It’s getting hot out there! When you live in Central Florida, it’s necessary to plant shade trees to keep your home and property cool during the hot, humid summers. Not only will they allow you to chill in your backyard in the middle of the afternoon, but you’ll enjoy lower energy bills because the sun won’t be beating down on your roof.

Throw some shade on the Central Florida summer sun!

You can depend on the following shade trees to thrive in Orlando’s heat, humidity, and sandy soil. The best part is that each of these gorgeous and useful specimens is part of the Florida-friendly Landscaping™ Program!

Live Oak (Quercus virginiana)

This majestic shade tree is popular in Central Florida because of its ability to provide a substantial amount of shade with its lovely curving branches that combine to form a beautiful canopy.

Capable of living for 100 years, a live oak can reach a height of 60 feet with a spread of 100 feet. Known for their strength and ability withstand high winds, it’s important to prune them properly when they’re young, so the trunk and branches grow thick and sturdy. Fast growers, they must be planted in well-draining soil and receive plenty of water.

Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)

This flowering beauty can be found throughout Florida and is especially popular in the Central region. During the spring, it produces fragrant creamy white flowers that can span 12 inches in diameter!

Southern magnolias can grow up to 90 feet tall and love moist, acidic soil that’s well-draining. When considering where to plant it in your landscape, be sure to give this shade tree ample room grow.

Pro Tip: It’s vital to provide the right amount of water to shade trees when they are first planted to reduce transplanting stress and help them establish a strong root system. To accomplish this, it’s important to monitor your irrigation system on a regular basis to make sure it’s turning on and shutting off in accordance with the settings. If you’re not sure your system is running like it should, call us or complete our request service form and we’ll come take a look.

Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica)

These ornamental trees are drought tolerant and can be spotted growing throughout Central Florida. Crape myrtles come in a variety of colors, so finding one that suits your fancy will be easy!

Photo by Ako Tampo on Unsplash

Central Floridians that want to grow crape myrtles for shade should avoid the dwarf varieties. ‘Comanche’ or ‘Miami’ are the perfect size to prevent the afternoon sun from shining on porches, patios, and windows. ‘Comanche’ has gorgeous coral blooms and grows no taller than 20 feet while ‘Miami’ has dark pink flowers and reaches a height of 35 feet.

Shumard Oak (Quercus shumardii)

Shumard oaks are beloved in Central Florida because they provide shade for home energy savings as well as shelter and food for wildlife.

Shumard oaks can reach heights of 75 to 100 feet. In addition to providing ample shade, its leaves put on a show when the weather cools as they change to a rich shade of red. If you decide to plant this amazing specimen, get ready to welcome squirrels, deer, and other wildlife to your yard because they can’t resist the Shumard oak’s large acorns!

Sweet Acacia (Vachellia farnesiana)

This beautiful Florida native makes a great addition to any yard because it’s a medium sized shade tree that provides shelter and food for birds. It’s also deliciously aromatic! The scent of its yellow blossoms is so beloved that the flowers’ nectar is used to create perfumes throughout the world.

Growing just 15 to 20 feet tall, sweet acacia is ideal for shading porches and patios. It’s also a very easy tree to grow because it’s not susceptible to many pests and diseases and only needs watered once or twice a month once established. Sweet acacia’s only deterrent is its very sharp spines, so keep this in mind if you have children or pets.

A shade tree’s canopy is the remedy for Florida’s summer sun!    

As every Central Floridian knows, it’s nearly impossible to enjoy your backyard when scorching rays are saturating every inch of your landscape. Adding shade trees to your backyard also helps your lawn retain precious moisture, so it stays healthy while you’re saving money on your water and electric bills.

In addition to the shade trees mentioned above, there are several other types you may consider planting if you have a green thumb. For example, Red Bay is a Florida native that’s an excellent source of shade and is prized as a food source for swallowtail butterflies. However, Red Bay commonly falls victim to leaf spots, trunk cankers, and black mildew, so be prepared to battle these ailments if you choose to add this magnificent shade tree to your Central Florida landscape.

Remember to keep your Central Florida garden and landscape properly watered, and if you ever need assistance with sprinkler repair or irrigation in the Orlando area, we’re here to help!