Illinois plants and trees must be hardy in USDA zones 4-6, the zones found in that state, in order to grow properly. Trees in those zones are prime for planting in Illinois due to their quick growth; the gardener can see fast results and the tree can reach maturity faster before storms have a chance to wipe them out.
The boxelder or ash-leaf maple, known botanically as the Acer negundo from the maple family, is an easy-to-grow, fast-growing tree. It will get up to 50 feet tall with compound leaves that are light yellow, maturing to green, then yellow-brown in the fall. It can reach 15 feet tall in only 4 to 5 years. Grow in full sun and moist soil. Propagate via seed or cuttings in USDA hardiness zones 2-9.
The red maple or swamp maple, known botanically as the Acer rubrum from the maple family, is a fast-growing wetland tree. Leaves are deciduous. It may get 120 feet tall but typically is 40 to 50 feet tall. Grow in full sun or partial shade in any soil. Propagate via cuttings in USDA hardiness zones 4-9.
The river birch, known botanically as the Betula nigra from the birch family, is a fast-growing tree. It gets 50 to 70 feet tall with red-brown bark. Leaves are glossy and 3 inches long, turning yellow in fall. Grow in full sun or partial shade in moist acidic soils. Propagate via seeds or cuttings in USDA hardiness zones 4-9.
The silver maple or white maple, known botanically as the Acer saccharinum from the maple family, is an easy-to-grow, fast-growing tree. It gets 60 to 80 feet tall. Leaves are green on top and silver on bottom and deciduous. Those leaves turn a rich red or yellow in the autumn. Grow in full sun or partial shade in moist well drained soil conditions. Propagate via cuttings or seed in USDA hardiness zones 4-8.
The paper birch or canoe birch, known botanically as Betula papyrifera from the birch family, gets 50 to 70 feet tall on average with some hitting 100 feet in height. Leaves on this fast-growing tree are 2 to 3 inches long, turning from green to yellow or orange in autumn. Chalky bark can rub off easily and looks like layers of paper. Grow in full sun or partial shade with regular watering. Propagate via seed or cuttings in USDA hardiness zones 2-7.
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