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34 Fast-Growing Shade Trees That Will Create a Shady Oasis in Record Time

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Written By Lakeisha Ethans

Heritage Gardener with Grafting Expertise

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Home » Shade Trees » 34 Fast-Growing Shade Trees That Will Create a Shady Oasis in Record Time

Want to enjoy a cooler backyard without the long wait?

These fast-growing shade trees deliver quick results and lasting beauty – find the perfect one for your landscape!

34 Quick-Growing Canopy Trees for Your Yard

1. Autumn Blaze Maple Tree

For vibrant autumn color, the Autumn Blaze Maple is unparalleled, combining the best traits of its parent trees—the red maple and silver maple.

This hybrid stands out with its fiery red foliage that ignites the landscape every fall.

Fast-growing and hardy, it’s an excellent choice for those wanting quick shade and a splash of color.

Equally impressive is its ability to adapt to a variety of soil conditions and its minimal care requirements, making it a favorite among both novice and experienced gardeners.

  • USDA Growing Zone: 3-8
  • Average Mature Size: 40-50 feet tall, 30-40 feet wide
  • Type: Deciduous
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Botanical Name: Acer x freemanii ‘Jeffersred’

2. Northern Catalpa

Celebrated for its large, heart-shaped leaves and showy white flowers, Northern Catalpa provides rapid and ample shade.

This tree’s distinctive long seed pods and broad canopy make it a standout feature in any landscape.

  • USDA Growing Zone: 4-8
  • Average Mature Size: 40-70 feet tall, 20-40 feet wide
  • Type: Deciduous
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Botanical Name: Catalpa speciosa

3. Chinese Pistache

Celebrated for its resilience and vibrant fall colors, Chinese Pistache offers fast-growing shade and year-round visual appeal.

It adapts well across various climates and develops drought resistance as it matures.

  • USDA Growing Zone: 6-9
  • Average Mature Size: 30-35 feet tall, 25-35 feet wide
  • Type: Deciduous
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Botanical Name: Pistacia chinensis

4. Japanese Zelkova

Ideal for adding a touch of elegance to any landscape, Japanese Zelkova features a smooth, gray bark and a V-shaped growth that spreads wide to offer generous shade.

It’s a durable choice for urban areas, thriving under varied conditions and showcasing stunning fall colors.

  • USDA Growing Zone: 5-8
  • Average Mature Size: 50-80 feet tall, 50-75 feet wide
  • Type: Deciduous
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Botanical Name: Zelkova serrata

5. Palo Verde

Flourishing in arid conditions, Palo Verde is celebrated for its vibrant green bark and delicate yellow flowers that add a burst of color to the landscape.

This desert native grows quickly, providing light, dappled shade and enhancing biodiversity with its support of local wildlife.

  • USDA Growing Zone: 8-11
  • Average Mature Size: 20-30 feet tall, 20-30 feet wide
  • Type: Deciduous
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Botanical Name: Parkinsonia spp.

6. Hackberry

Hackberry stands out with its rugged bark and robust structure, providing dense canopy coverage quickly, which makes it a stellar addition for those needing shade in record time.

It is also well-regarded for its adaptability to different environments and resistance to urban pollution.

  • USDA Growing Zone: 3-9
  • Average Mature Size: 40-60 feet tall, 40-60 feet wide
  • Type: Deciduous
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Botanical Name: Celtis occidentalis

7. American Sweetgum

American Sweetgum is an excellent choice for quickly adding both shade and ornamental value to a landscape, thanks to its star-shaped leaves and striking fall colors.

This tree’s gumball-like seed pods are distinctive, and it thrives in a variety of soil types.

  • USDA Growing Zone: 5-9
  • Average Mature Size: 60-75 feet tall, 40-50 feet wide
  • Type: Deciduous
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Botanical Name: Liquidambar styraciflua

8. Silver Maple

Known for its quick growth and sprawling branches, Silver Maple is a top pick for rapid shade provision.

This tree adapts easily to different soil conditions and features a striking silver underside to its leaves, adding a unique visual element to its surroundings.

  • USDA Growing Zone: 3-9
  • Average Mature Size: 50-70 feet tall, 35-50 feet wide
  • Type: Deciduous
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Botanical Name: Acer saccharinum

9. Texana Nuttall Oak

Nuttall Oak (Quercus texana)
Image via Nature Hills

Texana Nuttall Oak swiftly matures into a large, stately tree, providing expansive shade and stunning fall foliage, ideal for both aesthetic appeal and practical use in sun-intensive areas.

