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23 Best Fast-Growing Trees For Your Yard (Complete Guide)

Blooming royal poinciana tree

Whether you’re looking to add privacy to your landscape, enhance aesthetics, or need protection against strong winds, investing in some fast-growing trees can be an excellent decision.

With immense diversity in foliage, bark and blooms, these trees can be formidable additions and thrive in a variety of environmental conditions. They not only act as shade trees, but their quick growth rates make them a popular choice among garden enthusiasts.

If you’re after a privacy screen or a windbreak, a fast-growing evergreen tree is an unbeatable contender. Their dense foliage ensures you have all the privacy you need while also providing a shield against strong winds.

Choose a low-maintenance tree for a fuss-free approach to creating an impactful and beneficial landscape. As a master gardener, I’ve curated a list of the 23 best fast-growing trees you should consider growing in 2023.

1. Japanese Flowering Cherry (Prunus serrulata)

Branches of Japanese Flowering Cherry (Prunus serrulata) tree with pink blooms

Japanese Flowering Cherry (Prunus serrulata) – Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Name: Japanese Flowering Cherry

USDA Hardiness Zones: 5-8

Sun Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Shade

Soil Needs: Well-drained, Acidic

Mature Size: 15-25 feet in height with similar spread

Flowering: In spring with clusters of pink to white flowers

Foliage: Simple green leaves that turn orange to red in fall

The Prunus serrulata, commonly known as the Japanese Flowering Cherry, is a charming mid-size tree that performs well in most landscape styles. Renowned for its stunning and vibrant blooms, this tree adds a delightful splash of color to any garden with its profuse springtime blossoms.

One of the hallmarks of the Japanese Flowering Cherry is its fast growth rate, which quickly provides ample shade during hot summer months. Its foliage presents a unique spectacle of color throughout the year, with green leaves transforming to brilliant hues of orange and red in the fall.

This tree is not simply a delightful sight to behold; its strong bark resists damage from winds and droughts, unlike many other fast-growing shade trees. It remains an evergreen tree, providing a constant source of privacy and a comforting natural barrier all year round.

And so, any gardener seeking a beautiful, resilient, and practical garden inhabitant should deeply consider the Japanese Flowering Cherry. It truly is one of the best fast-growing shade trees in the world of gardening.

2. Japanese Angelica Tree (Aralia elata)

Japanese Angelica tree (Aralia elata) with yellow flowers

Japanese Angelica tree (Aralia elata) – Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Name: Japanese Angelica tree (Aralia elata)

USDA Hardiness Zones: 4 – 9

Sun Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Shade

Soil Needs: Rich, well-drained

Mature Size: Up to 20 – 30 feet high

Flowering: Late Summer

Foliage: Dark green

The Japanese Angelica tree, scientifically known as Aralia elata, is a fast-growing tree native to East Asia. It’s known for its thick, spiny bark and large bipinnate leaves that lend an exotic touch to any landscape.

What makes the Japanese Angelica tree special is its fast growth and unique appearance. It provides lush foliage and attractive white blooms in late summer. This tree transforms any garden into a private sanctuary with its dense coverage, thereby offering privacy.

Any gardener should consider growing this tree not only because it is a fast-growing shade tree but it’s also a low-maintenance tree. It flourishes in full sun to partial shade, making it a versatile addition to any garden. This hardy tree is robust enough to withstand strong winds and is drought-tolerant, appreciating well-drained soil.

It’s an evergreen tree in milder climates and as a deciduous tree in colder zones. Perfect for those who want to enjoy vibrant green foliage throughout the year. A truly prized addition for any garden enthusiast.

3. Weeping Willow (Salix babylonica)

Weeping Willow (Salix babylonica) tree with drooping branches in a pond

Weeping Willow (Salix babylonica) – Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Name: Weeping Willow

USDA Hardiness Zones: 6 – 8

Sun Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Shade

Soil Needs: Moist, Well-drained

Mature Size: Up to 50 feet tall and wide

Flowering: Yes, small yellow flowers in the spring

Foliage: Bright Green, Yellow in Fall

The Weeping Willow, known scientifically as Salix babylonica, is an excellent choice for a fast-growing tree that can transform your garden’s landscape. Acclaimed for its beautiful foliage and triggered spring blooms, the Weeping Willow is a dazzling spectacle throughout the growing seasons.

