If you're looking for a tree to provide shade over your patio or garden, an umbrella tree might be an appropriate choice. Trees with this growth habit tend to have abundant foliage that provides a sunblock with its compact or spreading crown form. These trees are also often ornamental and work as garden or landscape specimens. Some, like the Capulin Cherry, even produce tasty fruit.
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The Prunus Salicifolia is commonly referred to as the Capulin Cherry. It's native to the valleys of Sonora, Mexico to Chiapas, Veracruz and western Guatemala. In the 21st century, it's cultivated in California and South America. The tree has a short, squat trunk with an umbrella-shaped crown. The entire tree reaches 10 feet in only one to one and a half year's time. Its leaves are aromatic and deep glossy green in color when mature. Young trees have a rose color to them. Capulin cherry blossoms in early spring, producing white flowers. Half this tree's fruit falls before it has a chance to mature. Fruit ripens between May and August and has a sweet taste. Capulin cherry must be two to three years old before it produces fruit. It enjoys full sun and should be staked for wind protection. The tree is drought tolerant but thrives with an irrigation system set up. It also prefers a small amount of nitrogen fertilizer when it begins to flower in the spring.
The Acacia Tortilis, or Hayne tree, is a wide-spreading umbrella-shaped tree native to the Africa and the Middle East. It grows to about 13-feet tall. Under extremely arid conditions, it only grows to 3-feet tall. Depending on the variety, branches may be white, narrow and straight or gray with black tips. This flowering tree produces blossoms that range from white to cream hues. It's generally used for firewood, though it's avoided in Malawi because it is thorny and difficult to handle.
The Japanese elm grows in a spreading umbrella shape and is native to Japan and northeast Asia. Dark green (yellow in fall months) leaves grow 3 to 4 inches long to form a crown with a round head. This crown can reach 35- to 55-feet tall. Like its crown, the Japanese elm's root system grows in a spreading habit. Its size and growth habit makes it an appropriate windbreak. This tree likes moist, well-drained soils with loam composition. It thrives in pH levels between 5.5 and 8.0 and is hardy down to USDA zone 2. It's moderately drought tolerant. Japanese elm has more resistance to Dutch elm disease than other types of elm.