Programs

We offer expertise, training, tools, and advice so that we may empower our community to plant, protect, and learn about trees.

Sacramento Shade Tree List

The following trees are available through our partnership with Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD). The Sacramento Shade Program provides free shade trees for homes in Sacramento County.

All trees on our list are deciduous, meaning they lose their leaves in the fall, which helps keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. These trees have been selected by our expert staff and reviewed by our Technical Advisory Committee to assure that they are suited to our climate and growing conditions.

You can also review our planting guidelines to learn more about selecting the right tree for your space. 

**Please note that certain trees may not be available at all times.  

Large Trees

Big trees provide big benefits! These large trees will grow to 46 feet or taller and will provide maximum shade. Click on the tree name for more detailed information and pictures. 

Red Maple
  • Moderate to heavy water user
  • Beautiful fall color including yellow and orange but usually red
  • Grows fairly quickly
Columnar Red Maple
  • Showy, red flowers bloom in spring
  • Leaves turn red in fall
  • Columnar shape is great for narrow spaces
River Birch
  • Heavy water user
  • Attractive, papery bark and a semi-weeping shape
  • Deep green leaves turn yellow in the fall
European Hackberry
  • Produces small, dark purple fruit that attracts birds
  • Yellow fall color
  • Round shape when mature
Autumn Gold Ginkgo
  • Interesting, triangular leaves turn bright yellow in fall
  • This male variety does not produce fruit
  • Grows slowly when young
London Plane
  • Attractive, peeling bark with cream and taupe colors
  • Requires deep watering to avoid surface roots
  • Small, 1" seed balls turn brown and fuzzy before falling in winter
California Sycamore*
  • Very adaptable and can be a low water user once established
  • Native to California central valley
  • Grows very quickly
Chestnut-leaf Oak
  • Low water user once established
  • Rounded shape and can grow to 80 feet tall
  • Yellow fall color
Scarlet Oak
  • Shiny green leaves turn bright scarlet in the fall and often hang on through the winter
  • Round shape when mature
  • Starts producing acorns at 20 years of age
Blue Oak*
  • Very low water user once established and native to the Sacramento area
  • Blueish-green leaves
  • Does not survive in watered lawns
Valley Oak*
  • Low water user once established
  • Native to California central valley
  • Sculptural, majestic form when mature, often with picturesquely twisted limbs
Bur Oak
  • Large acorns up to 2" long when mature
  • Large, beautiful, lobed leaves with bronze fall color
  • Tolerates urban growing conditions
Willow Oak
  • Long, slender leaves turn burgundy, orange, or yellow in fall
  • Starts producing small, round acorns at 20 years of age
  • Tolerates hardpan and poorly draining soil
Red Oak
  • Various fall color including dark red, rusty, or orange
  • Grows quickly and is adaptable to many soil types
  • Susceptible to aphids and can be sappy
Shumard Oak
  • Round shape when mature with red or orange fall color
  • Tolerates clay soil and poor drainage better than many trees
  • More resistant to aphids than red oak and scarlet oak
American Linden
  • Pyramidal to oval shape
  • Fragrant flowers bloom in spring
  • Can be susceptible to aphids 
Mushashino Columnar Zelkova
  • Low water user once established
  • Leaves turn yellow or rusty orange in the fall
  • Grows quickly
Village Green Zelkova
  • Low water user once established
  • Rounded vase-like shape
  • Leaves turn rusty red to bronze in fall
Sawleaf Zelkova
  • Large, spreading branches creates an umbrella-like shape
  • Small leaves turn yellow or burgundy in fall
  • Very low litter

Medium Trees

A medium sized tree will grow between 26 and 45 feet tall, depending on the variety. Learn more about the medium trees we can offer your yard by clicking on the tree name.

