The 13 Best Heat-Tolerant Trees

Crapemyrtle tree with pink flowers in sunlight

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

In the dead of summer, there’s nothing better than a tree to move the breeze, provide shade, and create some space to hide out from the blazing sun. Not all trees will do well in the heat. By choosing heat-tolerant trees to fill your organic permaculture garden or just to improve the landscape, you can improve your chances of thriving, long-lasting trees even in the most oppressive southern summer.

Best Heat Tolerant Trees for Your Landscape

Acacia. Although it’s an exotic tree, Acacia is widely adaptable to nearly any landscape, but they especially thrive in the heat. With small blooms in the spring and colorful foliage in the fall, acacia will grow quickly, soaking up the sun and giving you cool shade in return. Hardy to zones 9-11.

Ash. One of the more low maintenance trees, ash trees can span up to 80’ in height with sprawling, shade creating branches. Make sure you have enough space for a full-grown ash, then chose from one of over 50 varieties. Hardy to zones 4-9.

Buckeye. Tuck buckeyes into the back parts of your property, as they will drop plenty of leaves and large seeds. Those seeds, though, can be germinated and sprouted to grow a new tree if you are up for the task. Buckeye trees need lots of water but will grow tall and tolerate heat well. Hardy to zones 4-7.

Catalpa. Gorgeous showy flowers, quick growth, and a mature height of around 40-60’, catalpa are one of the prettiest trees to add to the landscape. Hummingbirds and bees will enjoy the flowering season with a catalpa around! Hardy to zones 4-8.

Cedar. Large, evergreen cedar trees dusted with snow lend images of reindeer and nutcracker suites. But they are just as at home in the heat, too! Cedar can be grown from germinated seeds, transplanted when they are small and staked for solid growth. Hardy to zones 2-9.

Crapemyrtle. A southern treat, crapemyrtle thrive in hot, full sunspaces. The more sun, the more likely you are to see a tree covered in bright blossoms. Plant in late summer in the south – the further north you get, the less likely it will survive winter. Hardy to zones 7-9.

Eucalyptus. Another fast grower, eucalyptus will keep right on growing through the heat and drought. As it shoots up at as much as six feet per year, trimmed smaller branches grow back as well, so you can enjoy the fragrant leaves in your home without damaging the tree at all. Hardy to zones 8-11.

Hackberry. The elm tree’s lesser-known cousin, hackberry grows purple drupes that contrast against winter skies and bring wildlife in for the food. Hackberry needs very little attention and will do well just about anywhere. Hardy to zones 2-9.

Juniper. Another heat tolerant evergreen, juniper make their way into many landscapes for their versatility. Find a balance of well-draining soil that can still hold enough moisture to the roots to help juniper thrive and establish. Hardy to zones 5-9.

Oak. You can watch for yourself as a tiny acorn gives way to the mighty oak – or you can just buy one ready to transplant. Either way, oak trees establish quickly, with as much as five feet of taproot created in the first year! Hardy to zones 6-9.

Pine. The classic scent of pine trees wafting through the landscape while the summer sun blazes down – grown easily in many landscapes. Pine trees propagate well from seed and will last through the hot summer and into winter, gorgeous as an outdoor Christmas tree. Hardy to nearly all zones.

Poplar. Hybrid poplars are especially fast growers, will establish in nearly any area, sprawling to create shade with its 30’ widespread. Enjoy subsequent plantings as a sustainable source of firewood or a single tree as an established fixture. Hardy to zones 3-9.

Silver Linden. An impressive silhouette, silver linden is regal when grown to its 50-70’ heights. Plant in full sun as a beautiful ornamental with yellow flowers in the spring and yellow leaves in the fall. Hardy to zones 4-7.