter, and leaves that unfurl with a red/purple tint changing to deep green then orange, red or purple in fall. It grows 25 feet tall and wide. This tree does have thorns, so plant carefully!

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