6 Fast-Growing Shade Trees

A house surrounded by mature trees is simply beautiful. If your landscape is light on trees, choose one of these six varieties to deliver shade—FAST.

  1. Made in the Shade

    Shade Trees

    Nothing beats the heat like sitting under the wide canopy of a tree (the right fit could even lower your energy costs). But if your landscape is treeless, the idea of waiting a generation to experience a tree’s shade can be frustrating. Luckily, a fast-growing shade tree is not an oxymoron, although you may have to adjust your definition of “fast.” Here are six varieties that can be well-established within three years.


  2. Weeping Willow

    Weeping Willow

    Graceful and dramatic, the weeping willow can spring up 8-10 feet in a year. Although it loves being near water and can help prevent erosion, this romantic favorite can handle drier conditions as well.

    Related:  Quick Tip—Tree Care


  3. Acer Rubrum

    Acer Rubrum

    From red blossoms in spring to fiery foliage in fall, this highly adaptable red maple certainly lives up to its crimson reputation, particularly the vivid ‘October Glory’ cultivar. Give it full sun and expect a 35 foot spread.

    Related:  5 Fiery Fall Bushes


  4. Paulownia Tomentosa

    Paulownia Tomentosa

    On top of reaching 15 feet in height, this Empress tree offers delicate blossoms that scent the air with jasmine. Though it’s not a great fit for all areas—some locations consider it invasive—Paulownia will thrive in zones 5-9.


  5. Zelkova Serrata

    Zelkova Serrata

    Related to the elm, but untouched by the tormenting Dutch Elm Disease, Zelkovas grow quickly into a vase-shaped tree that shares its golden foliage in the autumn. Watch it quickly grow to 50 to 80 feet high with a whopping 65-foot reach!

    Related:  How To: Plant a Tree


  6. Wax Myrtle

    Wax Myrtle

    The commonly called Bayberry is drought-resistant and grows five feet a year until reaching 15 feet—just the right height to create shade and privacy in your yard.

    Related:  Creating Privacy Through Landscaping

    Wikimedia Commons

  7. Hybrid Poplars

    Hybrid Poplars

    Tall, slender and flexible enough to endure wild storms, hybrid poplars can soar to nearly three stories in five years. These elegant trees look great when lining a driveway.

    Related:  Designing a Driveway with Long-Lasting Appeal

    Wikimedia Commons

  8. Know What to Grow

    Know What to Grow

    Plant a tree now, and enjoy the benefits for a lifetime.


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