Dear Grumpy Gardener,
I live in Ville Platte, La. Located in the center of the state. I need a fast growing tree that will grow next to a patio and provide shade. I have crepe myrtles and river birch trees in other areas of my yard so I am looking for something different. Do you have any suggestions?
A:The Grump recommends you try Chinese elm (Ulmus parviflora). It grows fast, has attractive bark and foliage, takes Southern growing conditions very well, and has few pests. It grows 40 to 60 feet tall. ‘Drake’ has a spreading umbrella shape and should be semi-evergreen in your area. ‘Allee’ is vase-shaped and deciduous. Choose named selections such as these over unnamed seedlings.
Here’s a link to more information about this tree: msucares.com/lawn/garden/msgardens/03/030707.html