Northeast Shade Trees - Growing Shade Trees In Northeast Landscapes

Large Orange Leaved Shade Tree
(Image credit: leekris)

With its swathes of forest and old fashioned backyards, the northeast region of the United States is no stranger to towering shade trees. But that means there’s a lot of options to choose from. And if you’re looking to plant a standout specimen that will last for years to come, it’s important to choose correctly. Here are some of the very best northeast shade trees for landscapes from Maine to Pennsylvania. 

Shade Trees in the Northeast

The northeast is known for its outrageously beautiful autumn color, and the best northeast shade trees take full advantage of that. One of the finest and most common of these trees is the red maple. This tree can reach 70 feet (21 m.) in height, with a spread of up to 50 feet (15 m.). A North American native, it can thrive across the region and is one of the main trees responsible for that classic autumn foliage look. It is hardy in USDA zones 3-9. 

Red Trees

Other excellent northeast shade trees that exhibit red fall color include:

Orange Trees

If you’re looking for orange fall color instead, you could try the small but breathtaking Serviceberry, a North American native that can reach up to 20 feet (6 m.) in height. Its orange fall foliage is counterbalanced by its gorgeous, lilac-like spring flowers. It’s hardy in zones 3-7.

Some other great sources for orange foliage are:

Yellow Trees

If you want yellow foliage, consider a quaking aspen. Since it spreads by shooting up clones of itself, quaking aspen isn’t really a tree you can have just one of. But in the right conditions, a small grove can function like a beautiful single specimen. It is hardy in zones 1-7.

Best Shade Trees Northeast Region 

If you’re looking for New England shade trees that aren’t only known for fall color, consider a flowering dogwood. Hardy in zones 5-8, this tree can serve as a gorgeous springtime centerpiece.

Some more good options include:

Liz Baessler
Senior Editor

The only child of a horticulturist and an English teacher, Liz Baessler was destined to become a gardening editor. She has been with Gardening Know how since 2015, and a Senior Editor since 2020. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in English from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. After years of gardening in containers and community garden plots, she finally has a backyard of her own, which she is systematically filling with vegetables and flowers.