About Tree Canopy: Parts, Types And Planting One

In this article, I’ll be looking at types of canopy trees so keep reading!

For those who don’t know, a tree canopy is the highest part of the tree, which consists of branches and leaves. Every tree has a canopy, some larger than others.

Classes Of Canopy Trees

There are different types of canopy trees, and they all provide some amount of shade. However, trees that have tall trunks, and long, dense branches have larger canopies and provide a lot more shade.

Such canopies can create shades that cool the immediate environment by as much as 20 degrees!

Let us take a look at the types of canopy trees.

  1. Large Deciduous Shade Trees

Large deciduous trees are among the most prominent canopy trees on Earth. Their size is a major factor here.

They are tall and their branches spread out wide, giving them the ability to shade and cool large areas.

The function of this group of trees go beyond shading your patio or deck, they are also responsible for creating an ecosystem for understory plants. Examples of these understory plants include dogwood trees and azaleas.

Family members of large deciduous trees capable of impacting the environment and immediate ecosystem include ash trees, oak trees, maple trees, and elms.

Factors To Consider Before You Plant Large Canopy Trees

Large deciduous canopy trees are cool (no pun intended), but you have to consider some factors before you plant them in your yard.

These include –

Lawn maintenance – Large canopy trees have a lot of leaves, which means you have to deal with a yard filled with them.

While fallen leaves are great for the soil, they can also be an inconvenience. You have to constantly rake them up to keep your lawn looking neat, especially if you’re the type that loves hosting friends at barbeque parties.

Potential hazards – Large deciduous trees have long, think branches. While these may seem harmless, you might want to consider how dangerous they could be if they fall off unexpectedly.

It is no news that heavy storms can blow off tree branches, especially the ones that are decayed or dead. When such a branch falls, it may not only damage your property, it could hurt or kill a person.

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The worst is when the tree itself falls. The damage it would cause would be of great proportions.

  1. Small Deciduous Canopy Trees

These do not provide the same amount of shade as their taller counterparts, but they come with their advantages.

First of all, they are usually very beautiful, so what they lack in excessive cooling ability is made up for with beauty. Secondly, they carry lesser risks than the large deciduous trees, being that their branches are smaller.

Examples of small deciduous shade trees include the Acacia Smallii tree, found in the U.S.A.

They usually bloom in the late winter and they are characterized by beautiful, yellowish flowers.

Another example is the Japanese Maple tree. They have branches that spread out wide so they have good shading ability. They are characterized by their trademark green or red foliage.

The Golden Chain tree is another member of this family. It can grow as high as 25 feet tall, and the branches have an equal spread.

  1. Evergreens

Third, on the list is the Evergreens. They also provide good shade and coolness, and less leaf cleaning trouble than the deciduous trees.

The Pine tree is a good example of an Evergreen tree. They are majorly grown for the sake of their canopies.

The Foxtail Pine tree is another good example of an Evergreen. They can grow to heights of up to 50 feet tall and have a spread that can reach 25 feet wide. They are mainly found in the state of California.

Then there’s the Big Cone Pine tree. This giant evergreen reaches heights of up to 80 feet tall and has a spread that can reach 30 feet wide. A close cousin is the Holly tree, they can grow to as tall as 70 feet.

  1. Flowering Fruit Trees

There is a wide variety of flowering fruit trees with decently spread out branches that provide shade and coolness.

One such tree is the Flowering Crabapple tree. It is known for blooming in the spring, and it has white or pink blossoms. You can also find scattered clusters of tiny ovoid fruit on it.

They are characterized by their beautiful green or purple leaves.

The Carolina Laurel is another example of a flowering fruit canopy tree. It can grow to heights of up to 25 feet, and during the mid-winter to spring period, you can find glossy green leaves mixed with white flowers on them.

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Other examples of flowering fruit trees include peach trees, plums, and ornamental cherries.

Types Of Fast Growing Canopy Trees

You may have just bought a new home and you can’t wait to have a tree that would provide nice cooling shade to your yard.

Well, there are canopy trees that grow faster than others, so you may not have to wait for so long to enjoy the coolness and freshness that these trees bring.

READ: World’s Fastest Growing Tree Species

Before you plant your fast-growing canopy tree, it’ll be wise to first consider a few factors that would matter as the tree grows.

I’d like to list them out below.

The size of your yard – Before you plant your canopy tree, be sure to consider the size of your yard first. This information will help you determine if the kind of tree you will plant fits into your landscaping plans.

The eventual size of the tree – This is another factor that matters a lot. When you know the maximum level to which the tree can grow, then you’d know the exact spot in your yard where it should be planted.

How far is your building away from the planting spot? How long will the branches of this tree eventually grow? Questions like that must be asked, just to be sure your tree doesn’t become an inconvenience or hazard in the future.

Will it hinder certain movements around your yard? – When planting your canopy tree, don’t just think about the short term, the long term is vital too.

When the lower branches of the tree grow, will they block walkways and drive-ins? Or they could block the front door entrance?

Asking yourself this question will help you determine where the tree should be planted.

Are you ready for the responsibility of owning a shade tree? – The benefits that come with having a shade tree is what makes most people plant them in the first place. They provide coolness, help freshen the air, and create microhabitats for other smaller plants, animals, and birds.

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However, the faster they grow, the earlier they start to drop leaves that litter your yard and it is your responsibility to rake them up.

I know raking your yard seems like a small, easy-to-do task, but what about other tougher tasks, like pruning and the general maintenance of the tree? Aspects of general maintenance include watering, fertilizing, and removal of pests.

With all these considered, let’s take a look at the fastest growing canopy trees

  1. Hybrid Poplar

This is one of the fastest-growing canopy trees you can plant in your yard.

It belongs to the family of cottonless hybrids and they grow to as much as 8 feet per year.

  1. Nuttal Oak

This is another species of fast-growing shade trees that is very popular among homeowners in America.

These are also known as Red Oak (or Pink Oak). It is the fastest-growing member of the Oaktree family.

They are also known to start producing acorns very early

  1. Red Maple

The Red Maple grows quickly, but not as fast as the Hybrid Poplar.

Red Maples usually grow between the range of 3 feet to 5 feet per year. The good thing about this tree isn’t just the quickness in vertical growth, but also its spread of branches.

This means you can start enjoying the tree’s coolness in the quickest possible time.

These trees have brightly colored leaves that turn red before they fall. This usually happens in the fall season.

  1. Weeping Willow

This fast-growing canopy tree is known for growing well near water. This is not to say that water is the only factor that influences their quick growth, it’s just a pointer that the more water it absorbs the faster it grows.

These trees can grow between the ranges of 3 feet to 8 feet per year.

There are other species of fast-growing canopy trees you can plant in your yard.

These include –

  • The Paper Birch tree
  • The American Sycamore tree
  • The Northern Catalpa tree


Canopy trees are beneficial to both man and animals, thanks to their ability to cool and clean the air. Plant one today, but consider the branch spread before you do.

I trust this article has enlightened you on the types of canopy trees.

Take care!

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