What makes the Weeping Willow special is not only its fast growth but also its majestic appearance. With its drooping branches gracefully reaching the ground, the Weeping Willow is a hybrid cultivar that creates an impressive sight.

This tree caters to those who desire privacy in their garden, as its low hanging branches provide a secluded, personal space, making the Weeping Willow one of the best fast-growing shade trees available.

Able to withstand strong winds, a particular merit of this tree is its ability to handle diverse weather conditions. Despite its need for ample water, it shows some degree of drought tolerance.

Any gardener seeking a monumental addition to their landscape should consider planting a Weeping Willow. It’s a low-maintenance tree with a capacity for fast growth and an enduringly attractive appearance. Despite shedding its bright green leaves for winter, it remains a magnificent evergreen tree, continually adding layers of beauty to your garden.

4. Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos)

Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos) tree in a neighborhood

Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos) – Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Name: Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos)

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-9

Sun Exposure: Full Sun

Soil Needs: Well-drained

Mature Size: Up to 70 feet tall and wide

Flowering: Late spring to early summer; produces small yellow-green flowers

Foliage: Deciduous, bright green changing to yellow in fall

A fast-growing tree, the Honey Locust, makes its presence known not only in landscapes but also in the hearts of gardeners. Used widely as a shade tree, this hybrid cultivar is a sight to behold during the bloom season. Its small yellow-green flowers complement the bright green leaves, providing a vibrant addition to any landscape.

The tree’s fast growth and expansive spread make it one of the best fast-growing shade trees. When afforded full sun exposure, it thrives, easily reaching maturity and providing the necessary privacy that most gardeners yearn for.

More so, the it’s a low-maintenance tree resistant to drought, creating a visual spectacle, while its strong bark withstands even the harshest of strong winds.

Besides its beautification benefits, the tree provides a nearly evergreen foliage canopy due to its lush, airy leaves. Despite not being an evergreen tree, its drought resistance matched with its fast growth, makes it an essential addition to gardens.

Gardeners seeking a natural, aesthetically pleasing, and protective shade should have the Honey Locust at the top of their list.

5. Koa (Acacia koa)

Koa (Acacia koa) tree in a field

Koa (Acacia koa) – Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Name: Koa (Acacia koa)

USDA Hardiness Zones: 10-11

Sun Exposure: Full Sun

Soil Needs: Well-draining soil

Mature Size: 50-75 feet tall and wide

Flowering: Produces small, yellow flowers in late winter and early spring

Foliage: Dark Green

Koa trees, or Acacia koa, are versatile and fast-growing evergreen trees that offer numerous benefits for any garden. Originating from the hybrid cultivars of the Acacia species, these have proven highly adaptable to various conditions.

What makes the Koa special is its fast growth habit and its dense, umbrella-shaped canopy of dark green foliage that provides excellent shade. The tree’s bloom fills the landscape with vibrant hues of yellow each spring, adding a splash of color to your garden.

As one of the best fast-growing shade trees, its broad canopy provides much-needed privacy. Plus, while it’s fast-growing, the Koa’s mature size is manageable, ensuring it doesn’t overwhelm your yard.

However, its robust size and speed of growth require space to fully develop and chance to express its beauty to the fullest.

6. Royal Poinciana (Delonix regia)

Royal Poinciana (Delonix regia) tree with red orange flowers

Royal Poinciana (Delonix regia) – Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Name: Royal Poinciana

USDA Hardiness Zones: 10-12

Sun Exposure: Full Sun

Soil Needs: Well-drained

Mature Size: 40-50 feet

Flowering: Late Spring to Early Summer

Foliage: Fern-like leaves

The Royal Poinciana, also known as Delonix regia, is a spectacular tree that transforms any landscape with its vibrant orange-red flowers and luxurious, fern-like foliage. This fast-growing tree, considered to be a low-maintenance tree, is a native of Madagascar and is now heartily embraced in tropical regions around the world.

