Smart owners of private and public business properties understand the value of trees. They beautify and individualize buildings and parking lot areas. It also adds more oxygen into the environment, improves appearance, and prevents soil erosion during rain storms.
Shade trees are a vital component of a well-planned and well executed parking lot area in Virginia. You can choose from a wide variety of hardy and resilient shade trees.
When looking into what plants will best for Virginia, it’s important to consider climate zones. Most of Virginia is Zone 6 – Zone 7 with a little bit of Zones 5 and 8. Lynchburg, in particular, is within Zone 7A. Deciduous trees are usually good ones for this zone, they’re drought tolerant and can handle parking lot conditions easily.
In this article, we will highlight what many arborists consider to be Virginia’s top 5 parking lot shade trees.
Top 5 Shade Trees For Parking Lots
1. Black Oak
When they first pull into a parking lot on a hot summer day, the first thing many people look for is a shaded parking space. Oaks are the most traditional and well known shade tree. Strong and sturdy, oaks thrive and grow in just about any soil.
They are a hardy tree, and require only minimum maintenance. Black Oaks also do well in both city and rural settings, and live a long time. Oaks have a broad and bountiful shade footprint, so it is best to position them in strategically placed islands throughout the paved area. Doing so will help you to develop a picturesque and varied setting.
2. Red Maple
Maples are among the most beautiful shade trees available. Their leaves put on a gorgeous fall display full of fiery red and orange color. Red Maples are not only gorgeous, they are also very practical. Red Maples grow at an incredible rate of 3 to 5 feet per year.
They take root quickly and are highly resistant to insects and disease, offering hassle free maintenance. Red maples are not susceptible to damage from exhaust and city pollution, creating another big advantage for parking lots and paved areas.
3.London Plane Tree
The London Plane is an improved version of the American Sycamore. This shade tree offers delightful color shifts and interesting marbled, peeling bark through the seasons. London Planes are less messy than American Sycamores since they don’t drop seed pods.
London Planes thrive in all types of weather and do quite well in city settings. London Plane trees are also resistant to damage from exhaust and urban pollution.
4. American Hornbeam
A lovely shade tree of smaller stature, American Hornbeams are one of the best trees for sidewalk areas. They will help you avoid cracks in walkways and pavement. They also have a nice, open shape and can do well in the shade of other larger trees. In sunlight, they grow dense, thick foliage that offers plenty of shade.
Also called Ironwoods, their strong wood is often used for making tools, bowls, and dishes. In the autumn months they burst out in wonderful bright shades of red, orange and yellow, making Hornbeams a great compliment to the Red Maple.
5. Red Cedar
Red cedars are among the most reliable and useful trees available. They can grow and thrive just about anywhere in the country, Their hardy nature allows them handle extreme heat, and cold weather easily. They require little to no maintenance during the year.
Red Cedars are ideal border plantings to block out noise and shield against the wind. Their lush, deep green foliage, and classic upright, narrow pyramid shape allow them to be planted in virtually any area. They make great privacy trees, as well as shade trees.