Fast Growing Shade Trees

by Carol L.
(Little Falls, NJ)

Fast Growing Shade Trees

Fast Growing Shade Trees

We recently completed a large project that included building a retaining wall to level our yard. We had to remove several large trees and now the yard gets full sun most of the day. There is one large tree in the middle of the yard that we did not cut but it does not provide enough shade. What are the best fast growing shade trees to plant? We live in New Jersey. The yard is approx 60' x 50'. I've attached a photo of the work in progress so that you can get an idea of the space. We will also be planting along the fence line but we won't start that portion of the project until next year.
Thank you!


Hi Carol,

I live in NJ also.

I wrote a page on fast growing trees not too long ago. It includes some great shade trees. Here is the link:
Fast Growing Trees

I would suggest either one of the Elms or the Red Maple. The Elm has a beautiful shape...almost weeping, while the Red Maple has beautiful fall color. They will both provide nice shade.

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trees and shade

by ann
(tyler, texas)

I have a sunny front yard. I would like to get some shade on the foundation beds. How close can you plant a tree in front of the house and is it ok for it to shield some of the house?

Hi Ann,
What I like to do in this situation is determine the circumference (canopy width) of the tree at its mature size. I then place it halfway of this distance away from the house.

For example, if you were to use a Red Maple 'October Glory', the spread at maturity is 25' to 35' wide. I would place it about 15' away from the house. That way, 15' (I took the average) will grow away from the house and 15' towards it. If a bit of the tree extends over the house, that's ok.

You can see where your sun comes from to help you determine if this will shade your foundation plants. I like to place trees at house corners (although a smaller, ornamental tree like a Dogwood works better in these locations). You can also place a shade tree in the lawn, perhaps midway between your front door and the house corner. You can also use a few trees, placed in triangular positioning if your yard is large enough.

Not only do shade trees (and ornamental trees) provide shade, but the also provide a sense of scale which enhances the landscape design.


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