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  • Trees for Shade

    My front porch faces West, and gets really hot in the summer. I'm thinking about planting trees for shade. Which trees would be best AND grow fast??

    For a fast-growing tree with year-round interest, try River Birch.  Native to the eastern U. S., these trees grow very fast in their first years.  At maturity, they can reach 40 to 70 feet tall with a spread of 40 to 60 feet.  They are oval to pyramidal when they are young reverting to a more rounded shape as they age.

    The trunks of River Birches often fork near the ground creating a multi-trunk effect.  But the real attention-getter is the tree’s bark.  Young bark is apricot-white, smooth and shiny.  As the tree ages, the bark begins to exfoliate (peel) in sheets of cinnamon-brown to almost black.  Because of this feature and the tree’s delicate limb structure, many think the tree is most attractive without its leaves.

    The leaves of River Birch are finely toothed and somewhat diamond-shaped.  They are medium to dark glossy green on the top side with a silvery cast on the underside.  River Birch leaves turn yellow in the fall.

    River Birch is an excellent tree for a full sun situation.  It does not tolerate shade and performs best in moist soils.

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