What makes the Royal Poinciana special is its ability to provide extensive shade while adding a burst of tropical color to the environment. It is renowned for its umbrella-shaped canopy and striking blooms, that increase the aesthetics of the landscape.

Given its love for full sun and ability to survive in well-drained soil types, the Royal Poinciana is undeniably a valuable addition to any garden. Gardeners seeking to cultivate fast-growing shade trees with spectacular floral displays will find the Royal Poinciana hard to surpass.

7. Leyland Cypress (Cuprocyparis leylandii)

Rows of Leyland cypress (Cuprocyparis leylandii) trees

Leyland cypress (Cuprocyparis leylandii) – Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Name: Leyland Cypress

USDA Hardiness Zones: 6 – 10

Sun Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Shade

Soil Needs: Well-drained, Clay, Loam, Sand, Acidic

Mature Size: Up to 50 feet height, 20 feet spread

Flowering: Non-Flowering

Foliage: Evergreen

The Leyland cypress (Cuprocyparis leylandii), a hybrid of two evergreen species, is renowned for its fast growth and spectacular foliage, with its leaves having a feathery, soft texture.

It’s a generous contributor to the landscape with its towering, columnar form, perfect as a fast-growing shade tree or when used for creating privacy screens.

It’s one of the fastest-growing evergreen trees you can find. In fact, with optimal conditions and proper care, it can grow up to 3 feet per year until maturity. Furthermore, unlike many fast-growing trees, it’s low-maintenance and resilient against prolific conditions including drought and strong winds.

Apart from offering instant results with its fast growth, the Leyland Cypress provides effective privacy, an element often overlooked but highly essential in landscaping.

Moreover, its distinctive soft foliage can blend in or stand out in your landscape design, creating year-round interest and beauty. It is one of the best fast-growing shade trees for areas with full sun to partial shade.

Plus, gardeners with varying soil types can consider it as this cultivar is adaptable to different soil conditions.

8. Pin Oak (Quercus palustris)

Flowers of Pin Oak (Quercus palustris)

Pin Oak (Quercus palustris) – Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Name: Pin oak (Quercus palustris)

USDA Hardiness Zones: 4-8

Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

Soil Needs: Well-drained, acidic soil

Mature Size: Up to 70 feet in height and 40 feet in spread

Flowering: Insignificant yellow-green flowers in spring

Foliage: Glossy, dark green leaves that turn a bright crimson in fall

A favored member of the landscape for many homeowners and gardeners, the Pin Oak, or Quercus palustris, holds substantial importance for both its aesthetic appeal and practical benefits.

Recognized for its fast growth, this oak is also a durable element in the garden, tolerant of extreme conditions like drought and strong winds.

What makes the Pin Oak special is its attractive foliage that metamorphoses into a brilliant shade of red during autumn, thereby enhancing the seasonal bloom. Moreover, it’s not just a fast-growing tree but also a fast-growing shade tree that can mature into a magnificent backdrop for your yard while offering privacy.

To add to this, it’s a low-maintenance tree, shedding its leaves in winter, revealing a gray-brown bark that distinguishes it during this time. Gardeners who are seeking to incorporate fast-growing evergreen trees into their landscapes should unquestionably consider the Pin Oak.

With its deep, intricate root system, it subtly manifests the beautiful and hardy nature of its cultivars, making it a stately hybrid beauty in your garden.

9. Green Giant Arborvitae (Thuja ‘Green Giant’)

Rows of Green Giant Arborvitae (Thuja 'Green Giant') trees

Green Giant Arborvitae (Thuja ‘Green Giant’) – Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Name: Green Giant Arborvitae

USDA Hardiness Zones: 5-7

Sun Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Shade

Soil Needs: Moist, Well-Drained Soil

Mature Size: Up to 60 Feet Tall and 20 Feet Wide

Flowering: Non-Flowering

Foliage: Dense, Dark Green

The Green Giant Arborvitae, known scientifically as Thuja ‘Green Giant’, is a spectacular hybrid cultivar that can be a real presence in any landscape. Widely recognized for its fast growth, this tree can provide a robust privacy screen in a remarkably short time.

