Fast Growing Water Trees for New York

New York has many wet areas where gardeners have trouble finding just the right fast growing trees to plant. Choose trees that enhance the value of your land and flow well with the surrounding vegetation for the most impact. Deciding on fast growing trees that are helpful to wildlife is yet another item to consider when shopping.

River Birch

The river birch (Betula nigra) can quickly grow to 100 feet in height, although a height of 60 to 70 feet is more commonplace. The tree produces serrated, diamond-shaped leaves that are medium to dark green. During the fall, the foliage turns yellow before falling quickly to the ground. The river birch has salmon-colored outer bark that peels back, revealing a creamy white inner bark. It also excels at growing in low, wet problematic areas. It's an excellent choice for winter interests, as the bark peels back in an appealing manner. Grow the river birch as a specimen tree, along rivers and ponds or as an informal living fence. Provide the roots a shaded area while keeping its upper area in full sun. Apply a thick layer of mulch to keep soil shaded and prevent drying out. Once established, the birch will tolerate drier soils. River birch prefers moist areas rich in organic matter. It's winter hardy to USDA zone 4.

Laurel Willow

Growing quickly to around 45 feet in height with a spread of 36 feet, the laurel willow (Salix pentandra) remains of manageable size when fully mature. This tree offers wildlife suitable habitat for food and shelter. Its dark green, 3 ½-inch long leaves cast a dense shade that's suitable for pastures and play areas. In areas prone to drying out, provide a thick layer of mulch and water when the soil dries out. For the best possible growth, plant laurel willows in an area with plenty of organic matter, high moisture and full sun. Avoid planting near septic systems, as willow roots spread wide searching out sources of water. Broken limbs root easily in a glass of water or moist potting soil. Laurel willows are winter hardy to USDA zone 3.


Choose a sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) for its quick growth, massive presence and attractively irregular mature spread. Growing quickly to 90 feet with a potential spread of 70 feet, this is a hefty tree suitable for large yards and acreage. Sycamore tree bark peels attractively, adding yet another positive quality to the tree. For sycamores to look their best, thin unwanted and damaged limbs when young. The goal is to have a strong trunk with a few strong and healthy limbs at maturity. Plant sycamores in damp areas--in areas lacking this type of soil, amend by tilling in leaves, composts and other water retentive plant matter. Mulch each tree well. Horse, cow, chicken and goat manure provide additional fertilizer. Provide full sun and water. Although sycamores grow in dry grounds, they are short-lived there. Avoid planting near sidewalks, as the roots cause damage. Sycamore trees are winter hardy to USDA zone 4.

Keywords: new york trees, trees for ponds, wet feet trees

About this Author

Izzy McPhee has been a freelance writer since 1999. Her work appears on GardenGuides, eHow and her blog, FrugalGardeningMomma. She writes about gardening, nature conservation, pond care, aquariums, child care, family, living on a budget and do-it-yourself projects. Her paintings have appeared in the well-known gallery The Country Store Gallery in Austin, Texas.