Shade-tolerant pine or evergreen conifers survive better under shade than their shade-intolerant counterparts. While all trees try to absorb as much sunlight as they can, the secret to the survival of shade tolerant species lies in their ability to grow slowly under shady conditions and speed up once they acquire more sunlight. Shade-tolerant evergreens continue to provide some greenery after deciduous trees lose their foliage and enter winter dormancy.
The Golden Thread-Leaf Cypress thrives in partial shade in moist, well-drained, neutral to acidic soil. This tree is bright yellow in summer and golden in the winter. Allow for a 25-foot height and a 20-foot spread at maturity.
The Common Yew grows well in dry, shady areas in any soil from acid to alkaline in nature. The yew can reach a 50-foot height at maturity, with a 33-foot spread, but can be kept smaller with regular pruning. Yews have a dark green feathery foliage that can be trimmed to form hedges and pleasing shapes.
The Canadian Hemlock grows best in moist, well-drained soils and dislikes hot, dry conditions. The hemlock grows to a 40- to 50-foot height with a 30-foot spread. The hemlock is a stately tree with wispy, pleasing foliage.