Its deep roots make it a strong contender for stabilizing soil, especially in regions prone to flooding.

  • USDA Growing Zone: 6-9
  • Average Mature Size: 30-50 feet tall, 35-40 feet wide
  • Type: Deciduous
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Botanical Name: Quercus texana

10. Ficus

Adaptable and towering, Ficus trees swiftly create a dense canopy of lush foliage, providing extensive shade in warm climates.

Known for their impressive root systems, they are a popular choice in urban and suburban settings for both privacy and aesthetic appeal.

  • USDA Growing Zone: 10-11
  • Average Mature Size: 60-100 feet tall, 60-100 feet wide
  • Type: Evergreen
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Botanical Name: Ficus spp.

11. Weeping Willow

Graceful and elegant, the Weeping Willow rapidly creates an expansive, curtain-like canopy that offers vast shade, making it an ideal choice for landscapes near water where it can also help stabilize soil.

Its quick growth and distinctive, flowing branches enhance any setting.

  • USDA Growing Zone: 6-8
  • Average Mature Size: 30-50 feet tall, 30-40 feet wide
  • Type: Deciduous
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Botanical Name: Salix babylonica

12. Red Maple

Ideal for those desiring quick-growing shade, Red Maples dazzle with their vibrant autumn colors and are versatile enough to thrive in various soil conditions.

Their rapid growth and broad canopy provide extensive shade efficiently.

  • USDA Growing Zone: 3-9
  • Average Mature Size: 40-60 feet tall, 30-50 feet wide
  • Type: Deciduous
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Botanical Name: Acer rubrum

13. Prairie Expedition® Elm Tree

Specially bred for resilience, Prairie Expedition® Elm Tree quickly forms a lush, vase-shaped canopy that provides ample shade.

Its resistance to Dutch elm disease and adaptability to urban environments make it a hardy and appealing choice for city plantings.

  • USDA Growing Zone: 3-9
  • Average Mature Size: 55-60 ft. tall, 35-40 ft. wide
  • Type: Deciduous
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Botanical Name: Ulmus americana ‘Lewis & Clark’

14. Tulip Poplar

With its towering height and unique tulip-shaped flowers, the Tulip Poplar is not only a fast grower but also a stunning feature in any landscape.

It provides broad, cooling shade quickly, making it an excellent choice for expansive spaces.

  • USDA Growing Zone: 4-9
  • Average Mature Size: 70-90 feet tall, 35-50 feet wide
  • Type: Deciduous
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Botanical Name: Liriodendron tulipifera

15. American Linden

Favored for its dense foliage and fragrant spring flowers, American Linden is a fast-growing tree that quickly provides extensive shade and a lush, green haven.

It thrives in urban settings due to its tolerance to pollution and compact soil.

  • USDA Growing Zone: 3-9
  • Average Mature Size: 60-80 feet tall, 30-50 feet wide
  • Type: Deciduous
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Botanical Name: Tilia americana

16. Allee™ Chinese Elm

With its graceful vase shape and exfoliating bark, Allee™ Chinese Elm is a visually striking choice that grows quickly to provide dense shade.

It is highly tolerant to urban conditions, making it a favorite for city planting.

  • USDA Growing Zone: 5-10
  • Average Mature Size: 40-60 feet tall, 35-50 feet wide
  • Type: Deciduous
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Botanical Name: Ulmus parvifolia ‘Emer II’

17. Ginkgo

Known for its unique fan-shaped foliage and striking golden fall color, Ginkgo rapidly establishes a broad, protective canopy, making it a prime choice for public and residential areas alike.

Its resilience to environmental stress and urban pollution enhances its value as a shade provider.

  • USDA Growing Zone: 3-8
  • Average Mature Size: 50-80 feet tall, 30-40 feet wide
  • Type: Deciduous
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Botanical Name: Ginkgo biloba

18. Dawn Redwood

Rapidly reaching skyward heights, Dawn Redwood establishes a commanding presence in any landscape with its conical shape and vibrant copper fall foliage.

Cherished as a deciduous conifer, it provides extensive shade quickly and is ideal for large spaces.

