Lounge beneath the leafy canopy to beat the heat. Duck under its sheltering branches during a summer cloudburst. Lower your home’s energy bills by planting shade trees to keep the sun off your house.
Bring on the shade!
Trouble is, trees don’t provide shade overnight. It takes years for a good shade tree to do its thing.
Our Five Favorite Fast-Growing Shade Trees
Some trees, however, grow faster than others. Here’s a look at five fast-growing shade trees that grow at a fairly speedy clip. We’ll also take a look at the best time to plant them.
Northern Red Oak
Expect this tree to grow to 60 to 75 feet high at maturity, with an impressive canopy spread of about 45 feet.
It prefers acidic, loamy, moist, well-drained soil. While some trees are finicky about being transplanted, the Northern Red Oak doesn’t seem to mind.
Its crunchy acorns provide a tasty feast for blue jays, wild turkeys, squirrels, raccoons and whitetail deer.
This is one of the most highly recommended fast-growing shade trees. It can grow up to 8 feet a year. You can almost watch it grow. At maturity, it tops out at 40 to 50 feet.
There are several varieties to choose from, but if the little poplar cotton tufts bug you, opt for the Populus deltoides x Populus nigra variety, a “cottonless hybrid” that the Arbor Day Foundation recommends.
Autumn Blaze Maple
It’s also the fastest-growing maple, with 3 to 5 feet of growth a year. At maturity, Autumn Blaze maples will reach about 50 feet tall by 40 feet wide, with a rounded crown.
They like moist but well-drained soil, full sun to partial shade.
This fast grower won back-to-back “Urban Tree of the Year” awards in 2003 and 2004, which means it tolerates car exhaust, can adapt to a wide range of soil conditions and is both insect-resistant and disease-resistant. Another plus: it doesn’t drop seed pods.
Best known for its distinctive cinnamon-hued curling bark, the river birch is a landscape beauty. While it grows naturally along river banks, it’s equally at home in the landscape, offering spreading limbs for shade at a fairly speedy rate.
Expect it to grow from 13 to 24 inches a year, with an ultimate height of 40 to 70 feet high with a 40 to 60-foot spread.
It’s more resistant than most birches to the destructive birch borer, a devastating pest that attacks birch and other native trees.
One thing to note: it doesn’t like very alkaline soil.
This fast grower — more than two feet a year — will reach up to 90 feet tall. So you may not see much of the yellow-green lowers at the top. But you can appreciate its golden fall foliage.
It prefers full to partial sun and well-drained soil with plenty of humus.
If you love little critters, this tree is for you. Hummingbirds are drawn to the nectar in the flowers and rabbits and squirrels feast on the seeds.
While most trees do best with fall planting (more on this later), the tulip tree does not, according to the Ohio State University Extension. Stick to spring for this one.
When To Plant These Fast-Growing Shade Trees
Your newly planted tree wants moderate temperature and rainfall. And it would like some time for its roots to settle in before the onset of the intense heat and dryness of summer or the freezing temperatures of winter.
That means spring and early fall are generally the best planting seasons.
Leave The Tree Planting To Neave
Our professional arborists will help you choose the ideal trees for your property, and our expert installation teams will make sure the planting is done right.
Trees are a long-term investment. That’s why we take extra care in inspecting the soil quality, local climate and other factors that can affect your new trees.
In some cases, city permits are needed if you’re planting trees that are visible to the public on your front lawn. We’ll not only get our hands dirty by installing your trees, we’ll cut through all the legal red tape on your behalf, too.
We’re also licensed, bonded and insured for your protection.
If you’re in the Hudson Valley, call us at (845) 463-0592. If you’re in Westchester County, call (914) 271-7996; from Connecticut, dial (203) 212-4800. Or, fill out our simple web form, and we’ll contact you about setting up your free consultation.
Once we plant your trees, we don’t disappear. We’re happy to come back, whether it’s for routine maintenance, such as pruning and trimming, or emergency services that involve disease and infestation control.
Your trees are in good hands.