Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

The Best Fast Growing Shade Trees

By Tracy Morris ; Updated September 21, 2017
Willow trees have a drooping habit that is striking.

One of the best ways to reduce heating and cooling costs is to plant shade trees around your home. Shade trees shield your home from the sun’s punishing rays in summer and provide a break from the wind in winter. For a new home, a fast growing shade tree can improve your heating and cooling bills within a few years.

Bradford Pears

Bradford pears are one of the most popular shade tree choices by landscapers because the tree’s dense growth habit can provide shade for smaller lots. Additionally, the tree will grow well in all soil types although the it prefers well-drained, loamy soil and full sun. The tree produces a striking display of white flowers in early spring. It produces small, red fruits that attract birds to a yard. Bradford pear trees live approximately 30 to 40 years, and may grow to about 40 foot tall and wide.

Pin Oak

The pin oak is a fast-growing variety of oak with multiple branches and a pyramid-shaped canopy. The leaves on a pin oak are leathery and deeply lobed with a pin-like tip that gives the tree its name. Pin oaks require full sun, but will grow well in all soil types from dry and sandy to clay and damp. A mature pin oak may reach 80 foot tall and 50 foot wide. A pin oak may hold its leaves throughout winter.

Silver Maple

A silver maple is a fast growing maple that produces greenish yellow to red flowers in spring followed by maple leaves. Silver maples will grow in full sun and a wide range of soils. The tree can be tapped for sap to make maple syrup, and produces leaves with five lobes. The leaves have a silver underside that gives silver maple its name. Silver maples are vigorous feeders and a silver maple planted near a septic system is known to disrupt septic lines.


Willow trees are known for leaves that grow from soft, springy branches that drape toward the ground. The plant’s drooping habit has earned the tree the nickname ‘weeping willow.’ Willow trees have a short trunk and a broad crown. Mature trees may reach 50 foot high and 40 foot across. The tree grows best along river banks and ponds where the roots can seek out water. If planted in the landscape, the tree is known for invasive roots that will disrupt sewer and water lines in their search for water. Willows are deciduous trees that prefer full sun, but are among the first to produce leaves and the last to drop their leaves in fall.


About the Author


Tracy Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Arkansas.