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

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    Best shade trees

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    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

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    Weeping willow shade tree

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    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

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    Acer rubrum red maple

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    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

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    Paulownia tomentosa empress tree

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    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

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    A zelkova serrata shade tree

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    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

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    Wax myrtle shade trees

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    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

  7. Hybrid Poplars

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    Hybrid poplar shade tree

    Wikimedia Commons

    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

  8. See the House of the Week

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    Discover and admire beautiful and innovative home architecture, from grand Victorians to quaint cabins and all the styles in between. Take a look at the latest images and inspiration!