The Ultimate Guide to Shade Trees

 

Sping Gutter Cleaning

Whenever you see lush and large, fast growing shade trees out in the country, you may be thinking, “What is a good shade tree that grows fast?”  There is, however, more to know about shade trees than which grows the fastest.  Here’s what you need to know to make make the best choice for your home.

Chapter One: Why Plant Trees

Thinking About Planting A Shade Tree? You Should Be. 

Fast growing shade trees are, without a doubt, an excellent addition to any yard. If you’re thinking about revamping your yard or considering planting shade trees, here are some benefits of planting a shade tree (or even two!).

  1. Reduces your air conditioning costs. Believe it or not, shade trees are one of the best ways to reduce your air conditioning costs during the hot summer months. They can keep your home and windows blocked from the sun’s harsh rays. According to the USDA Forest Service, properly placed trees can reduce the home’s air conditioning needs by up to 30 percent. Be conscious of where you plant the shade tree, however, keeping in mind where the tree’s shadows will fall throughout the day will reveal optimal planting locations in your yard. 
  2. Help the environment. Planting trees is one of the best ways to combat climate change, increase oxygen, and clean the air. Trees reduce a part of the CO2 in the atmosphere. Additionally, the roots of the trees help improve soil quality and prevent soil erosion. 
  3. Adds to the value of your property. There may be a chance that you will be looking to sell your home in the future. Planting shade trees now will likely increase your property’s value when you’re looking to sell, since the home buyers will be able to enjoy mature foliage as a part of the home’s landscape. Large trees in yards have been found to increase property values by up to 20%!
  4. A place for the children to play. Whether you have children or are planning on having children in the future, a shade tree would be extremely beneficial for family life. Not only could the children climb the branches or swing from the sturdiest branch, but the whole family could picnic or lounge in the shade that the canopy of the tree provides. Additionally, the tree would provide a shield from the scorching rays of the sun, reducing the UV-B rays that shine on the skin of your children.
  5. Reduce noise and increase privacy. Large shade trees will greatly reduce the amount of noise from busy streets as well as increase the privacy of your home by blocking windows and doors from the sightlines of neighbors.  
  6. Keeps your yard healthy. Planting shade trees in your yard will increase the water retention in the soil, especially during the summer when the blazing sun offers no relief. The shade from the tree will prevent the water from evaporating quickly and drying out the grass. This will allow your lawn to remain an enviable bright green color. 

Now that you know the top reasons why you should plant shade trees in your yard, let’s go through some of the best fast-growing shade trees for your region (and the worst). Be sure to keep your eye out for the trees we’ve noted as the best shade trees for small yards.

Chapter Two: Which Tree Do I Choose?

Best Fast Growing Shade Trees for Your Yard

Which fast growing shade trees are optimal?  Which fast growing shade trees result in the least maintenance? Here are a few:

Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum)

Northeast, Southeast, Midwest (Zones 4-10)

Growing to a stately 50’-70’, the bald cypress is known for the russet-red color its needles turn in the fall. The bald cypress is a conifer, which means that its foliage consists of lacy needles rather than leaves and is a cone-bearing seed plant. Unlike the majority of conifers, however, it is deciduous, meaning it loses its needles each winter and grows a new set every spring. In the spring and summer months, the needles are flat and yellow-green. They turn the famed red-orange color in the fall months before falling off in the winter. Although native to the Midwest, the bald cypress is highly adaptable to both wet and dry conditions in acidic soils, so it is found in many geographic regions throughout the US. It is often found growing in groupings around lakes and rivers, in parks, and along streets. When growing near river banks, bald cypresses help prevent erosion by soaking up excess water and prevent pollutants in the water from spreading. The bald cypress is important to wildlife as it provides a breeding area for a variety of reptiles, and also helps prevent further soil erosion.

California White Oak (Quercus lobata)

West (Zones 7-11)

California White Oak

The California White Oak, unsurprisingly native to California, is one of the tallest of the California oaks and can live for 200 years or more. Hardy to Zones 7-11, and especially common in the western region of the US, this oak is very tolerant of drought. It should not be irrigated often after it’s established, and irrigation should be kept away from the trunk since root rot can occur. It does need some source of water, but should never be waterlogged. It should be planted in soils with only slight alkalinity for optimal growth and longevity. The California White Oak can be considered a fast-growing shade tree as it has the potential to grow 20’ for the first five years, another 20’ more in the next five years, before growing at a slower rate for the next hundred years. At the rapid-growing stage of its life, the oak will closely resemble an elm tree as it will take longer for a full canopy to develop. Very tolerant of weeds or lawn underneath one, but the tree should be able to grow with the lawn. In other words, planting a lawn underneath an old California White Oak will not benefit any party.

