Central U.S. Gardening – Growing Shade Trees In The Ohio Valley

By: Laura Miller

The broad canopy of a beautiful shade tree lends a certain romance to the landscape. Shade trees provide homeowners with comfortable areas of the yard for outdoor entertaining, snoozing in a hammock, or relaxing with a good book and refreshing glass of lemonade. Additionally, deciduous shade trees can lower home cooling costs in the summer and heating bills in the winter.

Tips for Choosing a Shade Tree

Whether you’re planting shade trees for Central U.S. or Ohio Valley gardening, local plant shops and nurseries are a handy source for trees suitable for your climate. While the criteria gardeners use when choosing a shade tree is similar to other types of gardening plants, it’s important to remember that a tree is a long-term landscaping investment.

When selecting a shade tree for Ohio Valley areas or Central U.S. gardening, consider how fast it will grow and how long it will live as well as its hardiness, sunlight, and soil requirements. Here are some other qualities to keep in mind:

  • Subterranean growth space – Tree roots can crack building foundations, buckle pavement, and clog septic or sewer lines. Choose trees with less invasive roots when planting close to these structures.
  • Disease resistance – Caring for pest ridden or diseased trees is time consuming and expensive. Choose healthy trees which will remain healthy in your locale.
  • Fruits and seeds – While trees provide a wonderful source of nutrients and shelter for many small birds and animals, homeowners may not enjoy cleaning up acorns and weeding maple seedlings from flowerbeds.
  • Maintenance – Fast growing trees will provide satisfactory shade sooner than slower growing species, but the former requires more maintenance. Additionally, trees with softer wood are more prone to storm damage which can destroy property and sever overhead utility lines.

Central U.S. and Ohio Valley Shade Trees

Choosing a shade tree that is not only right for you but also for that special area in the yard often requires a bit of research. There are many species suitable for the Central U.S. and Ohio Valley. Shade trees which thrive in USDA hardiness zones 4 to 8 include:


  • Norway Maple (Acer platanoides)
  • Paperbark Maple (Acer griseum)
  • Red Maple (Acer rubrum)
  • Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum)


  • Nutall (Quercus nuallii)
  • Pin oak (Quercus palustris)
  • Red oak (Quercus rubra)
  • Scarlet oak (Quercus coccinea)
  • White oak (Quercus alba)


  • Grey Birch (Betula populifolia)
  • Japanese White (Betula platyphylla)
  • Paper (Betula papyrifera)
  • River (Betula nigra)
  • Silver (Betula pendula)


  • Bitternut (Carya cordiformis)
  • Mockernut (Carya tomentosa)
  • Pignut (Carya glabra)
  • Shagbark (Carya ovata)
  • Shellbark (Carya laciniosa)

A few others include American sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua), honey locust (Gleditsia triacanthos), and weeping willow (Salix alba).

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Our History

Acorn Farms Inc was founded in 1976 as a Central Ohio wholesale nursery and tree farm on a 80 acre tract in the Alum Creek Valley of Central Ohio. Acorn Farms continues to grow and expand offering over 800 acres of the highest quality shade and ornamental trees and 45 acres of container stock including wholesale shrubs, perennials, annuals, succulents, poinsettias, mums, bulbs, and seasonal plants. Sales are generated by both on and off site staff, with truck delivery to the US East Coast including New York, Long Island, New England, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware, and to the Midwest areas of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Michigan, Kentucky, Virginia, W. Virginia, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa.

We offer a vast selection of the highest quality plant material including hardy, native plants and unique, hard to find ornamentals. Our timely service, whether you are close or far away, has afforded us the opportunity to expand rapidly without compromising quality to become a leading producer of wholesale nursery stock across the US.

Stay Up-To-Date

NEW Online Shop!

A New Way to Shop Online!

Our new Shop is open to our current wholesale customers! To view pricing and shop online you will need to REGISTER for the new secure portal. If you had a Members Area login, it will no longer work here. Due to our upgrade, you will need to REGISTER here. Registration takes only a few minutes. Because we need to verify your account with us, it takes a human to do this so if we are at lunch or closed, it may take a bit longer, but we will email you once you are activated.

NOTE: Existing customers DO NOT fill out another Customer Application. You just need to REGISTER for the Online Shop if you want to order online and get pricing online.

If you are not yet an Acorn Farms customer, find out how to become one.

Hours & Location

Mon-Fri: 8:00 am-4:30 pm
Sat: 8:00 am - 11:30 am
Only authorized landscape personnel with a list of materials needed will be allowed on property. You are not permitted to browse the premises, and clients and/or family members will not be permitted.

- Dec 18 (noon) - Jan 4, 2021
- May 31
- July 4
- Sept 6
- Nov 25-26

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Ohio enjoys a four-season climate, which ensures the state has much rainfall throughout most of the year, notes the Touring Ohio website. The state receives roughly 39 inches of rainfall annually, which is somewhat more than even Seattle. Northwest Ohio has slightly less rain than Southwest Ohio. Most of the state falls within Hardiness Zones 5 and 6. Zone 5A has minimum winter temperatures as low as minus 10 to minus15 degrees F, while Zone 6B, the warmest region, has minimum temperatures of 0 to minus 5 degrees F.

  • There are more than 40 varieties of vegetables that can grow in Ohio.
  • The state receives roughly 39 inches of rainfall annually, which is somewhat more than even Seattle.

Watch the video: How to Identify a Tree By Leaf, Bark and Fruit. Wood and Lumber Identification for Woodworking

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