If you’re looking to add a fast growing tree to your yard that’ll do well in Texas, you have a few options. Trees are long-term investments, but these five species don’t require you to wait a while to get benefits like additional shade in your yard, more privacy, and higher property value.
These are native to Texas and naturally occur in standing water around lakes and rivers, but they’ll do well in any moderately moist soil.
Bald Cypresses grow up to a couple of feet every year, so they’re not the fastest growing tree on this list. They’ll probably reach a height of around 50-70 feet, but they’ve been known to grow as tall as 120. Expect a width of 20 or 30 feet—so they’re likely to add shade to your property.
Bald Cypresses are fairly low maintenance. They’re probably not going to die as long as they don’t encounter a drought too early in their development. Their needles also turn a nice shade of red in the fall that’ll add some color to your yard.
The Green Ash grows two feet or more each year. It can reach its maximum height of 60 or 70 feet in 25 years. It’s fairly dense, and all that foliage will cast plenty of shade. You can also look forward to yearly flowers that add ornamental value.
Here in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, we’re close to the western edge of the Green Ash’s native range, but it grows pretty easily in most soils.
One thing to be aware of is the Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive pest from Asia that can kill ash trees. They’re a bigger problem on the East Coast, but they’ve been spotted in a few counties in Texas and you’ll want to keep an eye out for them.
Like the Green Ash, the Live Oak will grow 2 or 2 ½ feet a year. It grows fastest in its youth, and then slows down as it gets older.
Live Oaks are one of the most popular trees to plant in Texas, and for good reason: they’re drought resistant and easy to care for, and their large, twisting limbs provide a ton of shade—it’s not unusual for a Live Oak to reach a width of 100 feet.
Because of that width, you want to make sure to give a live oak room to grow. Avoid packing one in too close to other trees.
These are smaller than the other trees on this list, but they grow just as fast or faster (around 2 feet a year), so they can reach their maximum height of 40 feet fairly quickly.
Cherry laurels are not going to give you the same amount of shade, but they have their own advantages. This glossy evergreen has an off-white flower with a pleasant odor. Birds also love their cherry fruit, which ripens in the fall (but be aware the fruit is toxic to humans). Finally, they’re drought resistant and don’t mind the shade, so getting one to grow shouldn’t be too much of a challenge.
This species is native to the Chicago area, but does very well in North Texas. It grows fast. Look for 3-6 feet of new growth each year, eventually reaching a height of around 50 or 60 feet, depending on conditions.
They’re canopy has a nice fountain-like shape that spreads far (30-60 feet) and provides a lot of shade. The golden yellow color their leaves take on in the fall is another reason for their popularity.
One big advantage for the American Elm in Texas: the Dutch Elm disease, which has destroyed a lot of elms in other parts of the country, isn’t as widespread here. Overall, they’re a hardy tree that won’t mind some temperature variance.
Ask an Arborist if You Have Questions About Fast Growing Trees
Remember, you’ll probably want to consult with an arborist during the selection process. They’ll be able to tell you which fast growing trees are best for the soil type and available space in your yard. A certified arborist can also help you with installation, and, of course, maintenance.