Chilean Mesquite (Prosopis chilensis)

Southwest (Zones 8-11)

Chilean Mesquite

The Chilean mesquite grows in southwestern US and, in spite of the intense desert heat and sun, provides ample shade. It is heat-loving and drought tolerant. The tree has lacy, dark green leaves that each have up to 40 leaflets which can be 1 inch long. This semi-evergreen foliage does not fall from the trees during the winter months, but instead, sheds in the spring as buds appear. The spring brings yellow-green catkins and the summer brings long seedpods, which many add to their diets. As can be imagined, the seedpods fall and litter the area surrounding the tree. When young, the Chilean mesquite’s foliage and stems appear to have a purple cast. The Chilean mesquite is a good choice to plant in a dry rock garden or near pathways or patios as it provides much welcome shade in the desert areas of the US. Just a word of caution that, although not all trees bear this trait, some Chilean mesquites have thorns.

Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia)

Northeast, Southeast, Midwest (Zones 5-8)

Dawn Redwood

The Dawn Redwood is a fast-growing shade tree as it often grows to 70’-100’ with a 25’ spread. As a member of the sequoia family, its height and breadth is best suited where there is ample space, including large estates or farms. In the spring, the tree boasts bright green leaves, typically appearing feathery due to the flat ½” long needles. When the summer comes, the leaves change to a dark green before turning either orange-brown or reddish-brown in the fall. Since the Dawn Redwood is deciduous, it loses its leaves in the winter. As a conifer, the Dawn Redwood produces small round cones. When planting a Dawn Redwood, it is important to keep a couple things in mind. It grows best in full sun and moist, well-drained soil. Additionally, if planting in the fall, earlier is better since the roots have a chance to become established before fall frosts begin. 

Freeman Maple (Acer x freemanii)

Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, West (Zones 3-8)

Freeman Maple

The Freeman Maple, a hybrid of the red maple and the silver maple, is a very common tree in many parts of the US often found lining parkways and residential streets. The Freeman Maple embodies the strong branch attachment of the red maple and the fast growth rate of the silver maple. Additionally, it is less susceptible to chlorosis symptoms, which is a condition where leaves produce insufficient chlorophyll causing a paler green color of leaves for red and silver maples. During the fall months, the Freeman Maple’s leaves turn a beautiful red-orange. There are many cultivars of Freeman Maples, which results in a variety of different appearances. The height of the tree ranges from 45’-60’+ with a spread range of 20’-40’. Annual growth rates average 2’-3’ a year, and largely depends on soil and sun. The Red Maple also has a place on this list of best shade trees, but the Silver Maple does not largely due to its aggressive, water-seeking root system. Luckily, the Freeman Maple’s root system behaves similarly to that of the Red Maple.

Japanese Zelkova (Zelkova serrata)

Northeast, Southeast, Southwest (Zones 5-8)

Japanese Zelkova

An often overlooked shade tree, the Japanese Zelkova is a beautiful appearance for any yard and provides ample amounts of shade. Medium green leaves change color in the fall to shades of yellow, red, or purple leaves. The Japanese Zelkova can tolerate most types of soils, but prefers moist, well-drained soils with pH levels lower than 7.5. It enjoys full sun, and can withstand drought, wind, and pollution. It is resistant to the Dutch elm disease, elm leaf beetles, and Japanese beetles. Care should be taken when planting this tree as it is easily susceptible to frost. This also isn’t a tree you can plant and forget about because pruning is needed in order for the tree to develop a strong structure. The beauty and shade the Japanese Zelkova provides, however, makes all the extra effort worth it!

