9 Fast-Growing Trees for Maryland (Including Shade Trees)

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Written By Shannon Campbell

Off-Grid Gardener & Food Forager

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Home » Maryland » 9 Fast-Growing Trees for Maryland (Including Shade Trees)

There is a selection of trees that grow faster than average, allowing you to have fully established trees in a matter of years.

Planting the fastest-growing trees in Maryland can provide a number of benefits, from filling out and beautifying your property quickly, to providing speedy and much-needed privacy screening, windbreaks, erosion control, etc.

These can include evergreen trees in Maryland, deciduous trees, flowering trees, and more!

9 Super Fast-Growing Trees That Thrive in Maryland

1. American Elm (Ulmus americana)

American elm
Image by Katja Schulz via Flickr

The majestic American elm is an ideal tree for MD gardeners who want large shade trees established on their property quickly. American elm trees can grow from 3 to 6 feet per year, reaching heights as high as 100 feet tall.

They also thrive in a broad range of climates and growing zones and require very little care and attention in order to grow well. Once fully grown, these elm trees can live as long as 300 years, providing shade for your family and generations to come.

These trees are beloved for their wide-reaching, graceful limbs, bright fall foliage, and distinctive diamond-fissured pale grey-brown bark. It is a classic symbol of Americana, as trees go.

Your American elm should be planted in an area with enough room for both the enormous spread of the tree branches and its extensive shallow root system. Plant it in full sun or partial shade. It can grow in varying soil types as long as the soil is moist.

  • Other Common Names: Soft Elm, White Elm, Water Elm
  • Growing Zones: 2-9
  • Average Size at Maturity: 40-100 feet tall, with a 30-70 foot spread
  • Flowering Season: Spring
  • Growth Rate: 3-6 ft per year*

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

2. Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera)

tulip poplar tree
Image by Melissa McMasters via Flickr

When they are young tulip poplars will grow at a rate of around 3 to 5 feet per year, and the further north and east they are planted the faster they will grow.

As they reach middle age their growth will slow down, eventually reaching anywhere between 70 to 130 feet tall. Due to their considerable height, you should ensure that you have the space on your property to accommodate these trees.

Tulip poplars are best grown as shade trees, due to their broad and symmetrical crowns, or ornamentals, because of their unique and showy green, yellow, and orange flowers and beautiful golden foliage in fall.

They can also be planted as lining for driveways as their foliage is neat and their roots are not disruptive.

Plant your tulip poplars in rich, moist, well-draining soil, though you do not need to be fussy about soil type as this tree is highly adaptable. Full sun is best with a moderate to acidic pH.

  • Other Common Names: Tulip Tree, Yellow Poplar
  • Growing Zones: 4-9
  • Average Size at Maturity: 70-130 feet tall, with a 30-60 foot spread
  • Flowering Season: Spring
  • Growth Rate: 3-5 ft per year*

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

3. Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda)

loblolly pine
Image by jalexartis Photography via Flickr

One of the most common trees found growing in the US, the Loblolly is also one of the fastest growing trees that can thrive in MD, able to grow as much as 2 to 3 feet per year.

It is one of the quickest ways to establish an effective privacy fence on your property. They will eventually reach between 60 and 90 feet tall when fully grown.

Keep in mind that the Loblolly thrives in zones 6 to 9, so while it is compatible with most regions of Maryland, gardeners residing near the borders of Virginia and West Virginia, and some parts of Garrett County may struggle to grow the Loblolly successfully.

These attractive pine trees are of the ‘set and forget’ type, requiring relatively little care and maintenance once they are established.

Plant your trees in moist, well-draining soil (they will grow in a variety of soil types as long as they are not boggy and overly wet), with an acidic pH, and in an area with full sun.

  • Other Common Names: Arkansas Pine, Oldfield Pine, North Carolina Pine
  • Growing Zones: 6-9
  • Average Size at Maturity: 60-90 feet tall, with a 25-35 foot spread
  • Fruiting Season: Early Fall
  • Growth Rate: 2-3 ft per year*

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

4. Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus)

eastern white pine
Image by James St. John via Flickr

Another hardy and fast-growing pine, this large, graceful evergreen has a wide-spreading, pyramidal habit and when it isn’t being used as a Christmas tree ornamental it is often grown as a windbreak, hedging, and as a shade tree.

