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Gardening Answers Knowledgebase

Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Shade trees, Fast growing trees, Ornamental trees, Acer

We are looking for a tree to plant in our backyard to provide some shade. We live in a location that gets lots of sun. We want something that will grow quickly, develop a canopy that we can walk under, will get approximately 20-30 feet tall, 15-20 feet wide, and not need a lot of water. Evergreen is probably out of the question. Any suggestions?


I think that your best bet may be a maple. Three maple species surfaced that meet your criteria of a quick growing, 20-30 feet tall tree with an equal or greater spread, that will do well in the sun.

--Acer circinatum, the vine maple (the only downside--this may be a bit shrubby for your landscape)
--Acer ginnala, the Amur maple
--Acer palmatum, the Japanese maple (you'll need to be choosy in order to find a cultivar that will reach 20-30 feet, but there are some that do. Additionally, A. palmatum will tolerate drier soils than A. circinatum.)

The Pacific Northwest Gardener's Book of Lists , R. & J. McNeilan, 1997, p. 18, 27, 30.
Tree & Shrub Gardening for Washington and Oregon , A. Beck & M. Binetti, 2001, p. 244-249.
Trees & Shrubs for Northwest Gardens , J. A. Grant & C. L. Grant, 1990, p. 56-58.

Date 2016-12-02
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April 11 2017 13:50:16