Northern Catalpa (Catalpa speciosa)

Midwest, Southwest (Zones 4-8)

Northern Catalpa

The Northern Catalpa is a highly adaptable tree as it is tolerant of wet or dry, acid to alkaline soils, hot or dry environments, and full sun or partial shade. One requirement is deep, moist soil. It is not drought tolerant. Growing to heights of 75’-100’, the Northern Catalpa is sure to provide lots of shade. The shade comes at a small cost, however, as the deciduous feature of the tree means large leaves and seed pods shed and leave a little “mess” every year. It grows on the fast side and reaches great heights, however, most don’t get too old. Catalpas, in general, litter the ground with many shedding flowers, small branches, large leaves and seed pods so bear this in mind when choosing a tree to plant in your yard. 

Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra)

Northeast, Southeast, Midwest (Zones 3-5)

Northern Red Oak

The Northern Red Oak, native to the midwest, is hardy to zones 3-5 and also grows throughout the northeast and southeast. It falls into the fast-growing shade tree category as it typically grows at a rate of about 2’ a year for 10 years then continues growing at a slower, steady rate until it reaches its mature height of 60’-75’. The Northern Red Oak is tolerant of salt and air pollution, and makes a good street tree. In the spring, its bristle-tipped leaves first appear pinkish-red before turning dark green in the summer, and changes color to a bright red in the fall before falling off as the cold weather moves in. The leaves have 7-11 waxy lobes and are 4”-8” long. The tree produces pale yellow-green catkins in the spring and drops acorns. This tree has been a favorite of lumbermen and landscapes since colonial times as the coarse-grained wood is strong, heavy, hard, and durable. The wood of the northern red oak has many uses and is exceptionally popular as a firewood.

Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera)

Northeast, Southeast Southwest (Zones 2-7)

Paper Birch

The Paper Birch is known for its smooth white bark and bright yellow fall leaves. It is a tree that looks exceptionally nice in the winter, when compared to other deciduous trees, because of its white bark. This birch flourishes in full sun and well-drained, moist, acidic soils. It does not do well in harsh conditions including heat and is not tolerant of pollution. It grows 13-24” a year, on average, until it reaches 50-70’ with a 35’ spread. Rarely living for more than 140 years, it is considered a short-lived tree. The paper birch’s leaves are 2-4” long. It produces green and brown catkins in the spring, and drops very small, smooth seeds nestled between two wings. The name of the paper birch originates from the thin paper-like bark of the tree, which was once used to write messages on. 

Red Maple (Acer rubrum)

Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, West (Zones 3-9)

Red Maple

The fast-growing Red Maple will provide color for your yard year-round. The red maple has been identified as the most prevalent tree in eastern US by the US Forest Service. If you happen to live in this region, you’re probably already aware of the red maple simply because of how many there are! The leaves are red in the winter, bright red or yellow in the fall, and green during the rest of the year. A slight red color can also be found in the flowers, twigs, and seeds. The red maple grows to 40-70’ with a 30-50’ spread. The further south these trees are found, the shorter they generally tend to be. If planting a red maple in your yard, it is better to select a cultivar that is more appropriate for landscaping purposes. This is because the root system can sit close to the surface of the ground, causing mowing problems and sidewalks to buckle. 

Sawtooth Oak (Quercus acutissima)

Southeast, Southwest (Zones 5-9)

Sawtooth Oak

The Sawtooth oak is an Asian species of oak that was introduced to North America in the 1920s. It is a fast-growing shade tree that grows 13-24” a year, and provides a large amount of shade because of its leaves. The sawtooth oak has oblong leaves that are up to nearly 8” long and have a bristle at the end of each vein. They are a bright yellow in the spring, dark green in the summer, and golden brown in the fall. The sawtooth oak also produces golden catkins about 4” in length in the springtime. It also drops acorns, which deer love. 

Southern Catalpa (Catalpa bignonioides)

Southeast (Zones 5-9)

Southern Catalpa

The southern catalpa is also known as the caterpillar tree and fisherman’s tree. It acquired the name of fisherman’s tree as it was often grown so that its flowers would host catalpa worms, which is often used as a fisherman’s bait. The tree is highly adaptable to a number of conditions and is quite tolerant of various adverse conditions. Catalpas have large leaves that provide ample shade. Its heart-shaped leaves can be 12” long and 6” wide and has short hairs on the underside. They are bright green in the summer, and appear colorless in the fall. The tree also produces seed pods that can be up to 2’ long, and may remind you of a green bean. Similar to other catalpas, the constant dropping of flowers, leaves and seed pods may cause issues if planted by a sidewalk, for instance. It is best to plant this tree in the middle of a larger yard. 