  • USDA Growing Zone: 4-8
  • Average Mature Size: 70-100 feet tall, 15-25 feet wide
  • Type: Deciduous
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Botanical Name: Metasequoia glyptostroboides

19. Gumbo-Limbo

Gumbo-Limbo is a fast-growing tree that quickly establishes a broad canopy, perfect for creating ample shade in warm climates.

Often called the “tourist tree” for its red, peeling bark, it is remarkably resilient to wind and salt, making it a favored choice in coastal areas.

  • USDA Growing Zone: 10-12
  • Average Mature Size: 40-60 feet tall, 20-30 feet wide
  • Type: Deciduous
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Botanical Name: Bursera simaruba

20. Sycamore

Known for its massive stature and broad, mottled bark, Sycamore grows rapidly to provide extensive shade.

This tree excels in urban environments, tolerating pollution and compacted soils while offering a cooling respite with its large, lush leaves.

  • USDA Growing Zone: 4-9
  • Average Mature Size: 75-100 feet tall, 50-70 feet wide
  • Type: Deciduous
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Botanical Name: Platanus occidentalis

21. Thuja ‘Green Giant’

Rapidly reaching impressive heights, Thuja ‘Green Giant’ serves as an excellent choice for quick, year-round shade and privacy.

Its vigorous growth and dense evergreen foliage ensure a lush, natural barrier perfect for any landscape needing fast coverage.

  • USDA Growing Zone: 5-9
  • Average Mature Size: 50-60 feet tall, 12-20 feet wide
  • Type: Evergreen
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Botanical Name: Thuja standishii x plicata ‘Green Giant’

22. American Elm

Perfect for large street-side plantings, American Elm quickly rises to form a high, arching canopy of dense foliage that provides cooling shade.

This tree is known for its classic vase-shaped profile and has shown resilience against diseases with new cultivars.

  • USDA Growing Zone: 2-9
  • Average Mature Size: 60-80 feet tall, 40-70 feet wide
  • Type: Deciduous
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Botanical Name: Ulmus americana

23. Northern Red Oak

Celebrated for its stately form and vibrant fall colors, Northern Red Oak is a splendid choice for those desiring swift growth and expansive shade.

This hardy tree adapts well to a variety of soil conditions, enhancing urban and suburban landscapes alike.

  • USDA Growing Zone: 3-8
  • Average Mature Size: 60-75 feet tall, 45-50 feet wide
  • Type: Deciduous
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Botanical Name: Quercus rubra

24. Red Sunset Maple

Ideal for adding a splash of color, Red Sunset Maple is a fast-grower known for its vibrant red foliage in autumn.

This variety excels in providing dense shade quickly, making it a favorite for residential and park settings.

  • USDA Growing Zone: 4-8
  • Average Mature Size: 40-50 feet tall, 30-40 feet wide
  • Type: Deciduous
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Botanical Name: Acer rubrum ‘Franksred’

25. Pin Oak

Renowned for its pyramidal shape and deeply lobed leaves, Pin Oak rapidly establishes a striking, dense canopy ideal for extensive shade.

This tree thrives in moist, acidic soils, making it a popular choice for landscaping in both urban and rural settings.

  • USDA Growing Zone: 4-8
  • Average Mature Size: 60-70 feet tall, 25-40 feet wide
  • Type: Deciduous
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Botanical Name: Quercus palustris

26. Paper Birch

Celebrated for its striking white bark and delicate foliage, Paper Birch quickly establishes a cooling canopy, making it an attractive option for those seeking both beauty and shade.

This tree thrives in cooler climates and adds a distinctive touch with its peeling texture.

  • USDA Growing Zone: 2-6
  • Average Mature Size: 50-70 feet tall, 20-35 feet wide
  • Type: Deciduous
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Botanical Name: Betula papyrifera

27. Sun Valley Maple

Sun Valley Maple (Acer rubrum ‘Sun Valley’) tree
Image via Nature Hills

With its compact and symmetrical canopy, Sun Valley Maple provides vibrant red fall foliage and quick-growing shade without the mess of seeds.

This selection is highly appreciated for its uniform growth pattern and adaptability to a range of soil types.

  • USDA Growing Zone: 4-7
  • Average Mature Size: 40-50 feet tall, 30-35 feet wide
  • Type: Deciduous
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Botanical Name: Acer rubrum ‘Sun Valley’

28. Siouxland Poplar Tree

Offering swift shade and privacy, this tree grows up to 6 feet per year, quickly establishing a dense, leafy canopy.