Trident Maple
  • Leaves have 3 pointed lobes, resembling a trident, and turn orange to red in fall
  • Has attractive, flaky bark and produces winged seeds
  • Dense and round shape
Hedge Maple
  • Rounded, dense canopy shape
  • Produces winged seeds and leaves turn yellow in fall
  • Tolerates many soils
Shantung Maple
  • Low water user once established
  • Glossy, green leaves turn red, orange, or yellow in fall
  • Small, yellow flowers in spring
Japanese White Birch
  • Heavy water user
  • Solid white bark and yellow fall color
  • Grows very quickly
European Hornbeam
  • Oval to pyramidal shape
  • Dense canopy
  • Leaves can get brown tips in summer
Pink Dawn Chitalpa
  • Low water user once established
  • Slender, bright green leaves
  • Large clusters of trumpet-shaped pink flowers attract pollinators
Chinese Flame Tree
  • Low water user once established
  • Showy, yellow flower bloom in summer
  • Pink, papery seed pods in fall
Goldenrain Tree
  • Low water user once established
  • Yellow flowers bloom in summer
  • Copper-colored seed pods in fall
Saucer Magnolia - temporarily unavailable
  • Round canopy shape
  • Fragrant, saucer-shaped flowers
  • Prefers well draining soils
Tupelo (Sour Gum)
  • Heavy water user
  • Pyramidal shape with brilliant red fall color (sometimes orange)
  • Small, black seeds are attractive to birds
Chinese Pistache
  • Very showy fall color including orange, scarlet, crimson and yellow
  • Females produce clusters of small, pink seeds
  • Not for very wet areas with poorly draining soil
Capital Pear
  • Requires extensive pruning maintenance when young
  • White flowers bloom in spring and can have a foul smell
  • Fits well in a narrow spaces and grows quickly
Chanticleer Pear
  • Requires extensive pruning maintenance when young
  • White flowers bloom in spring and can have a foul smell
  • Fits well in a narrow spaces  and grows quickly
Little Leaf Linden
  • Heart shaped leaves turn yellow in fall
  • Cream colored flowers smell like honey and attract bees
  • Flowers are also sometimes used for tea

Small Trees

Have a small space but still need some shade? Small trees can make a big difference too! Small trees can grow up to 25 feet tall, depending on the variety. Find the right one for you by clicking the tree names below.

Japanese Maple
  • Prefers some shade and may have leaf scorching in summer
  • Leaves appear early in spring
  • Fall color can be orange or red
Eastern Redbud
  • Low water user once established
  • Heart shaped leaves turn yellow in fall
  • Purple-pink flowers bloom in spring
Chinese Fringe Tree
  • Low water user once established
  • Small white flowers bloom in spring
  • Planting two together can cause cross-pollination and fruit production that attracts birds
Washington Hawthorn
  • Produces attractive red berries in winter which attract birds
  • White flowers bloom in spring and and leaves turn orange in fall
  • Has thorns
Crape Myrtle
  • Flower clusters bloom in early summer and are available in a variety of colors
  • Does NOT require topping for flower production
  • May attract aphids
Japanese Crabapple
  • Light pink flowers bloom in spring
  • Leaves turn yellow in fall
  • Produces a small fruit
Prairifire Crabapple
  • Dark fuchsia flowers bloom in spring
  • Reddish green leaves turn orange or red in the fall
  • Produces a small fruit
Japanese Snowbell
  • Showy, white, bell-shaped flowers bloom in April
  • Leaves turn yellow in fall
  • Grows fairly slowly
Chaste Tree
  • Long-lasting lavender flowers bloom in summer
  • Attracts pollinators like bees and butterflies
  • Can be trained as a multi-stemmed shrub or small, round tree

 

* Indicates NATIVE species

 

Click here to see our Greenprint Tree Guide (.pdf), a resource to help you pick the right tree for the right place!


All of the trees in this guide were selected by tree experts for their beauty as well as their ability to thrive in our region. They were chosen based on their suitability for our climate, disease and pest resistence, soil tolerance, maintenance requirements, water usage, branch strength and longevity.

Here are a few of the beautiful trees we offer.