Southern Live Oak (Quercus virginiana)

Southeast, Southwest (Zones 7-10)

Southern Live Oak

If you have ever seen a movie shot of a long southern driveway, chances are pretty good southern live oaks were in that shot. You definitely need a bunch of space in order to have a southern live oak (or a whole row of them), but if you have the space it is definitely worth it because they are quite beautiful. Their branches head down towards the ground before facing up towards the sky again. They are evergreen trees, which don’t shed leaves. There is a short period in the spring in which the leaves are replaced. Good for almost all kinds of soil and tolerant of salt spray. Reaches heights of 40-80’, but even more impressive is the 80’ spread. If you have the space for this tree, definitely consider planting one. 

Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera)

Northeast, Southeast, Southwest, Midwest (Zones 4-9)

Tulip PoplarThe tulip poplar tree, also known as the tuliptree, is a fast-growing shade tree that grows throughout the US. The tree’s bright green leaves closely resemble tulip flowers when looking at them from an angle. The leaves turn a golden yellow in the fall. The tuliptree loves full sun and well-drained soil. There are records of this tree reaching an astounding 190’ in height, but most end up being 70-100’ tall. It is a hardwood tree unlike many other fast-growing trees. Poison ivy and other vines can damage the tree by preventing sunlight and weighing the tree down. The bark of the tulip poplar was historically used as a medicinal tea of typhoid and malaria.

Chapter Three: Which Trees Do I Avoid?

Worst Fast Growing Shade Trees For Your Yard

What are some undesirable fast growing shade trees? Which fast growing shade trees require a high level of maintenance? Here are a few of them:

American Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua)

Northeast, Southeast, West (Zones 5-9)

American Sweetgum

The American Sweetgum tree is one of the fast growing shade trees that present beautifully-colored foliage in the fall. It grows to a height of 60’-75’ by maturity, with a canopy spread of 40’-50.’ This fast growing tree will increase its height every year by about 13” to 24,” making it one of the fast growing deep rooted shade trees. If planted by the curb, its roots will pop up a sidewalk or driveway and overtake any underground pipes or drainage system. The American Sweetgum tree has star-shaped leaves, which are 4-5½” in length and turn brilliant colors in the fall before they drop off. The American Sweetgum’s fruits are persistent as well, and a favorite of birds. The hard, small fruits are nicknamed as “burr balls” because of their hard spikes, and fall from the tree throughout the year. The falling leaves and burr balls may also bring some of the tree’s continually oozing sap with them when they fall into a home’s rain gutters or yard. The American Sweetgum, although beautiful, is a tree that will need constant minding: between the falling blossoms, fruits, bird activity, leaves, sap, and fast-growing roots. 

American Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis)

Northeast, Southeast, Midwest (Zones 4-9)

American Sycamore

In order to grow to its enormous proportions, large fast growing shade trees like the American Sycamore shed a lot of bark during the process. It will normally grow to a height of 80’ – 100’ tall with a 60’ canopy, but it can grow larger. The American Sycamore also has the largest trunk of any other hardwoods in the United States. However, its trunk is often hollow, and it provides shelter for small wildlife and birds to nest. There are not as many limbs on the bottom of the trunk, but this is one of the fast growing shade trees that has a wide canopy with leaves that are 4 to 9 inches long and drop heavily throughout the fall until winter. The roots of the tree are shallow, but they will spread laterally as wide as the expanse of the canopy. The American Sycamore flowers in the spring, and then produces seed pods that are one-inch in diameter. These seed pods will drop during the late summer and fall months. With fast growing deciduous shade trees like the American Sycamore, any homeowner will be kept busy cleaning up huge amounts of bark, large leaves, seeds the size of ping-pong balls, and animal nests throughout the year.  

Bradford Pear (Pyrus calleryana)

Northeast, Midwest (Zones 5-9)

Bradford Pear

The Bradford Pear is a fast-growing ornamental tree that the U.S. Department of Agriculture introduced in the 1960s as a small fast growing shade trees option, but is now thought of as an invasive species of tree and far from the best fast growing shade trees. The Bradford Pear can quickly grow to 30’ – 40’ tall, however, its weak branch structure often causes it to split apart within its first twenty years – causing branches to fall on a house or car if it’s planted too close to anything. The Bradford Pear flowers in the spring with large, showy blossoms, before its leaves come out, which are reported to have a strong and unpleasant odor. The leaves are thick and shiny, about two to three inches long and drop in the fall after they turn a deep red. The inedible fruits of the tree are about a half an inch in diameter. Birds will take them, usually spreading the seeds as they go, although the seeds will not produce any fast growing shade trees. Along with the large blossoms and the heavy leaves, though, these woody, berry-like fruits become another mess to deal with. That is, when a homeowner isn’t cleaning up the damage from the splintered-off tree branches.

Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus)

Northeast, Midwest (Zones 3-8)

Eastern White Pine

The Eastern White Pine tree is designated as the tallest tree in North America of the fast growing evergreen shade trees. It grows about 4.5’ annually in its first 8-20 years and then slows down as it reaches its final height of 80’-150.’ However, in the wild, it has been documented to grow 188’ tall with a circumference of 10’-16’ and live to be 200 years old. The canopy spread of an Eastern White Pine can be 20’- 40’ in diameter, which is quite large for any backyard. The needles of this pine tree are 2-5” long and remain a bluish-green, staying on the tree for about 18 months until they yellow and drop. These fast growing shade trees have both male and female flowers (cones). The male flowers have scales that overlap and open when they begin releasing pollen. The female cones can grow up to 8” long with a 1” diameter. These cones will also disperse seeds every 3-5 years. Hundreds of seeds from each cone can be expected, as well as plenty of pollen from the male flowers. Then, when you add in continuous sap production and the pine needles falling from a 50’ or taller pine tree, there will be a lot of clean-up.    

Empress Tree (Paulownia tomentosa)

Southeast (Zones 6-9)

Empress Tree

The Empress tree is one of the fast growing shade trees that is primarily known for its large blossoms. It will grow to 40’- 80’ tall and has large, heart-shaped leaves which do not turn color in the fall. Its rapid growth is due to the fact that it can use a process known as C4 carbon fixation to photosynthesize faster than other trees. This means it can grow up to 15’ in one year, taking nutrients from other plants and trees around it, which makes it an incredibly invasive tree. The edible and fragrant flowers it produces are about 2” long and come out in the spring before the leaves, which are 5-12” long. The seeds, however, are what will become the real problem. The seed capsules of the Empress tree follow the falling of the flowers and start as sticky green pods which mature into a ripe brown in the fall. This is when they split open to release winged seeds that are dispersed by wind and water movement. One tree can produce up to 20 million seeds per year. Between flowers, leaves, and flying seeds, it quickly becomes the opposite of low maintenance fast growing shade trees.

Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)

Northeast, Midwest, West (Zones 3-9)

Hackberry Tree

The Hackberry tree is one of the fast growing shade trees that quickly grows between 40’-70’ tall, with a canopy that spreads 50’ – 60.’ It is a popular choice for landscaping since it is one of the fast growing drought resistant shade trees – usually climbing about 13” to 24” per year. Its leaves are shaped like spearheads and are about 2”- 4” long and about 2” wide. The fruit of the Hackberry ripens in the fall and stays on the tree for the winter. This is why the Hackberry tree is very popular with winter birds and other winter foragers. The Hackberry also produces many shoots from one limb, making it appear as if the tree is growing “brooms” in the upper canopy. These thick growths, which multiply throughout the expansive canopy, will die back in the winter and fall out of the tree. So, along with the many flowers in the spring, the large leaves that come down in the fall, branches falling in the winter, and thousands of nut-sized, edible berries to attract wildlife, this is a tree to think about before planting if you are looking for clean fast growing shade trees.

Lombardy Poplar (Populus nigra)

Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Southwest, West (Zones 3-9)

Lombardy Poplar

The Lombardy Poplar (black poplar) is a species of the cottonwood poplar which many people plant in rows as a fast-growing privacy wall. Fast-growing meaning these trees can grow as much as 6’ per year. They will reach 40’-50’ tall in a relatively short amount of time, but with only a diameter of 10’-15.’ This is because the branches grow from the very bottom of the trunk and since they grow almost straight up, they provide a column of vegetation which acts as a natural barrier and one of the fast growing shade trees for small yards. And if you live out west, these are fast growing shade trees for desert climate. Lombardy trees, however, continually drop leaves and twigs, which have to be cleaned up weekly. The roots of the tree will clog any nearby pipes and will also lift sidewalks and invade lawns very quickly. The Lombard Poplar female trees produce masses of seeds by late summer, which are surrounded by white cottony hairs that help the seeds blow everywhere. Tree canker is also common, so these trees have a lifespan of about 10-15 years. Just long enough to reach a height where the winds can carry twigs, leaves, and cotton fluff into any rain gutter.  

Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum)

Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, West (Zones 3-9)

Silver Maple

While the Silver Maple is one of the top fast growing shade trees planted across North America, it is the least recommended of the fast growing maple shade trees to plant by forest services. It’s a homebuilders’ trick to landscape with Silver Maples because they establish easily and grow 3’ per year, giving the impression that soil around the home is fertile, when in fact this tree can grow under almost any condition in North America. As well the roots of this tree will grow well beyond its canopy – and above ground – making it hard to grow a lawn and harmful to underground pipes. Homeowners who initially love the heartiness of the Silver Maple become concerned as it reaches its full height of 100’ and its canopy spread of 60.’ Then the leaves and “helicopter” seeds begin to drop. A mature Silver Maple can drop thousands of samaras (aerodynamic seeds), which will carpet the ground under them, and have to be continually raked. (Most animals will not eat them.) The main problem, though, is that because these seeds are airborne and about 2” inches long, they mainly fly right into gutters, winding up in downspouts, effectively clogging them almost immediately. 

Thornless Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos)

Midwest, West, Southwest, Southeast (Zones 4-10)

Thornless Honeylocust

The Thornless Honeylocust is one of the pretty, fast growing deciduous shade trees prized for its lacy leaves and fragrant spring flowers. It is also one of the fast growing drought tolerant shade trees. As a fast-grower (24” per year), however, it is an invasive species and can take over a lawn quickly. Although it will grow to a height of 60’-70’ and have a matching canopy spread of 60’-70’ feet, it is actually a member of the pea family. It turns a showy yellow in the fall, with pinnately and even bi-pinnately compound leaves, making it seem like one of the best shade trees that grow fast. However, these leaves are approximately 8” long and made up of 8-18 leaflets per leaf, which are the kinds of compound leaves that get messy when they fall.  As well, the Thornless Honeylocust produces dark brown seed pods that can be eaten by animals. These pods are flat and curling, usually about 1” wide by 7” long and drop in the fall along with the leaves. And as these fast growing shade trees climb past the top of your house, the main problem (between the seed pods and the extraordinary amount of miniature leaflets), will be continually clearing your gutters of their debris.  

Weeping Willow (Salix babylonica)

Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Southwest (Zones 6-8)

Weeping Willow

The Weeping Willow is one of the fast growing shade tolerant trees that has a short lifespan, only living 40-75 years. In that time, it will grow to be between 40’- 50’ tall with an equally large canopy spread. Since it grows at about 24” per year, it can reach an overall size of 30’ x 30’ in 15 years. The roots will spread just as wide, so weeping willows need to be planted far from any underground lines or pipes – especially your neighbors. So the Weeping Willow is the exact opposite of fast growing shade trees with non invasive roots. The leaves of the weeping willow are lance-shaped and grow 3 – 6” long. They turn yellow in the late fall before they drop, which takes them a while because on a larger tree there will be an endless supply of them. Weeping willows also constantly drop twigs and every once in a while a whole dead limb. To help prevent this, professional pruning of this massive tree is advised. More importantly though, is if these fast growing shade trees are planted anywhere near a house, the rain gutters will be jam-packed with Weeping Willow leaves from October through December.

Chapter Four: The Importance of Having Gutter Guards

As you can see, the fast growing shade trees you plant in your yard will eventually and directly affect your house. While this may or may not mean roots that interfere with your sidewalk or underground lines, these trees will endlessly fill your rain gutters and downspouts with their constant discards of leaves, limbs, seeds, and debris from the animals and pests they attract. Our list of the best shade trees will result in less debris than other tree options.  Nonetheless, even the best shade tree options will shed debris and likely in your gutters.

Since you will get tired of cleaning the gutters yourself at least three times a year (even with all the gutter-cleaning gadgets on the market today), you may think of removing these fast growing shade trees. This is rarely an option, though, as you and your family have grown too emotionally attached to these trees over the years. 

