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Fastest Growing Shade Trees | Our Top Picks

February 8, 2022 Jill Raver
Filed in: Planting Blog

People want fast growing trees. They google them, they ask for them, and they buy them. You can say it's because Americans are impatient, but there is so much more to it than that.  A fast growing tree cools your home sooner, saving on energy bills.  A mature tree increases property value and that means improving your selling options.   With a new house, a large shade tree can make it a home, a place for your children to grow up, a tree to climb and explore, and a canopy for you to sip lemonade under and take in nature or a book.  We hope that you'll find your perfect fast growing shade tree to treasure for years to come in one of our top picks!

Weeping Willow

weeping-willow-treeEveryone recognizes a Weeping Willow.  I have amazing memories of an enormous, billowy Weeping Willow in my back yard growing up in PA.  My siblings and I loved that big, old tree.  We climbed it, swung from clusters of the branches like Tarzan, and hung out in the tree house my dad built.  We grew up in that tree as much as the home it sat beside. These trees grow to heights and widths over 30 feet at maturity and can grow as much as 8 feet per year.

Willows thrive in full sun to part shade and are adaptable to almost any soil.  The Weeping Willow is low maintenance and rarely has problems with pest and diseases.  The biggest requirement is water.  Willows love it!   You want to keep the ground moist, especially for the first 2 years.  Try using a Treegator or mulching your young tree to reduce hand watering needs.  Weeping Willows are great for areas with standing water.  These trees rarely require fertilizer, but if you think your tree needs a boost, apply a balanced, slow release fertilizer in spring.  Weeping Willows are deer tolerant.  This tree grows in zones 3 to 9, which covers almost the entire US.

Shop Weeping Willow

Autumn Blaze Maple

Autumn Blaze Maple TreeAutumn Blaze Maples are gorgeous shade trees; prized for their stunning, fall leaves and fast growth rate.  This tree is a hybrid of the Red Maple and the Silver Maple, taking the best qualities from each.  You get the rapid growth and adaptability of the Silver Maple and the attractive form, bold fall color, and solid structure of the Red Maple.  This tree has a mature height of 50 feet and width of 40 feet.  3 to 5 feet per year is the growth rate of the Autumn Blaze Maple.

 The Autumn Blaze Maple is pest and disease resistant, making it really stand out from older shade tree varieties. This tree thrives in full sun to part shade and prefers a slightly acidic, moist, but well-draining soil.  Water this tree deeply twice weekly when newly planted.  As your tree establishes it will be less demanding of water, just monitor your soil and don't allow it to dry out completely.  Mulching is a great way to help keep the soil moist.  Fertilize with a slow release fertilizer in early spring to give your Maple a boost.  Use an acidifying fertilizer if you know your soil is alkaline or your fall color seemed off the previous year.  This Maple grows in zones 3 to 8.

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River Birch

river-birch-treeThe River Birch is a unique, multi-trunk tree.  It is prized for its attractive, colorful, peeling bark. This upright tree grows to heights of 40 to 50 feet and widths of 25 to 40 feet.  The growth rate of the River Birch is 2 to 3 feet per year.

Full Sun is the ideal choice for the River Birch, but as far as soil, this tree is adaptable.  This tree tolerates wet soil, but is also drought tolerant once established.  Deeply water you River Birch twice weekly for the first 3 months after planting.  After establishment your tree will only need water during dry periods.  Fertilize with a slow release fertilizer in early spring if your tree seems to be lacking.  The sturdy River Birch is also deer, pollution, wind, and ice tolerant.  This tree can grow in almost every state (growing zones 4 to 9).

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Willow Oak

Willow Oak TreeLandscapers love the hardy and adaptable Willow Oak.  This tree has an extremely long life. The leaves are thin and plentiful, and the acorns welcome wildlife. This tree has a mature height of 60 feet and width of 40 feet. The Willow Oak can surpass 3 feet of growth per year in ideal growing conditions.

This easy to grow tree grows in full sun to part shade and is adaptable to different soils, even tolerating wet soil.  After establishing its roots, this tree only needs water in dry periods.  Fertilize in spring with general, slow release fertilizer.  The Willow Oak is pest and disease resistant, as well as drought, pollution, and salt tolerant.  This tree is suited for growing zones 5 to 9.

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