Shade trees do not all necessarily shed their leaves in the fall (deciduous), but some shade trees are evergreen, and others can be classified as flowering trees. The fact that shade trees can cool temperatures in the surrounding landscape and cool off houses during the heat of the summer is well known. Some evergreen trees also provide shade all year, a factor that may be undesirable in some cases during hard winter freezes, when an evergreen shade tree may block off the heat rays from the sun that might melt snow and ice from a house roof or prevent infra-red light from warming rooms inside the house. Extreme southern states home owners in the United States may prefer shade on homes and buildings year round, and such evergreen shade trees as Live Oak tree, Quercus virginiana; Laurel Oak tree, Quercus laurifolia; and Darlington Oak trees,Quercus hemisphaerica, would be desirable for planting near houses.

Pine trees are also valuable shade trees for houses and landscape gardens. Such perennial shrubs as Camellia japonica and azalea shrubs must have year round shade for proper flowering. The camellia shrub and the azalea plant will survive only on rare occasions if planted in the full sun. The dogwood and redbud trees benefit from pine tree shade where they flower abundantly. The cherry laurel tree, Laurocerasus caroliniana Ait, is an evergreen shade tree that is covered with fragrant white flower clusters in March. The cherry laurel tree is a fast growing tree, sometimes growing 6 feet per year. Eucalyptus trees, Eucalyptus cinerea, are evergreen shade trees, but the ‘Silver Dollar’ eucalyptus tree usually is limited to planting in the warm temperatures of zones 8-11. The exceptional menthol fragrance of all parts of the eucalyptus tree makes it especially desirable where smog and other air pollution is problematic. The loblolly bay tree, Gordonia lasianthus, is often called the loblolly bay magnolia tree, and the flower fragrance, white color, and form look like a miniature flower bloom of the magnolia.

The southern magnolia tree, Magnolia grandiflora, is an outstanding shade tree known for the gigantic 1 foot wide fragrant white flowers during the summer and the glowing green waxy magnolia leaves that provide dense shade. Because of the dense shade and the mats of succulent roots that rise to the ground surface (like cypress tree roots), few shrubs or perennials can be successfully planted and grown underneath the Magnolia grandiflora trees. Other shade trees that could also qualify as beautiful flowering trees are black locust, Robinia pseudoacacia, shade trees that are covered with fragrant white flower clusters-just following the appearance of the fern-like, light green leaves. The black locust trees leaf color changes to bright yellow in the fall, and the wood has been used as waterproofed split-rail fencing for centuries. The empress shade tree, Paulownia tomentosa, (Blue Dragon Tree, also Princess Tree) is also a flowering tree that produces gigantic blue-purple flower clusters triangular in shape. The empress tree is known as an extremely fast growing shade tree that has been promoted by former President Jimmy Carter. The wood is valued as very strong and light weight; desirable in the Far East for furniture manufacture and wood carving.