Your only other options are to hire someone to clean your gutters – or to get gutter guards. And if you’ve tried (and failed) with gutter covers from the home improvement center – and don’t want to keep shelling out money for a gutter cleaning service – let’s look at how MasterShield gutter guards can solve the specific problems that these beloved trees cause.   

The Best Gutter Guards for Fast Growing Shade Trees

As you can see, there are several different kinds of problems with having fast growing shade trees. Each one will clog your gutter differently:

  • Large Leaves
  • Oak Trees
  • Maple Trees
  • Pine Needles
  • Fallen Twigs
  • Loose Bark
  • Small, compound leaves
  • Sap
  • Flying seeds
  • Small Hard Fruits
  • Bird & Animal Debris & Nests

Which means that you need gutter guards what will protect against every different kind of shade trees droppings. This is because while you may have several different kinds of fast growing shade trees yourself, your neighbors will have even more varieties of fast growing shade trees with dropping of their own. 

And Mother Nature has designed this tree litter (seeds, fruits, twigs, and leaves) to travel through the air, water, and by way of birds, quite aggressively. So the first place any of this debris will wind up is in your gutters as it makes its way into your downspouts. 

The Best Gutter Guards for Pine Needles, Small Leaves, and Flying Seeds 

Gutter Guards for NeedlesSeeds, pine needles, and spear-shaped leaves are narrow enough to follow rainwater wherever it goes. So to start with, our gutter covers are installed to follow the same pitch as your roof. Which means that they shed seeds, pine needles, and small leaves very efficiently – as the wind flow forces smaller-sized debris down you roof and right over the gutter guards.

MasterShield copper gutter guards also have no visible openings – keeping seeds, narrow leaves, and pine needles out of your gutters permanently. (If the gutter covers you’re considering have any size holes in them, seeds and pine needles will either slide right into the gutter below or get stuck in the holes of the cover.)

And as added protection, the MasterShield micromesh filter simply won’t allow small debris into your rain gutters. Our gutter guards use a surgical-grade stainless steel filtering membrane that keeps out anything larger than half the width of a single strand of hair. This top-quality, surgical-grade, stainless steel (also known as marine or 316 grade), will simply not let pine needles and other micro debris from fast growing shade trees into your gutters.

The Best Gutter Guards for Sap and Bird Droppings

If your gutter is directly under fast growing shade trees like sweet gum trees or pine trees that produce sap, our MasterShield gutter guard system will stop this sap from adhering to your gutters and clogging them. If you’ve ever had the sap from a tree start mixing with burr balls or pine needles and then adhere to your gutter, you know what we are talking about. 

MasterShield’s copper gutter guards work to keep sap from sticking to your gutters because of our exclusive copper technology that weaves 99.9% pure copper wire into our 316 stainless steel micro-mesh filter. This ground-breaking micromesh works to keep your gutters free not only from organisms like algae and moss but also from oils and tree sap that come from your fast growing shade trees.

If you notice sap on your roof, you can simply take a hose with a hand sprayer to clean MasterShield gutter guards of the excess sap build-up, which you can do from the safety of the ground.  Just by spraying the water up onto your roof, you’ll start to water down any thick drops of sap that might be on the micromesh system – which will help it do its work to keep your gutters free from fast growing shade trees litter. 

The Best Gutter Guards for Large Leaves, Twigs, and Hard Fruits

Sweet Gum Trees Clogging GutterBecause MasterShield gutter guards are pitched with the slope of your roof, and there are no holes where larger debris from fast growing shade trees can fall into, larger debris ceases to be a problem. In fact, with the way the gutter guards are installed, much of this larger debris from shade trees will be blown off before it becomes part of a sap ball of tree litter. 

Even if there is some debris that stays behind (which every once in a while, there will be), it is very easy to remove it. Now is the time when something like a telescopic gutter brush will work to get rid of larger tree litter. 

A telescopic gutter brush is just an angled brush that is shaped to fit into your gutters and is attached to an extension pole which reaches up to the roof. Using a telescopic gutter brush takes very little effort and time to brush away large debris from the top of the MasterShield gutter guards. This can be accomplished from the ground as well, so there is no need to get up on a ladder to maintain free-flowing gutters ever again.  

MasterShield Gutter Protection

As you can see, MasterShield’s multi-patented micromesh filter provides the best gutter protection on the market keeping your gutter guards and gutters debris free.