What sets the Green Giant Arborvitae apart is its rare combination of fast growth and low maintenance. It’s classified among the best fast-growing shade trees and is also a popular fast-growing evergreen tree.

With an average growth rate of three feet per year, it’s quickly dense enough to provide a strong privacy screen or windbreak. Plus, it maintains its rich green foliage year-round.

Any gardener should consider the Green Giant Arborvitae as it flourishes in full sun to partial shade and is also drought tolerant. This tree’s dense foliage and fast growth make it ideal for creating a living fence, blocking out strong winds, or simply adding beauty to your backyard.

Plus, its thick bark and robust shape enable it to withstand the harshest weather conditions.

10. River Birch (Betula nigra)

Flowers of River Birch (Betula nigra)

River Birch (Betula nigra) – Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Name: River birch (Betula nigra)

USDA Hardiness Zones: 4-9

Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

Soil Needs: Moist, slightly acidic soils

Mature Size: 40-70 feet high and 40-60 feet wide

Flowering: Small, greenish brown cones in spring

Foliage: Triangular, glossy, dark green leaves turn yellow in fall

The River birch, known scientifically as Betula nigra, is an outstanding fast-growing tree that holds promise for those in search of shade and charm in their landscape. Its distinctive peeling bark, from whence it got its name, offers a compelling aesthetic appeal while its glossy foliage provides much-needed shade in the hot summertime.

What makes the River birch truly unique, however, is its great resilience. This cultivar flourishes in a range of conditions – from full sun to partial shade and can withstand soil variations.

Moreover, it’s a fast-growing shade tree, making it a champion in providing privacy in record time. Being a low-maintenance tree that can tolerate drought, the River birch makes gardening feel less like a chore and more like a joy.

Any gardener should consider the River birch because it fills the yard with life, texture, and color. Imagine witnessing the lovely bloom of its small greenish-brown cones bring the garden alive in Spring.

As an added bonus, the River birch is resistant to strong winds, heightening its allure as a strong and sturdy, yet effortlessly elegant gem amongst evergreen trees.

11. Freeman Maple (Acer x freemanii ‘Autumn Blaze’)

Green leaves of Freeman Maple (Acer x freemanii 'Autumn Blaze')

Freeman Maple (Acer x freemanii ‘Autumn Blaze’) – Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Name: Freeman Maple (Acer x freemanii ‘Autumn Blaze’)

USDA Hardiness Zones:  3 – 8

Sun Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Shade

Soil Needs: Well-drained, moist, acidic to slightly alkaline

Mature Size: 40 – 55 ft height, 30 – 40 ft spread

Flowering: April – May

Foliage: Lush green leaves in the summer, vibrant red leaves in the fall

The Freeman Maple ‘Autumn Blaze’ is a favorite among gardeners and a standout in any landscape. A hybrid cultivar, this tree showcases the best traits of its parents – the fast growth of Silver Maple and the fantastic fall color of Red Maple.

It not only provides a spectacular fall color display, making it one of the best fast-growing shade trees, but the dense foliage serves a dual purpose – offering privacy and protection from strong winds.

The beauty of its bark and leaves make it an added aesthetic asset. Its low-maintenance nature, tolerance to drought, and adaptability to different soil types make it a reliable choice.

As a fast-growing tree, ‘Autumn Blaze’ admirably balances rapid growth, beautiful aesthetics, and environmental hardiness, making it an ideal selection for your garden to thrive in full sun to partial shade.

12. Tulip Poplar Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera)

Yellow foliage of Tulip Poplar tree (Liriodendron tulipifera)

Tulip Poplar tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) – Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Name: Tulip Poplar, Yellow Poplar.

USDA Hardiness Zones: Zones 4 – 9.

Sun Exposure: Full Sun, Partial Shade.

Soil Needs: Rich, well-drained soils.

Mature Size: 60 – 90ft high with a 30 – 50ft spread.

Flowering: Yes, blooms in late spring.

Foliage: Vibrant green leaves that turn yellow in fall.

