Wanted: Fast Growing Shade Tree

October 27, 2008 | By | Comments (3)

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?
Thanks, Andree

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



  1. Debra Bergeron

    What’s the best way to rejuvenate dwarf ardesia?

    April 6, 2009 at 2:02 pm
  2. Jade

    I need a fast growing shade tree for a Zone 5 area we live in the desert of Colorado

    June 23, 2009 at 6:52 pm
  3. Grumpy Gardener aka His Excellency

    The first candidate that comes to mind is Western cottonwood (Populus fremontii), although it develops surface roots and female trees produce messy, cottony seeds. ‘Nevada’ is a male selection that doesn’t seed. Chinese elm (see above) is a better tree. You might also try hackberry (Celtis occidentalis), Chinese pistache (Pistacia chinensis), and Kentucky coffee tree (Gymnocladus dioicus). For more info on shade trees for Colorado, click this link: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/ptlk/1715.html

    June 24, 2009 at 11:17 am