Why Plant A Shade Tree?

If you are thinking of planting a shade tree this fall, you should know that it is the absolute best time of the year to plant one. If you aren’t thinking of planting a shade tree this fall, we think it’s time to let you know why you should consider it. Shade trees are magnificent specimens that offer great benefits to those of us living here in San Antonio.

  • They beautify our environment and add value to our properties
  • They replenish our ecosystem and provide a safe habit for wildlife
  • They help save on energy use in our homes by providing us well-needed shade from the harsh Texas sun, especially when planted on the west side of homes.

Rainbow Gardens has a list of our favorite shade trees that we recommend for the San Antonio area. These are a selection of shade trees that are either native to Texas or well adapted to our soil and climate. Choosing from the shade trees on this list, or sticking to native and other well adapted varieties, will give you the best success in your endeavor to plant a shade tree.

9 Shade Tree Selections for San Antonio

  1. Monterrey Oak / Mexican White Oak (life expectancy 100-500 years)
  2. Live Oak (life expectancy 100-500 years)
  3. Texas Red Oak (life expectancy 75-100 years)
  4. Texas Ash (life expectancy 75-100)
  5. Cedar Elm (life expectancy 75-100 years)
  6. Montezuma Cypress (life expectancy 500-1000 years)
  7. Bald Cypress (life expectancy 500-1000 years)
  8. Lacey Oak (life expectancy 100-150 years)
  9. Chinquapin Oak (life expectancy 100-500)
A Live Oak shade tree is a great, long-living tree for San Antonio.

While you can amend soil to plant perennials and annuals that aren’t necessarily suited to our soil type, it is not recommended attempt to plant trees that aren’t suited for our climate or soil type. A shade tree’s root system is very extensive and it would be nearly impossible to amend the soil enough to allow a shade tree not suited for our soil and climate to thrive, or in some cases, even survive.

The city of San Antonio has different incentive programs to encourage residents to plant trees and drought tolerant plants. Rainbow Gardens are proud partners in these programs and always do our best to remain well stocked in the selections they suggest. See our City Sponsored Programs page for info on all these amazing programs.

To learn how to plant a shade tree properly, please see our Tree and Shrub Planting Guide

A quick insider tip: We often hear the question, “What is your fastest growing shade tree?”, and honestly, we almost never want to answer that question. The reason being, almost all fast-growing trees are short-lived trees. Why would you want to plant something that right about the time you’d want to be hanging your hammock from it, is right about the time that you might have to cut it down due to lack of vitality.

At Rainbow Gardens we strongly urge you to opt for native trees or shade trees that are well adapted to our soil and climate. We offer you the best chance at success by providing these selections of shade trees and the guidance for how to plant and maintain them. By following our advice, we have confidence that both you and your shade tree choices will be happy.

Beautiful shade trees take time to develop and grow strong roots in order to withstand weather and any of the elements that could come along with it. The wait is worth it, we promise you!


~The Happy Gardener, Lisa Mulroy