Outdoor lovers this is for you. You know how sometimes you just want to enjoy a day outdoors but the sun is just blazing hot and there’s zero shade in your backyard. Well you can change this by planting one or more shade providing trees, that won’t only make your yard look beautiful but will give you the shade you need to spend more sunny days enjoying the outdoors.
Mango trees (Mangifera indica) are no strangers to us. Here in Trinidad and Tobago Mango trees are considered the Queen of fruit trees. Many people take pride in owning one, and it’s not just for the magnificent fruit it produces but also for the shade it gives when you want to have a picnic or just hang outdoors. Now mango trees come in a variety to choose from; Julie, Hog, Turpentine and the whimsically named La Brea Gyul, just to name a few. These different types of mango trees may have varying physical appearances however, one thing remains constant and that’s their ability to give shade. Once planted and provided with the right conditions (a balance of heat and rainfall), mango trees are fast growing and live for hundreds of years.
The Tamarind tree is believed to have originated in Africa, and is now spread throughout the Caribbean. The Tamarind tree (Tamarindus indica) is an elegant tree that makes a lovely addition to large outdoor spaces. This tree is quite useful as shelter from rain, shade from sun and even produces the fruit tamarind. Some people claim to have even used the bark and roots for medicinal purposes. To consume the tamarind fruit is not always the most enjoyable thing for many people because of its sourness. However, we Trinis know how to make it delightful by making it into many different dishes; tamarind sauce, tamarind balls, tamarind juice, tamarind paste, the list is endless. The tamarind tree is ornamental and actually quite lovely because of its dome-shape. It’s not unusual to see tamarind trees with the branches almost touching the ground, now this may sound creepy however, if you see it, it’s actually quite beautiful and just imagine being under this type of shade on the hottest days of the year. Tamarind trees can grow up to 100ft in height and the trunk can get up to 7.5m in thickness. They may be slow-growing but they live to be hundreds of years, so many generations can make good use of this versatile tree.
Frangipani, I always found this to be a funny word to say. Frangipani is a somewhat small tree that grows only to approximately 6m in height, they are super cute. They may not be the tallest of shade trees but their width is where their real strength lies. These trees provide shade like no other, with their long leaves and bent branches you are covered, literally. They also produce unique flowers with an unmistakable scent. Frangipani trees are low maintenance and only need watering about twice per week. Feel free to grow your Frangipani trees in your home garden or even in pots. They are also very equipped to take our weather here in the Caribbean, and have been known to survive harsh drought, sweltering heat, vicious pest attacks and pretty much total neglect.