The Tulip Poplar tree, also known as Yellow Poplar, is a magnificent, fast-growing shade tree that can transform your landscape. This impressive specimen is not actually a part of the Poplar family but rather the Magnolia family, making it a unique hybrid of sorts.

What makes it special is its towering height, strikingly beautiful yellow-green flowers that bloom in late spring, and its vibrant green leaves that provide a generous amounts of shade, perfect for creating privacy in your garden.

It’s a low-maintenance tree with a notable tolerance to drought and strong winds, adept to adapt to varying conditions.

Gardeners should consider growing the Tulip Poplar tree not only for its beauty and rapid growth, but also for its durability and resilience. Its grand stature serves as a firm anchor in your landscape, with the added benefit of being a fast-growing tree.

Its stunning flowers attract a variety of pollinators, promoting a healthy ecosystem in your garden.

13. Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum)

Silver maple (Acer saccharinum) tree with green leaves

Silver maple (Acer saccharinum) – Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Name: Silver maple

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-9

Sun Exposure: Full to Partial Sun

Soil Needs: Moist, Well-Drained Soils

Mature Size: 50-80 feet tall, 35-50 feet wide

Flowering: Early Spring

Foliage: Green leaves turn Yellow in autumn

The Silver maple (Acer saccharinum) is a fast-growing tree, often desired by those seeking quick ways to boost the depth of their landscape. This tree offers a guarantee of a vibrant spectacle in all seasons with fresh green foliage in spring, blooming subtly in early spring, and transitioning to a bright yellow in the fall.

What makes this tree special is its extraordinary fast growth and adaptability. It is one of the best fast growing shade trees that not only enhances privacy, but its dense spread also provides a charming spot for relaxation under its full shade in the summers.

Any gardener should consider growing the Silver maple as a low-maintenance tree. Although it needs full or partial sun, it is moderately tolerant to drought. This hybrid cultivar also holds up well against strong winds, thanks in part to its hard and well textured bark.

Despite its already fast growth, it can be pruned to promote even more vigorous growth. The Silver Maple is the quintessential fast-growing shade tree, perfect for those looking to significantly alter their landscape quickly, and the top recommendation among the fast-growing evergreen trees.

14. Red Maple (Acer rubrum)

Two Red maple (Acer rubrum) trees in the garden

Red maple (Acer rubrum) – Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Name: Red maple (Acer rubrum)

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 – 9

Sun Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Shade

Soil Needs: Adaptable, prefers slightly acidic

Mature Size: Height 40-60 feet, Width 30-50 feet

Flowering: Early Spring

Foliage: Green with red stems, turning fiery red in autumn

The Red maple, also known as Acer rubrum, is a fast-growing tree that enhances the landscape with its vibrant foliage which gives an impressive seasonal show of colors.

This tree stands out for its fast growth, usually reaching a mature height within a few years – an appealing aspect for anyone longing for an immediate effect on their sight lines.

What makes this tree special is its adaptability. It not only withstands various soil conditions but is also hardy in a wide range of climatic zones. Additionally, as it is a fast-growing shade tree, it serves dual roles – beautifying your view and providing respite from the scorching sun.

Any gardener would appreciate the Red maple for its low-maintenance needs and its strong resistance to pests and diseases. Its strong winds tolerance is another significant advantage.

Whether you’re searching for shade, privacy, or simply to add a burst of color to your landscape, the Red maple is an excellent choice. Grow it, and you won’t be disappointed by this robust and alluring fast-growing tree.

15. Autumn Blaze Red Maple Tree (Acer × freemanii)

Autumn Blaze Red Maple Tree (Acer × freemanii) leaves under the blue sky

Autumn Blaze Red Maple Tree (Acer × freemanii) – Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Name: Autumn Blaze Red Maple Tree (Acer × freemanii)

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-8

Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

Soil Needs: Slightly acidic, well-drained soil

Mature Size: 40-50 feet tall, 30-40 feet wide

Flowering: April to May

Foliage: Green leaves that turn fiery red in the fall

The Autumn Blaze Red Maple Tree is a fast-growing tree that is known for its stunning fall colors. This hybrid cultivar is a cross between the red and silver maple, marrying both their strength and quick growth.

Its distinctive features make this tree remarkable within any landscape. It is adored for its vibrant red leaves that illuminate the fall season with a literal autumn blaze.

Beyond the beauty, it offers practical benefits like shade and privacy, thanks to its dense, broad-reaching canopy.

This tree is highly resistant to drought and remains robust even in the face of strong winds. For gardeners seeking both low-maintenance and aesthetic appeal, this tree blooms brilliantly and offers a fast growth rate.

Its adaptability to different sun exposures and hardy nature makes it one of the best fast-growing shade trees any arbor-loving gardener should consider. The Autumn Blaze’s brilliant foliage, quick growth, and resilience truly make it a standout in the evergreen tree category.

16. Black Bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra)

Black Bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra) trees

Black Bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra) – Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Name: Black Bamboo (Phyllostachys Nigra)

USDA Hardiness Zones: 6 – 11

Sun Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Shade

Soil Needs: Rich, well-drained

Mature Size: 20 – 35 feet tall, 15 – 20 feet wide

Flowering: Rare

Foliage: Green with older culms turning black

For green enthusiasts looking for a fast-growing tree that combines beauty, privacy, and low-maintenance, look no further than the Black Bamboo (Phyllostachys Nigra). This unique landscape gem with its striking black stems and lush, evergreen foliage offers a distinctive addition to any garden scene.

What makes Black Bamboo special is its fast growth rate and cultural flexibility. Unlike its bamboo siblings, Phyllostachys Nigra transforms into a magnificent black bark as it matures. The dark hue contrasts beautifully with the surrounding green leaves, making it a focal point in many Asian-themed gardens.

Beyond its beauty, gardeners should consider Black Bamboo for its resilience. As a drought-tolerant species, it’s a perfect choice for gardeners trying to navigate unpredictable weather conditions. Its dense foliage also provides shade, ideal for those sunny corners of your garden.

The fast-growing nature also makes it an excellent choice for a living privacy screen, offering protection against strong winds. Grow Black Bamboo today and add an exotic touch to your garden.

17. Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides)

Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides) trees

Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides) – Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Name: Quaking Aspen

USDA Hardiness Zones: 1-7

Sun Exposure: Full Sun

Soil Needs: Well-drained soil with neutral to slightly acidic pH

Mature Size: 40-50 feet tall and 20-30 feet wide

Flowering: Spring

Foliage: Green leaves that turn bright yellow in fall

The Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides) is a standout among fast-growing trees. It is beloved not only for its fast growth but also for its unique and attention-catching foliage. This tree, native to Northern America, is often used in landscape design due to its grandeur and adaptability.

What sets this tree apart is its fast-growing shade potential. The leaves of the Quaking Aspen are known for their interesting ‘quaking’ or ‘trembling’ behavior, making it not just a beautiful addition to your garden, but an intriguing one as well. It is also a superb choice for privacy, due to its dense growth.

Any gardener should consider growing it because of its resilience and adaptability. It’s an excellent choice for sites that experience strong winds, and it’s surprisingly drought-tolerant, especially when compared to other hybrid cultivars.

Plus, this majestic tree is a low-maintenance option. This fast-growing, evergreen tree is truly an asset to any garden, providing fast growth, beauty, and privacy in full sun or partial shade.

18. Baby Giant Arborvitae (Thuja plicata x standishii PPAF 61830744 ‘Virginian’)

Baby Giant Arborvitae Tree

Photo Credit: Dreamstime.

Name: ‘Baby Giant Arborvitae’

USDA Hardiness Zones: 5-9

Sun Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Shade

Soil Needs: Moist, Well-Drained Soil

Mature Size: Up to 25 feet height and 8 feet width

Flowering: Non-flowering

Foliage: Dark Green

The Baby Giant Arborvitae, a hybrid of Thuja plicata and standishii, stands as a perfect embodiment of a fast-growing tree that promises both aesthetics and functionality. Known for its tower-shaped form, it adds a unique structure to your landscape.

What makes it special is its rapid growth and immense foliage that brims with dark green leaves. Unlike typical Arborvitaes, this cultivar reaches maturity much faster, thereby making it a popular choice among garden enthusiasts seeking quick landscape transformations.

