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I've heard there are many fast growing trees. Can anyone tell me the fastest growing one suitable as a shade tree near a house? I bought a new house and need a super fast growing tree. I love maples.

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    We need to know your climate. Can you add the region you live in, in your question? Also, while some shade trees grow fast, they are generally softer in the wood, and shorter lived than the higher quality trees that take longer to mature. – J. Musser Feb 10 '16 at 4:18
  • Silver maples are pretty fast growing – jeremy Feb 10 '16 at 22:05
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Fast growing trees are lovely to create a mature looking space quickly, but ..... They then continue to grow fast when they've outgrown the space you've got for them. You may then have a monumental problem of pruning, pruning and more pruning. Grow something that fast to create a boundary whilst others mature more slowly, then cut down the fast growers leaving the more beautiful specimens behind to do the job you want. You could also invest in large plants to start with which would give you maturity more quickly. Choose wisely not impulsively for this one.

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Lindens/Tilia have a medium growth factor (13 to 24 inches per year).
With their large leaves they create a very tight shade. Plus, the flowers release a very pleasant and sweet scent in the Summer.

Eucalyptus can grow extremely quick but their shade is sparse.

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All species of Ficus grow very fast, however they have vigorous and invasive root systems.

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    Ficus is a large genus, including low shrubs and even creepers. Perhaps you could narrow it down to a few species. – J. Musser Feb 11 '16 at 1:44
  • Depending on your region, some fast ones I know of are Ficus longifolia, Ficus obliqua (can get quite large), Ficus macrophylla (this one is huge), Ficus nigra, Ficus platypoda, Ficus Roxburghii (much larger leaf), Ficus rubiginosa (also large) and Ficus virens. Ficus lyrata is a rather beautiful species but I think it is a bit slower growing. – Viv Feb 11 '16 at 6:18
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    That should really be part of your answer, if you get my meaning.. :) – J. Musser Feb 11 '16 at 22:44
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If you want shade in a hurry maybe consider a clumping bamboo of an appropriate height. You could then plant the trees you want long-term and eventually remove the bamboo.

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I will suggest both trees to use and trees to avoid.

  • Maples are good in temperate climates. Some grow faster than others. My Japanese maple grew slower. I had a maple that produced seeds twice a year. Anyone know what that was?
  • Elm, but don't use elm. They are considered junk trees and are the first trees to fall over in a storm, and their lifespan is fairly short. As a matter of principle I pull up any elms I find as I find them.
  • Chinese Mulberry, but I advise against it. Very fast growing, but the berries are prolific and can make a big mess. The area around my mulberry tree often smelled like a brewery in the warm summer months.
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