Drought/heat tolerant shade tree


Hello, what would you suggest as a drought and heat tolerant tree to provide shade to 2nd story of south facing house. Frontage 40′ wide and about about 40-50′ from street to house. Thank you, Debbie Speyer


Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners about a drought and heat tolerant shade tree for your garden. It is important to select a tree that will thrive in the conditions on your property. Since your new tree will be south-facing and you are looking for a tree that will provide shade, I’m assuming that the planting site is full sun (at least 6 hours of direct sun daily). Is the soil heavy clay, sandy, loam ? Does water tend to run off, or does it drain quickly ? Is the site windy or sheltered ? Depending on where you are in the Toronto area, your plant hardiness zone is probably somewhere from 6A – 7A. It sounds like you are looking for a tree that is at least 25’ tall – what is the upper end of the height range ? Deciduous (so no leaves in the winter) or evergreen (leaves all year) ? You will also need to consider the needs (light, moisture) of any other plants that will be shaded by the new tree, and this may have a bearing for example on the mature width that you are looking for.

It’s difficult to provide specific recommendations without more details, but below is some information that will hopefully be helpful as you begin your search.

Landscape Ontario has list of trees for urban landscapes. Almost all of these trees are drought tolerant. Note that this list is a bit dated since it includes Norway maple and Amur maple, both of which are now considered to be invasive species in Ontario. This list is here.

Halton Region has a list of Native & Drought Tolerant Plant Selections. Note that there is some overlap with Landscape Ontario list. The Halton Region list is here.

The University of Illinois website has a search capability so that you can select trees by size, tolerance, exposure and use. Note that this is a US site, so the plant hardiness zones are for the US. Add 1 to the US hardiness zone to get the Canadian hardiness zone. This website is here.

The website for The Morton Arboretum is a great resource. It also has a search capability, with many filters including tree and environment attributes. Note that this is also a US site, with US plant hardiness zones, as above. This website is here.

Best of luck in your search for your new tree !

Aug 18, 2022