shade tree for small backyard
Hello to all :
I have yet another question ... and no answer myself.
Last year we lost our best backyard shade tree. We had had a large, multi-trunked maple (I don't know what kind) cabled & pruned 4 years earlier, but it was looking worse & worse and more dead branches were breaking off. There was a safety concern as the way the tree was leaning apart and we had lost an inner trunk from something (don't know what because it was that way when we bought the house), but it was all black. Anyway, to spare us the cost of yearly pruning & trimming for who-knows-how-long, we opted to have it cut down. Now we are baking in the sun all day long.
Our backyard is about 60' deep X 100' wide.
We have clay (or a mix) soil with a lot of rocks in it, but I think the drainage is not an issue as it's a gentle slope and I've never seen puddles even after heavy rain. According to the new zone maps, I'm 6 although it was 5b (Connecticut).
We want something for shade that we can sit under, picnic under, & enjoy, and, at some point have relief from the summer sun. I understand we will not get this quickly, but I'd like some substantial growth by 5 yrs. time. I don't want anything that will attract bees (we have young children), or have insects constantly dropping from it, or have something that we need to baby or spray for problems, or prune every year because it's massive. We'd like to plant it in the same spot that the maple was, which is about 30' from the back of the house. I am not concerned about gardening under the tree as I have my flower/shrub beds elsewhere.
We have looked at a few options ...
A Yoshino sakura, but that was $ 650 (4")for a large specimen, and we are concerned about caterpillars, Japanese beetles, longevity, etc. Cannot find smaller/less expensive yoshino's in the area so far. I see a lot of weeping cherries in our neighborhood & haven't noticed any problems, but then again, I don't live in those yards.
A red maple, but we were worried about one day having yet another massive, overgrown tree in our yard. I don't know if this would happen in my lifetime or not ... A nearby nursery has a red maple, no specific cultivar listed, for about $90 (a 7'-8' specimen). I'm not sure if that's a good choice ... Another nursery has a $ 300 'October Glory' (2.5") - that's a bit over our budget, but we might consider it if it's worthwhile.
We also thought about A Japanese Maple 'Bloodgood', but they are awfully expensive - over $ 100 for a 5 gal. I was under the impression that they grow slowly although the eventual size is nice ... but we had a red-leaved Jpn Maple in our front yard which suddenly died, so we are a bit nervous about investing in one ...
Maybe there are other choices we haven't considered, or perhaps a red maple is just fine ... I don't know if this is the best time to plant anyway ... maybe fall is better ? It's been in the 90's here this week.