What are fast-growing shade trees, and what are the benefits of adding these to my yard?
Fast-growing shade trees do exactly what they say on the tin – grow fast and provide shade for your yard.
Besides looking great and rather picturesque, other benefits of fast-growing shade trees include reduced energy bills, increased privacy, a cooler yard during summer, and great shelter from the sun for both you, the kids and finally any pets.
However, it doesn’t end there. Adding trees to your yard will reduce noise pollution, increase the value of your home, and have your yard looking perfect for summer.
What’s not to love?
This article will discuss everything you need to know about fast-growing trees, including the most popular types of tree, why you should plant shade trees, and how these trees can reduce energy costs.
Related: 10 Compelling reasons why you need trees.
Let’s begin with what shades trees grow fast.
What shade trees grow fast?
There is a wide variety of different shade trees out there, with a large percentage of these growing at a rather fast rate.
1. Ficus Nitida
The Ficus Nitida grows anywhere from twelve to twenty-four inches each year. These trees are great for blocking out the sun and providing shade, growing to a maximum height of approximately sixty-inches.
- Fast growing dense evergreen foliage
- Great tree for privacy, screening from golf balls, and sound barrier
- Handles pruning to almost any shape and size
- Handles summer heat very well and thrives in desert environments
A Tipu tree is a South-American tree, also called Tipuana Tipu. These shade trees grow to a maximum of roughly fifty inches, but grow a little slower than the Ficus Nitida at around five inches per year.
- Fast growing shade tree
- Shows coat of golden blooms in late Spring
- Thrives in intense desert heat and cold
- Great where a high canopy is desired
3. Majestic Ash
The Majestic Ash is a popular choice of shade tree, perhaps due to its beautiful appearance and low maintenance. However, this type of tree will grow an estimated eighteen to twenty-five inches per decade.
- Grafted- NO SEEDS!
- Medium to large sized shade tree
- Easy care trees
- Drought Resistant
Mesquite trees are the most common small trees/shrubs in the southwest. However, that does not go to say they aren’t big… these trees will grow up to fifty feet tall with a branch span of forty feet or more – the ultimate shade blocker, if we may.
- Extremely durable specimens custom grown for Western climates
- Tree bark fantastic for barbecue use
- Thornless variety of Mesquite
- Dark, textured trunk contrasts well with bright green foliage
5. Chinese Elm
Finally, we have the Chinese Elm. This tree originally found in Eastern Asia, including locations such as China, Taiwan, and Vietnam. These trees are taller than many, reaching roughly sixty to eighty feet tall, adding three-foot plus each year.
- Number 1 Choice for wide, umbrella shaped shade.
- Very dark green, attractive foliage, especially in Summer
- Canopy spreads fast, providing shade even at early age
- Loves growing in full sun, hot areas
How can shade trees help with energy savings?
As previously discussed, shade trees may contribute to increased energy savings.
However, why is this the case? This is possible in numerous ways, but includes a reduced need for air conditioning due to the increased shade in your yard, cooling down your home.
You’re probably thinking that’s great, but what about winter? Glad you asked! Winter is no different, semi-evergreen trees, in particular, allow the sun to shine through its beautiful canopies, warming your house up.
We recommend a mix of both evergreen trees and fast-growing shade trees for an optimal experience, increasing energy savings and increasing the value of your home.
How tall do you need a shade tree?
The majority of single-story houses range from eighteen to twenty-foot peak height. So, anything above twenty feet tall will provide optimal shade for your yard, cutting electricity costs, and allowing a cool place for the dog to lay or children to play – all without picking up a nasty sunburn.
We also have specimen trees which can be planted for an instant twenty-foot shade, a great way to start the summer.
To view our choice of specimen trees, click here.
Why plant shade trees?
There are various reasons to plant shade trees, whether you live in a particularly hot area and would like to cool down the yard, want to create a play area for both kids and pets out of the sun, or want to increase privacy and block out the neighbors.
We will now cover each of these points individually.
1. Cooling down your yard
Firstly, shade trees will cool down your yard. Generally, the taller the tree the more shade this will provide.
Great for those living in particularly hot places, this provides a great place to escape the sun into the shade – perhaps to read a book or to play with the kids.
2. Create play areas for kids and pets
As previously mentioned, adding shade trees to your yard will provide a safe place out of the sun for both your kids and pets to play. A great addition if you’re looking to add a play area or Wendy house.
3. To enjoy your yard that little bit more
In the peak of summer, or perhaps year-round, who doesn’t want to enjoy their yard a little more? Adding some character to your yard, even if this is evergreen trees allows it to become a much more enjoyable place to spend your time.
If that isn’t a good enough reason then perhaps increased house value may suffice?
4. Block out neighbors and increase privacy
Finally, fast-growing shade trees are a great way to block out your neighbors and to increase your privacy.
This can be especially popular for those without large garden fences or hedges, providing a much more beautiful and practical option.
Where to buy shade trees?
So, you’ve sold me… but where can I buy shade trees? Moon Valley Nurseries has some of the best shade trees around, following strict growing guidelines and sourced from only the best mother trees.
When and how to prune shade trees?
Once you’ve acquired some fast-growing shade trees, it’s important to take care of these to increase their life span and to promote healthy growth.
Many people seem to think both pruning and trimming a tree is the same thing. However, this is not the case.
Trimming is an overall clean-up of the tree, cutting away branches and leaves that are getting slightly out of hand.
Pruning, however, is greater concerned on the structure of the tree, removing branches and various other limbs of the tree to keep it up-right and growing healthily.
Generally, pruning a tree involves the following steps:
- Assessing the tree (look at both the height and the width)
- Identify the major branches
- Removing damaged branches and cutting areas with thick branches
- Pruning branches to help shape the tree, promoting healthy growth
Pruning tools include:
- Pruning shears
- Hedge shears
- Pole puncher
For more information on how to look after your trees, including pruning click here.
The bottom line
Adding fast-growing shade trees to your yard increase shade, provides a safe place out of the sun for both pets and kids to play, may increase the value of your home, and will reduce electricity costs.
To view our selection of fast-growing shade trees, please click here.