What is a zone 4 tree that is beautiful year round and will thrive in shade?
I'm afraid that in your climate you don't have a lot of options, because there are few trees that grow in shade. I would recommend pagoda dogwood (Cornus alternifolia). This native plant reaches about 20 feet tall and can be grown as a large shrub or small tree, depending on how you prune and train it. It produces small clusters of white flowers in late spring or early summer. These blooms turn into dark blue fruits that birds find appealing. In winter, you can enjoy the plant's interesting horizontal branching structure. It's hardy in Zones 4-8.
For even more interest, look for the choice cultivar 'Argentea'; it bears foliage edged in bright white. Another native tree that tolerates shade is American hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana). It grows about 40 feet tall and 50 feet wide and has blue-green leaves that turn yellow or red in autumn. In summer, it produces yellow-green catkins that look like hops. The tree's slightly fluted gray bark is attractive. American hornbeam is hardy in Zones 3-9. If the shade is not too dense, downy serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea) would be a good choice. It grows 15-25 feet tall, has white blooms in spring, blue fruits in early summer, and excellent orange-red color in fall.
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