Fast growing shade trees?

pasmackJune 5, 2011

We are in the process of having a house built in Durham and plan on planting some shade trees around it. There will be flat lawn areas in the from and to the sides. The back yard slopes towards a storm pond.

We are looking for relatively fast growing trees with some visual interest. Thanks dor suggestions.

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Liriodendron tulipifera - tuliptree. Fast growing native tree well suited to your conditions. Consider also Quercus rubra, red oak and Quercus coccinea, Scarlet oak. Good fall color. Red maple 'October Glory' is also good.

A good fast growing "temporary" tree while others fill in is Loblolly pine. Soft wood, so very easy to cut down when your other trees are big enough. I know a lot of people disparage pines, but they are excellent in this way.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 4:34PM
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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

Chasteberry tree (vitex) is one of the fastest growing with lovely foliage and blooms successively from May/June through first hard frost.
Given its own location un-restricted by other trees or buildings you can let it grow as it wishes without having to prune it annually (except to snip off the stragglers close to the ground. Lawn and flowers grow happily under it unlike oaks and pines.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 11:52AM
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I would agree with Tulip trees. They have the added benefit of being a host tree for butterflies.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 4:07PM
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linda_jo(Raleigh, NC 7b)

I grew a Thornless Honeylocust tree (Gleditsia triacanthos) from seed for my daughter in Raleigh 9 years ago and it is 25" tall and very beautiful. Her neighbors laughed at her little 2' tree but now they all want one. I am currently growing about 15 more on my deck. They grow 2' a year and have a large shady canopy. If purchased you already have a 2' jump on growth. There are many good photos on the net.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2011 at 1:58PM
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Riverbirch grows fast and has nice peeling bark when young.

Here is a link that might be useful: Betula nigra

    Bookmark   June 12, 2011 at 2:27PM
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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

Tulip poplar is a great tree, a great very tall growing tree with upright branches of a harder wood than bradford pears so it stands up to ice storms without the breakage that bradford (used as example of another upright branching tree) suffers.
Mine is a side yard tree and from the second story windows you can view the tulip cups that are upright and not easy to view from below the tree.
Site it as a background or side yard tree to frame the house and preferably on the west side of the house to benefit from its summer shade.
Know that tulip poplar sheds its first flush of leaves around July heat/drought and when it is old enough to blossom, the bud casing petals and later the developed seeds are shed.

Point is, site it knowing if there is a roof gutter nearby you will need twice a year cleanout of the gutters.

Its broad leaves give wonderful shade and it does not suffer from being limbed up at any time of the year. A few years after it begins to blossom the seeds are very viable and you will find new poplars EVERYWHERE. Pull them up soon as you find them. After a year of growth they're tough to pull.
River birch is another nice tree and you can get it in larger sizes for professional transplanting. Not a good framing tree because of its medium height it looks great in a front yard bed and is also an upright but multi-trunk tree that tends to lean. As I recall, it's an early leaf shedder in fall which leaves a nice form and bark for winter interest. I don't know if the river birch is as susceptible to leaf miners as the white birch is.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 9:47AM
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aisgecko(7b Raleigh)

I am a big fan of sugar maples. They literally glow in the fall. They aren't as fast as some but very rewarding. I am sorry but I am a pine disparager. :) they really don't provide much shade and in a storm they easily snap (trust me on that LOL) however the pine straw is a nice advantage. Just don't put sweetgums anywhere you might want to walk barefoot!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 9:43AM
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So what did you end up picking? We are in a similar situation - need to pick medium sized trees that are also fast growing and we are thinking: brandywine maple and either yoshino cherry or kousa dogwood.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 1:05AM
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Second for the vitex--love mine. Also southern magnolia is a good choice.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 1:04AM
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kal2769(Zone 8)


    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 11:52PM
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kal2769(Zone 8)

Ulmus parvifolia 'Allee'

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 11:53PM
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jqpublic(7b/8a Wake County NC)

I'd stick with the native oaks. Tuliptree isn't always best too close to a home as they can break easily in comparison to oaks.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 1:39AM
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