Trees for Dads

What is it that you think about when you consider your dad? I think about trees and hammocks. My dad was a woodworker and loved woods of all kinds, but especially ash. It was his favorite species to work with. In his later years, one of his favorite pastimes was to sleep in his hammock under our large silver maples. It was these things I think of the most when I think of my dad.


Generally, Father’s Day is a time to think about our dads, what they like, what they want, what they need. Instead of giving dad the day off like on Mother’s Day, we typically think of the next great BBQ grill or grilling tools, a good read or electronic device, or nice hammock under a beautiful shade tree. But what if your dad still has no shade tree?

This American Elm shades the tennis courts where my dad coached for over 30 years

Most homes have several shade trees scattered at random around the yard, often trying to shade the house from the blaring heat of the summer sun. But what of your Dad’s tree? It would be good of us to remember our Dad and plant him his own tree for his hammock or to shade the patio where he stands, grilling enough burgers and brats for the whole family. 


But what tree to plant? My dad would have loved an ash tree, but with the threat of emerald ash borer looming, something a little tougher would be nice. You will also want something fast growing, so he does not have to keep moving his hammock around the tree. The great American Elm comes first to my mind. The best new selection, ‘Princeton’, is resistant to Dutch Elm Disease and elm leaf beetles. The large, dark green leaves are tough and wind tolerant. The American Elm grows extremely fast, at 6 to 10 feet per year, but is not weak wooded, tending to bend in the winds. 

The American Elm grows fast and has large, dark green leaves

Another great shade tree for Dad is the male Kentucky Coffeetree, ‘Espresso’. Coffeetrees are quick growing at 3 to 5 feet per year, and are very tough trees. The leaves are pinnately compound, making fall cleanup easy. The fall color is yellow and they have little or now major pest problems.


Many would consider the American Linden to also be a great shade tree for dad. This native tree grows 4 to 6 feet per year, with large green leaves and flowers that are very attractive to bees and pollinators. The leathery leaves turn a brilliant yellow in the fall. If dad likes to whittle while he rests, he can cut off a branch of the linden also known as basswood, and get cutting.

The American Linden had bright green leaves

When picking your tree for your father, come out to Grimm’s Gardens for our large selection of shade trees. 


Happy planting!

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