Choosing the right kind of shade tree for your region will help keep trimming to a minimum and any insect/disease issues under control. Many homeowners need shade trees thriving in a hurry, which means quick growth and easy care. However, you don’t want to risk forcing a fast growth, because in those situations the tree often ends up weak — like the notorious silver maple, which almost always offers up weak wood. The princess tree can shoot up 15 feet each year, but these can be such a pain that some arborists call it “the biggest weed.”
Slow and steady is the best approach to achieve healthy, strong trees, but what if you don’t have that kind of time? It’s time to re-define what “fast growing” means, because if you want your tree healthy, it’s two feet per year, max. Of course, all trees will grow more quickly when they’re younger, but some options are spry and strong at the same time.
1. Freeman Maple
This gorgeous tree offers up bright orange and red leaves in the fall and can reach a full height of 80 feet while reaching 50 feet wide. It does well in most sunny regions, and prefers soil with a neutral pH that’s well drained. Autumn blaze is a particularly popular species of this type of maple, featuring some of the most brilliant autumn colors in the country.
2. Tulip Tree
This straight trunk topped with an oval crown is a real eye catcher. The leaves are shaped like saddles and the flowers that blossom in the spring look (surprise!) very much like tulips. At a maximum of 90 feet high and 50 feet wide, this is another showstopper when it comes to autumn colors. It likes a lot of sun and moist, acidic soil — plant this tree deeply for best results.
3. Dawn Redwood
Redwoods are of course the biggest and most majestic trees in the United States, and this subspecies provides bright green deciduous needles that shift into a burnt orange in the autumn. The bark is deep fluted, and the tree can grow up to 100 feet tall and 25 feet wide. It does best in well-drained soil that’s a little acidic and moist.
4. Eastern White Pine
For those who prefer an evergreen, you can sit back and enjoy blue-green needles year-round. A real shape-shifter, as a young tree the pine is pyramidal, but grows up to 80 feet high and 40 feet wide while filling out. It doesn’t like a lot of wind, but does require moist, drained acidic soil and plenty of sun.
Whether you need shade trees for your own comfort or to increase a home’s value, these four options are clear winners.