Government of New Brunswick

Agdex No. 275.17

Choosing a shade tree for the home landscape requires planning and forethought. A tree should fit your needs now and in the future when the tree matures. Size is important, since a very large mature tree may shade the whole yard and dwarf a house on a small lot. There are many smaller trees available that would suit the location better. A tree of mature height and spread should never interfere with overhead power lines. The tree should also be adapted to the soil type in the area where it is planted.

A tree dominates a landscape so it should be attractive in all seasons. The branch structure, shape, foliage, texture and colour of the tree all provide different effects at different times during the year. Flowering and fruiting habits provide interesting effects in the garden also. Other important aspects in choosing a tree are hardiness and disease and pest resistance.



  • Acer ginnala (amur maple) zone 2b (9m) This hardy, dense, tree has an excellent scarlet fall foliage.
  • Amelanchier laevis (Alleghany serviceberry) zone 3b (9m) In early May billowy masses of white flowers are present, followed by tasty red berries in early summer.
  • Carpinus caroliniana (Bluebeech, Musclewood) zone 3b (10m) These slow growing trees have an orange to red fall colour and their grayish bark has an interesting muscular twist to it.
  • Cornus alternifolia (Alternate-leaf dogwood) zone 3b (6m) The dogwood is interesting in every season: it starts the season with small white flowers, followed by purple berries then orange to red fall foliage.
  • Eleagnus angustifolia (Russian Olive) zone 2b (10m) This tree bears fragrant, small yellow flowers, has attractive silvery-green foliage and grows well on infertile soil.
  • Malus spp. (Flowering crabapple) zones 2-5 (3-8m) Flowers of white, pink and red and fruit of yellow or red are some of the choices available with the many crabapple species. Disease resistant cultivars should be chosen.
  • Ostrya virginiana (Hop hornbeam) zone 3 (10m) A slow growing tree, the hop hornbeam, has yellow to orange fall colour and scaly bark.
  • Prunus maackii (Amur choke cherry) zone 2b (8m) The choke cherry has attractive white flowers, small black fruit and very handsome browninsh bark.
  • Sorbus spp. (Mountain ash) zone 3-5 (8-11m) The ashes have white flowers in late May followed by red fruit and excellent fall colour.
  • Syringa reticulata (Japanese tree lilac) zone 2 (8m) This tree has attractive bark and is especially impressive in June with its large creamy white flower clusters.



  • Acer platanoides (Norway maple) zone 5 (15-23m) These maples are densly branched, have a globe shaped crown and are quite fast growing. Several cultivars are available with summer leaf colours of varying shades of red.
  • Acer saccharum (Sugar maple) zone 4 (18-27m) The sugar maple is a slower growing, very sturdy tree with excellent fall colour.
  • Betula papyrifera (Paper birch) zone 2 (15-24) This fast growing tree has distinctive white bark beautiful both summer and winter and yellow fall foliage.
  • Fraxinus americana (White ash) zone 3b (15-22m) The ash is a fast growing tree with purplish fall foliage and is adapted to moist soils.
  • Phellodendron amurense (Amur corktree) zone 3 (10-15m) The corktree is attractive with its heavy textured bark, and a wide spreading form. The female tree produces small black berries.
  • Quercus rubra (Red Oak) (15-25) is one of the fastest growing oaks, it withstands transplanting well. Red oaks have very large dark green leaves and excellent red autumn colours.
  • Tilia cordata (Littleleaf linden) zone 3 (12-15) This linden grows in a broad pyramidal shape, it has small leaves and produces yellowish fragrant flowers in late June.