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Fast Growing Trees in Minnesota

maple image by Pavel Vlasov from

For those of us who are impatient, the thought of waiting 20 years or more for a nice shade tree to grow in our yard seems impossible. The good news is we don’t have to wait. A number of fast-growing Minnesota trees can quickly add shade to your yard as well as adding beauty and value to your home. Choose from several Minnesota-native trees that would make a nice addition to your landscape.


Black and green ash, both native to Minnesota, are listed as fast-growing trees on the University of Minnesota Extension Web site. Both varieties grow to a height of 50 to 75 feet. Green ash trees are generally preferred because they keep their leaves longer in cool weather. They turn a pretty yellow in the fall.


Boxelder is generally not considered a desirable tree. The large quantity of seeds the tree produces tend to attract boxelder bugs. The boxedler grows fast, however, and it is a hardy tree that grows where others will not.


The cottonwood tree can reach up to 100 feet high. Some stay away from the tree or choose a male tree because the female cottonwood produces quite a bit of cottony seed, which may become a nuisance in the yard.


Both the red and the silver maple grow rather quickly. They are attractive trees that produce pretty fall leaves, ranging from red to yellow in color. The silver maple grows taller, from 75 to 100 feet, while the red maple reaches heights from 40 to 70 feet. Silver maples are short-lived trees; a red maple will last longer.

American Mountain Ash

The American mountain ash, small and quick-growing, averages heights of 15 to 30 feet. It produces red fruit and has yellow, orange or red leaves in fall. American mountain ash trees are vulnerable to fireblight.

Red Oak

With its reputation for good fall color and its fast growing habit, red oak makes a nice addition to the landscape. It may be planted from seed, right in the location you want the grown oak tree. It grows quickly to heights of 40 to 75 feet, but is susceptible to oak wilt.


Jack pine and red pine are known as fast growers. Both require acidic soil, but are not particular about how fertile the soil is; they will grow just fine in dry, infertile soil. The jack pine can reach a height of 70 feet, while the red may grow up to 100 feet.

Balsam Poplar

The balsam poplar, with leaves that shimmer in gentle breezes, is also fast-growing. It may reach from 40 to 70 feet at maturity.

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