6 USDA Zone 9 Hardy Trees That Tolerate Full Sun

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Written By Shannon Campbell

Off-Grid Gardener & Food Forager

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Home » USDA Zone 9 » 6 USDA Zone 9 Hardy Trees That Tolerate Full Sun

Seasons in USDA hardiness zone 9 don’t get particularly cold. Summers in zone 9 are hot, spring and fall are warm, and winters are very mild, with minimum average temperatures of just 20 to 30 degrees F.

As a result, regions that fall under zone 9 tend to get a lot of sunlight throughout the year, and the sun can get very bright and hot, particularly in summer. This can be an issue for many tree species that can’t withstand full sun exposure in these regions.

If you live in this zone and you’re unable to provide partial shade in certain areas of your property, keep reading. We have 6 reliable zone 9 trees with full sun tolerance for you to choose from.

6 Trees To Grow in Full Sun in Zone 9

1. Red Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)

Red Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)
Image by carlfbagge via Flickr

Native to the eastern US, the Flowering Dogwood is considered to be one of, if not the most beautiful of all native US trees. It is a small zone 9 tree, delicate in appearance, with a layered, horizontal branching habit and flat-topped canopy.

But of course, it is most admired for its flowering bracts (often mistaken for true flowers) which smother its branches in color through spring.

The Red Flowering Dogwood is one of the best varieties of the genus, with its vivid pink and red blooms and incredible fall color, made up of shades of scarlet and burgundy. Use it as a specimen tree, in border planting, or as a privacy screen.

Not only can the Red Flowering Dogwood tolerate the full zone 9 sun, but it also thrives in full sunlight, producing more profuse flower bracts and fruits. It prefers as much sun as possible, and thankfully the zone 9 sun is not too hot to burn its leaves or its stunt growth.

Other Common Names: Florida Dogwood, False Boxwood, False Box, American Dogwood, Indian Arrowood, Cornelian Tree

Growing Zones: 5-9

Average Size at Maturity: 15-30 feet tall, with a 15-20 foot spread

Flowering Season: Spring

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

2. Black Walnut (Juglans nigra)

Large Black Walnut Tree
Image by Wendy Cutler via Flickr

Another hardy native of the eastern US is the Black Walnut, an iconic tree that offers a dizzying number of benefits and drawbacks for zone 9 gardeners. It has a lovely wide-spreading canopy and dense foliage made of delicate, feathery compound leaves. It can be used as a zone 9 shade tree, specimen, or street tree.

Its other major use is as a valuable cash crop, with its timber used for fencing, cabinetry, and high-quality furniture according to the USDA Government website. Its edible nuts are also sought after for their nutritious and medicinal value.

It’s no surprise that this hardy, sun-loving native is planted across the US.

But gardeners should be aware of two things: its propensity for releasing juglone, a toxic compound that spreads through its roots, leaves, and stems and stunts the growth of most plants around it, and its deep and extensive root system that can disrupt the surrounding infrastructure.

Gardeners need to consider if it is suitable for their property before planting or if they need to choose a zone 9 tree with non-invasive roots instead.

Other Common Names: American Walnut, Eastern Black Walnut, American Eastern Black Walnut

Growing Zones: 4-9

Average Size at Maturity: 50-70 feet tall, with a similar spread

Fruiting Season: Early to Mid Fall

Available at: Nature Hills

3. Deodar Cedar (Cedrus deodara)

Deodar Cedar Tree
Image by Steve Haslam via Flickr

Add a graceful, mysterious element to your zone 9 property with the Deodar Cedar, a Himalayan native.

This coniferous zone 9 evergreen is renowned for its elegant weeping branches, pyramidal growth habit, and soft blue-green aromatic needles. Since it retains its shape and color all year, it is an easy choice for an ornamental tree, and its scaly textured bark adds extra interest.

Use the Deodar Cedar as a specimen, accent, privacy screen, or focal point, among other landscaping uses. And sit back and watch as its seeds and aromatic needles attract local wildlife.

The Deodar Cedar isn’t just one of the most beautiful coniferous trees available, it’s also hardy and adaptable. It can be planted in full sun and tolerates high heat and humidity very well, the best of all cedar types.

It can even be planted in most soil types as long as it is well-draining. Consider planting in a sheltered location to protect its pendulous branches from wind damage.