This fast-growing shade tree is not just about speed, it’s also an evergreen tree that provides year-around privacy. Moreover, it’s regarded as a low-maintenance tree which is able to withstand drought and strong winds making it a robust member to your garden. Given its towering height, it doubles as a privacy screen, blocking prying eyes and excessive winds.

Every gardener contemplating a fast-growing, shade-providing, and low maintenance addition should consider this excellent choice. With a guarantee of greenery and privacy throughout the year, these trees will enhance your garden while requiring minimal care. Its striking presence will transform your landscape into lush green sanctuary.

19. Lombardy Poplar (Populus nigra)

Lombardy Poplar (Populus nigra) trees in a field

Lombardy Poplar (Populus nigra) – Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Name: Lombardy Poplar (Populus nigra)

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 – 9

Sun Exposure: Full Sun

Soil Needs: Well-drained, loamy to sandy soil

Mature Size: 40 – 50 feet height, 10 – 15 feet spread

Flowering: Non-flowering

Foliage: Deciduous

The Lombardy Poplar (Populus nigra) is one of the best fast-growing shade trees that have proven to be a spectacle in any landscape. This is a hybrid, known not only for its fast growth but also for its resiliency against strong winds, complementing your yard with a touch of sturdiness.

Its striking vertical effect makes it special, as its leaves dramatically flutter with every gust, adding a unique visual and aural dimension to your garden.

If you’re looking for privacy and a vertical statement for your landscape, look no further than this fast-growing tree. The tree’s bark and foliage create an impressive aesthetic that doesn’t compromise on low-maintenance.

Plus, being drought-resistant, it’s a choice that can withstand harsh conditions. This adaptive feature makes it an attractive choice for many gardeners.

Any gardener interested in a tall, fast-growing, low-maintenance tree with the added benefit of granting privacy should consider the Lombardy Poplar.

20. Rainbow Eucalyptus Tree (Eucalyptus deglupta)

Rainbow Eucalyptus Tree (Eucalyptus deglupta) in a field

Rainbow Eucalyptus Tree (Eucalyptus deglupta) – Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Name: Rainbow Eucalyptus

USDA Hardiness Zones: 10-11

Sun Exposure: Full Sun

Soil Needs: Moist, well-draining

Mature Size: Up to 200 feet tall

Flowering: Rare in right conditions

Foliage: Green

The Rainbow Eucalyptus tree, known scientifically as Eucalyptus deglupta, is a marvel in the landscape, and a fast-growing tree that provides both shade and beauty. As a low-maintenance tree, it is loved by gardeners for the unique color variations of its bark, and acts as a fast-growing evergreen tree in the right conditions.

What makes the Rainbow Eucalyptus stand out are its vibrant colors that emerge as the tree sheds its older bark, revealing bright green bark underneath. This eventually darkens and matures to showcase a range of colors from blue, purple, orange to maroon.

If you’re considering a fast-growing shade tree, the Rainbow Eucalyptus is a strong contender. While it thrives in full sun, it can also tolerate partial shade. The tree’s hybrid cultivars are also hardy in strong winds and can withstand periods of drought. As it grows, the foliage provides invaluable privacy for your landscape.

21. Cleveland Pear Tree (Pyrus calleryana ‘Cleveland Select’)

Cleveland Pear Tree (Pyrus calleryana 'Cleveland Select') with white flowers

Cleveland Pear Tree (Pyrus calleryana ‘Cleveland Select’) – Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Name: Cleveland Pear Tree

USDA Hardiness Zones: 5-8

Sun Exposure: Full Sun, Partial Shade

Soil Needs: Moist but well-drained

Mature Size: Up to 30-40 feet

Flowering: Early to mid-Spring

Foliage: Glossy green to yellow colors

The Cleveland Pear Tree is a beautiful and fast-growing tree that takes pride in any landscape. It is a cultivar of the Callery Pear, which is known for its rapid growth and hardiness to varying conditions. The tree offers beautiful white blooms in early spring, and turns a vibrant red and orange color in the fall.