It’s perfect for both urban and rural settings, providing a natural, cooling barrier and enhancing landscape aesthetics with its tall, wide spread.

  • USDA Growing Zone: Hardy down to -30℉; suitable for zones 3-9
  • Average Mature Size: 90 ft. tall, 40 ft. wide
  • Type: Deciduous
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Botanical Name: Populus deltoides ‘Siouxland’

29. Princeton American Elm Tree

With rapid growth and an elegant, vase-like silhouette, this tree offers an impressive display of lush foliage, making it an ideal choice for large, sweeping landscapes.

Resistant to Dutch elm disease, it combines durability with beauty, providing a reliable and stately source of shade for decades.

  • USDA Growing Zone: 3-9
  • Average Mature Size: 50-70 ft. tall, 30-50 ft. wide
  • Type: Deciduous
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Botanical Name: Ulmus americana ‘Princeton’

30. Shademaster Honeylocust Tree

Perfect for urban environments, this tree is not only fast-growing but also tolerant of pollution and compact soil.

It features fine, feathery leaves that create dappled shade, making it an excellent choice for those looking to soften sunlight without completely blocking it.

This tree is also known for its minimal seed pod production, keeping cleanup to a minimum.

  • USDA Growing Zone: 3-9
  • Average Mature Size: 30-70 ft. tall, 30-70 ft. wide
  • Type: Deciduous
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Botanical Name: Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis ‘Shademaster’

31. Quaking Aspen

Quaking Aspen is renowned for its shimmering leaves and the soothing rustling sound they produce, enhancing any setting with its presence.

It grows quickly to form dense stands that provide ample shade and are particularly striking in autumn with their vibrant golden foliage.

  • USDA Growing Zone: 1-6
  • Average Mature Size: 20-50 feet tall, 10-30 feet wide
  • Type: Deciduous
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Botanical Name: Populus tremuloides

32. EXCLAMATION!™ London Planetree

This standout variety captivates with its distinctive, exfoliating bark and broad, hearty leaves that cast ample shade.

Suited for larger spaces, it grows robustly and is remarkably resistant to pollution and diseases, making it a resilient choice for urban landscapes seeking a blend of aesthetic appeal and functional shade.

  • USDA Growing Zone: 4-8
  • Average Mature Size: 50-60 ft. tall, 35-45 ft. wide
  • Type: Deciduous
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Botanical Name: Platanus x acerifolia ‘Morton Circle’

33. River Birch

River Birch stands out with its peeling, cinnamon-colored bark and ability to quickly form a dense shade canopy.

Ideal for moist, acidic soils, it is a resilient choice that easily adapts to various landscape conditions, including wet areas.

  • USDA Growing Zone: 4-9
  • Average Mature Size: 40-70 feet tall, 25-35 feet wide
  • Type: Deciduous
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Botanical Name: Betula nigra

34. Bald Cypress

Ideal for wet areas, Bald Cypress establishes itself quickly, forming a majestic and stately presence in the landscape.

Renowned for its ability to thrive in standing water, this tree’s feathery foliage turns a stunning rusty orange in fall, enhancing its appeal as a fast-growing shade provider.

  • USDA Growing Zone: 4-11
  • Average Mature Size: 50-70 feet tall, 20-30 feet wide
  • Type: Deciduous
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Botanical Name: Taxodium distichum

Want More?

Fast-growing trees are an excellent choice for those looking to quickly enhance their landscape with lush, expansive canopies that provide ample shade and visual appeal.

For more targeted needs, fast-growing privacy trees offer a natural screen, growing swiftly to create secluded and peaceful environments.

Additionally, tall and skinny privacy trees are ideal for tighter spaces, where they rise gracefully to provide privacy without overtaking the area.

Explore our guides on each to find the perfect fit for your gardening and landscaping projects.



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Lakeisha Ethans

Heritage Gardener with Grafting Expertise

Lakeisha grew up in East Africa, literally surrounded by nature which sparked her interest in learning more about trees and plants from a very young age. She belongs to a family of gardeners, so for her, gardening is a way of life, a tradition she’s proud to uphold. As a self-taught gardener, Lakeisha has successfully grafted trees to produce hybrids for gardens and landscapes. When she’s not gardening, she’s writing about her experience with nature or watching baking fails!