Other Common Names: Himalayan Cedar

Growing Zones: 7-11

Average Size at Maturity: 40-50 feet tall, with a 20-30 foot spread

Fruiting Season: Spring

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

4. Texas Scarlet Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles ‘Texas Scarlet’)

Texas Scarlet Flowering Quince
Image by Andrei Zharkikh via Flickr

Another flowering beauty that can flourish in zone 9 sun is the Texas Scarlet, a cultivar of flowering quince that grows as a very short, compact shrub. This quince bush is a charming specimen that lights up in spring with bright flowers the color of tangerine and watermelon. These flowers will be one of the first to appear in your garden, and they last for weeks at a time.

Otherwise, the Texas Scarlet has green, glossy leaves and thorny interlacing branches. It even produces small green-yellow edible fruits that can be used in jellies and preserves. Use this quince variety as a low hedge or screen, or in a foundation planting and mixed shrub borders.

The Texas Scarlet will thrive in full sun, as this provides the best flower production. It can adapt to a wide range of soil conditions. Keep an eye out for suckers, and signs of disease such as fireblight and fungal leaf spot.

Growing Zones: 5-9

Average Size at Maturity: 3-4 feet tall, with a similar spread

Flowering Season: Spring

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

5. Red Maple (Acer rubrum)

Red Maples
Image by Philip McErlean via Flickr

You’ll be pleased to know that one of the most visually appealing landscaping trees in the US is a full-sun lover and perfectly able to thrive in the heat of zone 9.

The Red Maple is widely loved for its stunning fall color when it turns a bright red with occasional shades of yellow, and it is sure to be the focus of your landscape in the fall months.

Its foliage is a more conventional green in spring and summer, and in early spring its branches are adorned with tiny red flowers before the leaves emerge. It has a rounded form and a very even, symmetrical branching structure. For landscaping uses, consider the Red Maple for a reliable shade tree, street tree, or specimen.

Be aware that this classic maple has faults – its moderately invasive root system and exposed roots can cause issues, it is susceptible to verticillium wilt, and its weak wood can lead to storm damage and cracking bark.

You might want to check out some other maple trees suitable for zone 9 before settling on the red maple.

Other Common Names: Scarlet Maple, Trident Red Maple, Soft Maple, Carolina Red Maple, Drummond Red Maple, Swamp Maple, Water Maple, Curled Maple

Growing Zones: 3-9

Average Size at Maturity: 40-70 feet tall, with a 30-50 foot spread

Flowering Season: Early Spring

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

6. Oleander (Nerium oleander)

Oleander (Nerium Oleander) Tree and Flowers - Pink
Images by Fern Berg (Own Work) for Tree Vitalize

This rounded evergreen shrub has been growing in warm and sunny climates for thousands of years and is so widely grown that no one is sure exactly where it comes from. With the Oleander, you can have a piece of history on your zone 9 property year-round.

With its long evergreen leaves and trumpet-shaped bright pink flowers, the Oleander will add ornamental appeal and benefits to wildlife, especially local pollinators. It is also an exceptionally rugged tree, with a high tolerance to drought, heat, wind, air pollution, and most soil conditions. Use it as an accent, street tree, hedge, screen, and more.

As a full-sun lover, the Oleander is almost perfect for zone 9 gardens, with one major exception: every part of the tree is highly toxic, and can be fatal. Great care should be taken when planting and handling these trees, especially if you have children and pets in your household.

Other Common Names: Nerium, Kaner, Rosebay, Rose Bay, Rose Laurel

Growing Zones: 8-10

Average Size at Maturity: 6-20 feet tall, with a 6-10 foot spread

Flowering Season: Late Spring to Late Summer

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

Plant These Full Sun-Tolerant Trees Anywhere on Your Property

Sun damage, leaf scorch, and other health problems are real issues that your trees can suffer if they are exposed to too much sun in hotter regions of the US.

If you live in a warmer climate like zone 9, it’s important to know which trees can tolerate full sun exposure in the hottest parts of the year, and which ones can’t.

The above are just a few options that can thrive in the full sun of zone 9. For more hardy species that may fit your landscape take a look at these tough drought-resistant zone 9 trees and palm trees for zone 9.

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Shannon Campbell

Off-Grid Gardener & Food Forager

Shannon has always loved looking after trees and plants since as long as she can remember. She grew up gardening with her family in their off-grid home and looking after her neighbor's plant nursery. As a child she also participated in native tree replanting, and as an adult has volunteered in reforestation programs in northern Vietnam. Today, she puts her horticultural efforts into tending her vegetable and herb gardens, and learning about homesteading and permaculture. When she’s not reading, writing, and gardening, she’ll be out fishing and foraging for edible flora and fungi in the countryside around her home.

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