What makes the Cleveland Pear Tree special is not only its aesthetic appeal, but it also serves as an excellent shade tree. Its dense canopy provides privacy and shelter from strong winds. Despite being a fast-growing shade tree, it’s low-maintenance which makes it a favourite among gardeners.

For the gardener seeking to add a fast-growing tree to their landscape, the Cleveland Pear certainly deserves consideration.

Not only does it provide stunning beauty throughout the seasons, but it is also a rather hardy plant. It’s an excellent choice for any gardener due to its tolerance to drought, and it displays resilience against many diseases.

From its glossy foliage to its bark and blooms, the Cleveland Pear Tree enhances any garden in which it grows. It’s one of the best fast growing shade trees out there.

22. Mexican Fan Palm Tree (Washingtonia robusta)

Mexican Fan Palm Tree (Washingtonia robusta) near the road

Mexican Fan Palm Tree (Washingtonia robusta) – Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Name: Mexican Fan Palm Tree (Washingtonia robusta)

USDA Hardiness Zones: 8-11

Sun Exposure: Full Sun

Soil Needs: Well-drained

Mature Size: 70-100 feet tall and 10-15 feet wide

Flowering: White to creamy-yellow flowers in cluster bloom

Foliage: Fan-shaped leaves, deep green color with a coarse texture

Mexican Fan Palm Tree, scientifically known as Washingtonia robusta, is a fast-growing tree typically seen endowing the landscape with an exotic look. A notable feature is its tall and slender trunk cloaked in a decorative, gray-brown bark that provides a hint of privacy. The tree is a gift to gardeners in its ability to dramatically transform any setting into a tropical vista.

The specialty of this palm tree lies in its fast growth and height which surpass that of most palm trees. This evergreen tree is one of the best fast-growing shade trees bringing the charm of pale blue-green or deep green foliage to your garden.

Equally impressive is the plant’s strength to brave drought conditions and strong winds, making it stand out amongst fast-growing evergreen trees.

A gardener should consider cultivating this low-maintenance tree for it is tolerant of various soil types, even those relatively poor in nutrients. Given the right initial care, the tree requires minimal intervention and blooms to its majestic 100 feet in full sun.

So, choose this stylish, hybrid cultivar to add a tropical touch to your green spaces or avenues.

23. Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides)

Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) with orange foliage

Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) – Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Name: Dawn Redwood

USDA Hardiness Zones: 4 – 8

Sun Exposure: Full Sun

Soil Needs: Moist, Well-Drained Soil

Mature Size: 70 – 100 feet

Flowering: Non-flowering

Foliage: Deciduous

The Dawn Redwood, known scientifically as Metasequoia glyptostroboides, is a fast-growing tree that is a mystical blend of beauty and robustness, making it a must-have in your landscape.

Originating from Hybrid cultivars, this low-maintenance tree offers a fast growth rate while standing up to drought conditions and strong winds with dignity.

What makes it special is its unique bark that peels, revealing a vibrant, reddish-brown color that adds an extra dimension to your garden. This tree, even in harsh conditions, will retain its beautiful foliage, standing tall as an evergreen tree.

In addition, it thrives under full sun and is indifferent to partial shade, bringing its elegant charm to both sunny and shady landscapes.

As a gardener, consider gracing your garden with this tree for its dual purpose. Besides creating a breathtaking landscape, it doubles up as a privacy screen.

The Dawn Redwood takes the crown for being one of the best fast-growing shade trees. Its high reaching branches, adorned with feathery leaves, cast a cool, soothing shade making it perfect for spending a sunny afternoon under.

So, why not introduce this captivating tree to your garden and witness how it not only transforms your landscape but also provides an efficient, much-needed privacy.


Other Tree Guides from Planet Natural:

39 Best Pink Flowering Trees for Your Yard and Landscaping

32 Best Evergreen Shrubs to Grow for Your Landscaping

Website | + posts

Melissa Pino is a biologist, master gardener, and regular contributor for Planet Natural. Melissa's work focuses on promoting environmentally-friendly practices, helping people create healthy gardens and finding ways to achieve overall health and wellness.

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