Nothing beats standing under a huge tree and staring up into it's seemingly never ending branches, enjoying it's shade on a hot day or watching the wildlife community that calls the tree home. A towering tree can invoke a sense of aw you just won't get from a shrub and perennial garden. However, large trees should be used sparingly in small yards and planting spots should be chosen carefully to allow for the mature shape and size of the tree. It might be a while before your tree is a giant but it will be enjoyed for generations. Here are a few options for large trees that thrive in Michigan's climate.
1. American Beech
Beech trees are unmistakable because of their smooth gray bark. These trees provide an abundance of shade when full grown but can also tolerate a fair amount of shade when their young. Most American Beech trees will reach 80 - 100 ft in height but can grow up to 120 ft in favorable conditions.
2. Norway Spruce
The Norway Spruce is a fast growing, attractive evergreen with drooping foliage on bowed branches. In full sun, Norway Spruce makes a thick screen. It works well as a street barrier or a back drop for the back of a property. They quickly grow to 60 ft tall but can eventually reach 100 - 150 ft.
3. Tulip Tree
Tulip Trees are tall, thin trees which are great for small yards or street trees. They have large showy flowers in spring and interesting and recognizable leaves. They grow to be 70 - 100 ft tall but can occasionally grow taller. Even a very tall Tulip Tree won't grow more than 50 ft wide, letting it fit into spots other trees will overgrow.
4. White Pine
The state tree, the Eastern White Pine, has a presence that can't be matched. It has a natural look and when grown in a group, will eventually lose it's lower branches but have a green roof that creates a "room effect". Most white pines will reach 100 ft but can grow up to 150 ft.
5. White Oak
Last but not least, the White Oak is the grandfather of Michigan shade trees, They grow slowly so the planter will never be able to to appreciate their full glory. What they lack in speed, they make up for with their tremendous size. White Oaks are strong trees with huge trunks. They reach 70 - 100 ft tall and wide with an attractive shape can be admired as much in the winter as it can in the summer.