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What Trees Will Grow in the Shade?

Updated July 19, 2017

Many species of trees can flourish in the shade. Most of these types tolerate partial shade and need just a little direct sunlight from time to time. Other varieties will grow with no direct sunlight at all.

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Levels of Shade

Partial shade occurs when sunlight is blocked for most of the day, but reaches the tree for 2 to 4 hours per day. Full shade occurs when less than 2 hours of direct sunlight reaches the tree. In full shade there may be some reflected light from light or bright surfaces nearby, even if no direct sun reaches the ground.

Evergreens in Partial Shade

According to the Arbor Day Foundation, many species of fir and pine trees tolerate partial shade including Douglas Fir, Noble Fir, White Pine and Lodgepole Pine. Other evergreen trees that will grow in partial shade include American Holly, Coast Redwood, Purple Rhododendron, Black Hills Spruce, and Atlas Cedar.

Deciduous in Partial Shade

Various birch, maple and oak varieties tolerate partial shade including Paper Birch, Silver Birch, Sugar Maple, Silver Maple, White Oak and Water Oak. Weeping Willow also tolerates partial shade, as do Ginkgo, Japanese Flowering Cherry and Witchhazel, among other deciduous trees.

Evergreens in Full Shade

Boxwood will tolerate full shade.

Deciduous in Full Shade

Dogwood and Japanese Maple thrive in full shade.

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