Adding trees to the North Carolina landscape means picking specimens that will thrive in USDA hardiness zones six through eight--those found in North Carolina. Fast-growing trees give the added benefit of reaching maturity at an accelerated rate over normal-growth trees. These trees can add definition and character, and fill in the yard quickly.
The Eastern redcedar or southern redcedar, botanically named Juniperus virginiana, from the cypress family, is a fragrant evergreen tree that is fast-growing and attractive to song birds. It will grow 40 to 50 feet tall with red-brown bark. Plant this tree in an area with full sun or partial shade, and water regularly. Propagate via seed in USDA hardiness zones three through nine.
The sweetgum or redgum, botanically named Liquidambar styraciflua, from the witch-hazel family, is a fast-growing tree. It will grow to more than 100 feet in height. The sweetgum's leaves are star-like, deciduous and 4 to 7 inches wide. It's fruits are hardy, spiny circles that hold seeds. Plant a sweetgum in a full-sun or filtered-shade area with a moist, well-drained soil. Propagate via seed in USDA hardiness zones five through nine.
The Yoshino cherry or Potomac cherry, botanically named Prunus x yedoensis, from the rose family is a fast-growing tree that reaches 20 to 40 feet tall. Flowers are pink in the beginning but turn white, and blooms appear in March and April. Plant a Yoshino cherry in full sun, or it will also tolerate partial shade. Soil should be well-drained, rich and moist for ultimate growth. Propagate via cuttings in USDA hardiness zones five through eight.
The staghorn sumac or velvet sumac, botanically named Rhus typhina, from the cashew family, is a fast-growing tree that is attractive to birds. It grows to 25 to 35 feet tall and has a shrubby growth. Fruits are red berries that last fall through winter. Plant a staghorn sumac in full sun in moist or dry soil. Propagate via cuttings in USDA hardiness zones four through eight.
The weeping willow, botanically named Salix babylonica, from the willow family, is a fast-growing wetland tree. Branches arch with deciduous olive green leaves up to 6 inches long. It can grow to 50 feet tall and 50 feet wide. Plant a weeping willow in moist soil in bright sun. Propagate via cuttings in USDA hardiness zones four through nine.