Shade trees in large pots in PNW

Our zone is 8a/8b. We have 2 south facing patios that become ovenlike and basically useless in summer. Removing the patios or constructing shade structures is not possible for the foreseeable future.

Wondering if there are any shade trees that can be grown in very large pots that would reach decent size (15-20 feet) enough to cast some shade on the patio and house. They would need to be:

  • Hardy in Zone 8a outdoors in large pots (rarely get sustained temperatures below 25 degrees)

  • Tolerate a lot of rain in winter and a high number of chilling hours

  • Tolerate high heat in summer (90s-100s)

  • Good canopy spread and shade quality

  • Able to reach 15-18 feet tall in a pot with room to walk under

  • Yield of fruit or nuts would be nice but not at all a requirement

  • Preferably fast growing

I don’t ask for much do I??

I guess an air pruning pot would be my best bet for healthy roots and height of the tree, something like this:

Off the top of my head my ideas are jujube, chestnut, heartnut, pecan, I don’t know how big these larger trees would get in a large air pruning pot

I searched the forum and saw @GreenFist has trees in 40 gallon fabric smart pots, if you see this I would love to know which trees you’ve got, do you get sustained high temperatures in your climate in summer and is it dry or humid, and how big your trees have gotten.

Staghorn Sumac will get 15ish feet in height. It likes to sucker, so it would require pruning to maintain a tree form. I would be worried about wind blowing your tree over if it is that tall and in a pot. You could also try a taller fig variety, but I still think you will be top-heavy like the Kool-aid man.


To keep the tree from blowing over when in leaf, the container would have to be so large (cubic yards !) that its yard location would be permanent.


Unless you happen to own a forklift.

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Haha. Okay. I had a feeling it was kind of a pipe dream but I had to ask :woman_shrugging: