Quick growing shade trees can be used in gardens, yards, city streets and parks. These trees grow from one to several feet per year. Use caution because the wood of some quick-growing trees is soft and weak because of the rapid growth. The tree may also suffer from disease or insect damage.
The green ash tree is one of the most widespread of all American ashes according to "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Trees of the World" by Tony Russell, Catherine Cutler and Martin Walters. A fast-growing tree, it is used for land reclamation, as a wind break and for shade along city streets. The tree reaches a height of 80 feet. The bark is gray-brown with vertical ridges. The leaves are dark green and glossy. The small purple flowers appear before the leaves in the spring.
The silver maple is a medium-sized tree ranging in height from 50 to 80 feet. A quick-growing tree, the tree is planted for shade and as an ornamental tree. The limbs are brittle and break easily in storms, according to "The Field Guide to Trees of North American" by the National Wildlife Federation. The bark is gray and smooth when young, becoming flaky when mature. The leaves are pale green and dull. The red flowers, which turn greenish yellow, appear before the leaves in the spring.
The American sycamore tree has a heavy, spreading crown that provides cool shade in the summer months. The tree grows to a height of 100 feet, according to "Trees" by Colin Ridsdale. The bark has a camouflage look and is mottled brown, green and white. The bark flakes off, revealing a white underbark. The leaves are shiny green. The flowers are deep red and appear in the spring.