It also makes an attractive specimen or background tree.

The Eastern White pine is initially quite slow growing for its first 2 or 3 years, but once it is a small sapling it will begin growing rapidly, with a growth rate of approximately 2 to 3 feet per year for the next 10-15 years before slowing down. These trees will continue to grow slowly for up to 200 years.

When planting these pines choose a location with acidic, well-draining soil in a location with full sun.

If you are living in warmer growing zones such as 7 or 8, consider providing partial shade to keep these pines cool. You can also do this by applying pine needle mulch to the roots.

  • Other Common Names: Northern White Pine, Soft Pine, North American White Pine, White Pine, Weymouth Pine
  • Growing Zones: 3-8
  • Average Size at Maturity: 50-80 feet tall, with a 20-40 foot spread
  • Fruiting Season: Fall
  • Growth Rate: 2-3 ft per year

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

5. Pin Oak (Quercus palustris)

Pin Oak (Quercus palustris) Tree, Leaves and Bark
Images by Fern Berg, Own Work, for Tree Vitalize

One of the fastest-growing oak trees in the US, the pin oak has a growth rate of around 2 to 3 feet per year, and can even reach up to 15 feet tall in the first five years in the right growing conditions.

The pin oak is an attractive choice for landscape gardening, with its glossy leaves, vivid fall foliage, and winter appeal. But more often than not they are grown as shade trees due to their dense foliage or as street trees.

If you choose to plant pin oaks as street trees, be mindful of the potential for diseases such as bacterial leaf scorch which can ravage groupings of pin oaks, according to the University of Kentucky’s College of Agriculture.

These trees are highly adaptable and can grow in sandy, loamy, or clay soil. Choose a location with rich, fertile, well-draining soil with an acidic pH and access to full sun or partial shade.

  • Other Common Names: Swamp Spanish Oak
  • Growing Zones: 4-8
  • Average Size at Maturity: 60-70 feet tall, with a 20-40 foot spread
  • Flowering Season: Spring
  • Growth Rate: 2-3 ft per year*

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

6. Common Bald Cypress (Taxodiun distichum)

common bald cypress
Image by Ben Cappellacci via Flickr

Unlike most conifers, which are evergreen, the common bald cypress is a deciduous tree that sheds in fall, hence the name “bald” cypress.

But by far the most striking attribute of this type of cypress is its broad, horizontal root growths that spread out from the base of the tree.

These are pneumatophores, often called “knees” due to their knobby appearance, and they appear when these trees grow in or near water.

Bald cypress grows at a rate of 2 to 3 feet every year, providing shade in just a few years. They are most often used in landscape gardening as shade trees, specimen trees, and planted near water features.

These trees are native to the southeast and commonly seen growing in swamps and rivers, though they can also grow in somewhat dry soil types.

They are highly adaptable to many soil types but they prefer moist, acidic, sandy soil, and should be planted in full sun or partial shade.

  • Other Common Names: Bald Cypress
  • Growing Zones: 4-10
  • Average Size at Maturity: 50-65 feet tall, with a 20-30 foot spread
  • Flowering Season: Spring
  • Growth Rate: 2-3 ft per year*

Available at: Nature Hills

7. Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos)

honey locust tree
Image by Frederick County Forestry via Flickr

Another native to the eastern US, the honey locust is a popular landscaping tree that can be found growing in moist areas such as valleys and riversides.

It is often planted as an ornamental tree due to its graceful, open foliage that turns a deep golden-yellow in fall. It is sometimes planted as a shade tree.

Not only is it useful as a fast-growing tree in Maryland, but it is also tolerant of urban pollution and relatively resistant to pests and disease.

For the first ten years of its life, the honey locust will grow approximately 2 feet (and sometimes more) per year. After that its growth will slow to a medium rate.

Plant your honey locust in a sunny location with plenty of space for its deep taproot, sprawling root system, and broad growing habit. Choose rich, moist, deep soil with a neutral or acidic pH.

