Hansen’s Planting Tips: Tree Sun Requirements

We have all picked up a plant at a nursery and read the care tag stating that plant’s sun requirements. Just like any other plant, trees require different types of sunlight. When preparing your desired planting site, check how much sun it gets each day in addition to soil type and other site conditions.

Up Next: Hansen’s Top Tips For Choosing The Right Tree For Your Property

There are four types of sun requirements that different trees need per day to be healthy and thrive:

Full Suntree sun requirements

Full sun means that the tree must get at least 6 hours of direct sun daily. This is an easy thing to spot, as it will get full sun throughout the day. These bright, sunny areas are also areas where trees tend to tolerate heat and drought.

Remember that full sun will differ on your location and hardiness zone: full sun on the Plains is very different than full sun in more mountainous regions. Research sun exposure in your local area to best understand your location’s best trees and sun requirements.

Trees that require full sun include:

  • Black gum
  • Hawthorn
  • Pin oak

Partial Sun

Trees that are labeled as partial sun typically require 3-6 hours of direct sun per day. Direct morning sun is recommended, with filtered light throughout the day. If given too little sun, these trees may grow poorly.

Trees that require partial sun include:

  • American sycamore
  • Black oak
  • Silver maple

Full Shade

Full shade doesn’t mean “no sun.” Full shade trees require less than 3 hours of direct sun per day, with much of that light filtered by other trees. This is light that is typical of that that comes down through a forest canopy. Most full shade trees and plants can tolerate direct sun in the morning, but not mid-day.

Trees that require full shade include:

  • Pawpaw
  • Flowering dogwood
  • Eastern red bud

Partial Shade

Part shade is similar to part sun, but there are essential differences. Trees labeled as part shade typically aren’t as tolerant of direct sun as their part sun counterparts. These trees need between 3 to 6 hours of sun per day but need protection from the intense mid-day sun. Direct morning sun is recommended, with filtered light throughout the day.

Trees that require partial shade include:

  • Red maple
  • American elm
  • Sugar maple

Before planting, always call before you dig, so you do not hit essential utility lines like water or gas. It is also recommended that you consult with an ISA-certified arborist like those employed by Hansen’s Tree Service. They will provide you with a hassle-free estimate and tree consulting, so you know you are picking the best tree for your site location.

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