Difference between Full Sun, Partial Sun, and Full Shade

One of the keys to Tree Care is planting the right tree in the right place.  The right tree in the right place can fall into many categories ranging from not planting tall trees under power lines to planting a tree that needs full shade in a full shade area.

I learned this lesson the hard way last summer.  I planted a Japanese Red Maple Tree in my wild flower garden. 

 At the beginning of the season, the tree was doing great and the wildflower garden was thriving as well.  I thought to myself, I am starting to get a green thumb.  But then the wildflower garden really took over. The number of sun flowers were just overwhelming and made the whole garden look more like a neglected area of the yard verses a plan. 

Ultimately my wife and I decided that we were going to put our house up for sale.  This lead me to the decission of “we better get rid of that out of control corner garden”.  An evening with the tree loppers took care of the “garden”.  What I forgot to consider was the impact of my thriving Japanese Red Maple. 

Throughout the process of the wild flower garden I keep a keen eye on my little friend.  The one foot potted tree that once was tallest item in the garden was now dwarfed by the other plants.  But to me it was still the champion of the garden.  My weekly check-in showed that it was doing well among the shade of the other plants.  But with the removal of the wild flowers, I lost the shade needed for my little red champion.  

After the removal of the flowers and a few days of sun full and cooking in the August heat the leafs started to weep.  I attempted to add a tree tube to add shade, but it was too late.  I lost the tree. 

What I wish I would have known at the beginning of my planting was the rules of Full Sun, Partial Sun, and Full Shade plants.  If I would have been more aware of this my decission would have never been to plant the Japanese Maple in the corner in full sun.  The fact of the matter was I was lucky that the wild flower garden erupted and shaded the tree.  But now at my expense you will have some handy rules of the “green” thumb.

Full Shade = Only Two Hours or Less of Sun

Partial Sun/Partial Shade = Four to Six Hours of Sun

Full Sun = Six plus hours of Sun.



  1. Just planted a ginko today & wanted to make sure I did all correctly. The tree is planted toward the very front of my yard for best showing. It’s about 4 ft. My soil is very sandy but I have some really good egg shell compost which I used in planting and then watered very well and mulched.My main question is since the Ginko will bear the brunt of the worst part of the sun during to day. Will I need to water every day and if so, how much water and how long will this need to be done?

  2. Hi, you will want to water your tree once each week if it needs it and this sort of tree doesn’t have any problem growing in harsh areas such as urban centers under full sun.

  3. Pingback: Landscape Flowers Pictures « Home Flower Gardening

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