  • Other Common Names: Thorny locust, Thorny honeylocust, Sweet locust
  • Growing Zones: 3-7
  • Average Size at Maturity: 30-75 feet tall, with a 50-foot spread
  • Flowering Season: Late Spring
  • Growth Rate: 2-3 ft per year*

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

8. Northern Red Oak (Quercus Rubra)

northern red oak tree
Image by Katja Schulz via Flickr

Another unusually fast-growing oak tree, the northern red oak is a midwestern native that can also thrive in every region of MD. It will grow 2-3 feet per year, eventually reaching average heights of 60 to 80 feet tall.

Take care when choosing these majestic trees for your property. They require a large amount of space and their root system can disrupt structures and lift up tile and asphalt.

Which can complicate things as they often for up to 500 years. While it is a beautiful choice of shade tree, it is not as suitable as a street tree.

Northern red oaks should be planted in rich, sandy, well-draining soil with an acidic pH and in a location with plenty of sunlight.

It is highly susceptible to oak wilt, according to the University of Minnesota’s Urban Forestry Outreach, so be mindful of the presence of oak wilt in your area before planting.

  • Other Common Names: Red Oak, Champion Oak, American Red Oak
  • Growing Zones: 3-8
  • Average Size at Maturity: 60-80 feet tall with a similar spread
  • Flowering Season: Spring
  • Growth Rate: 2-3 ft per year*

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

9. Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)

hackberry tree
Image by mogollon_1 via Flickr

A native tree to MD, the common hackberry can be found growing along streams and riverbanks throughout the state, according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources State Nursery.

They are known for their showy foliage, hardiness and adaptability, and small edible berries which also attract a range of wildlife. They are often grown as ornamental trees, street trees, and sometimes even shade trees.

Hackberry’s are fast-growing trees, but this speedy growth is often dependent on the right growing conditions and soil quality. In the right conditions, they can grow 1 to 2 feet per year, but in poor conditions and dry soil, they will grow less than a foot.

As mentioned, the hackberry is a hardy, low-maintenance tree that can grow in most soil types and pH levels. It prefers soil that is slightly moist and fertile and should be planted in full sun.

  • Other Common Names: Common Hackberry, Northern Hackberry, Nettletree, Sugarberry, Beaverwood
  • Growing Zones: 3-9
  • Average Size at Maturity: 50-75 feet tall, with a 25-40 foot spread
  • Fruiting Season: Fall
  • Growth Rate: 1-2 ft per year*

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

Maryland’s Fast Growing Trees Compared

Tree NameGrowing ZonesAverage Size at MaturityGrowth Rate
American Elm2-940-100 feet tall, 30-70 foot spread3-6 ft per year
Tulip Poplar4-970-130 feet tall, 30-60 foot spread3-5 ft per year
Loblolly Pine6-960-90 feet tall, 25-35 foot spread2-3 ft per year
Eastern White Pine3-850-80 feet tall, 20-40 foot spread2-3 ft per year
Pin Oak4-860-70 feet tall, 20-40 foot spread2-3 ft per year
Common Bald Cypress4-1050-65 feet tall, 20-30 foot spread2-3 ft per year
Honey Locust3-730-75 feet tall, 50-foot spread2-3 ft per year
Northern Red Oak3-860-80 feet tall, similar spread2-3 ft per year
Hackberry3-950-75 feet tall, 25-40 foot spread1-2 ft per year
*Growth rates are approximations; actual performance varies with climate, soil, and care.

Fast-Growing Trees For Any Maryland Landscape

For MD gardeners who want to establish landscape trees quickly, you can’t go wrong with these fast-growing trees. Whether you need shade for hot summer days or some suburban privacy for your family, there are plenty of options that will suit your needs.

Just be sure to check out the planting zones in Maryland, and make note of ideal growing conditions for your trees. Certain trees on this list, such as the common hackberry and pin oak, will experience stunted growth if planted in poor soil or in the wrong hardiness zones.

Careful research and preparation will ensure healthy trees that grow quickly on your MD property.

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Shannon Campbell

Off-Grid Gardener & Food Forager

Shannon has always loved looking after trees and plants since as long as she can remember. She grew up gardening with her family in their off-grid home and looking after her neighbor's plant nursery. As a child she also participated in native tree replanting, and as an adult has volunteered in reforestation programs in northern Vietnam. Today, she puts her horticultural efforts into tending her vegetable and herb gardens, and learning about homesteading and permaculture. When she’s not reading, writing, and gardening, she’ll be out fishing and foraging for edible flora and fungi in the countryside around her home.

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