Pretty Privacy: Shade Trees That Grow Quickly

There are a number of ways to create privacy in your yard, but the prettiest of them all is to plant a shade tree. Trees provide shelter from the sun and also block your neighbours’ view so you can relax in your yard in peace. Fast growing shade trees can grow taller than 50 feet in 20 to 30 years, where other trees take twice as long to reach maturity. Scout a location in your yard away from utility lines and other homes and check out this map to see which hardiness zone you’re located in. Always make sure to look into local restrictions before planting, as some trees are considered invasive. Take a look at our favourite shade trees that grow quickly! 

1. Cottonwoods (Zones 3 to 9) 

Cottonwood trees are known for offering ample shade and people love their cotton like seeds. Growing three to four feet each year, they reach up to 70 feet tall and thrive in full sun, or partial shade and well-drained soil. In nature, they grow along rivers, ponds and other bodies of water, but they gained popularity as a landscape tree due to their abundance of shade, helping to cool down homes and streets.

2. European Black Alder (Zones 4 to 8)

The European Black Alder is a member of the birch family and is native to Europe and western Asia. It has an extensive root system that can grow to over 16 feet, so make sure not to plant it near sidewalks or sewer lines. It grows in a narrow upright shape to a height of up to 50 feet, and thrives in damp soil with full sun or partial shade. 

3. Bald Cypress (Zones 4 to 9)

The Bald Cypress has a flared trunk base, and contrary to its name, is not actually bald. Its foliage consists of needles instead of leaves, turning russet red in late fall before dropping to expose reddish-brown bark. It grows 18 to 24 inches per year and can reach up to 100 feet tall and 40 feet wide. It grows best in full sun, thriving in drier, upland soils. 

4. Japanese Pagoda Tree (Zones 4 to 8)

The Japanese Pagoda is a very aesthetically pleasing shade tree that boasts frothy flowers in season. It grows at a quick pace of 12 to 15 inches per year to 75 feet tall and wide, with a broad, rounded crown. They require rich, well-drained organic soil and grow best in full sun. Its leaves are pest free and it requires little effort once it’s planted.

5. Silver Maple (Zones 3 to 9)

One of the most common trees in North America, the Silver Maple grows 50 to 80 feet tall and is an excellent tree for landscaping. Similar to the red maple, except its leaves turn pale yellow or brown in the fall and the bark on its trunk is smooth and gray. It requires ample sun, but provides shade and relief for homes and homeowners. It can recover from flooding and does well in poor, rocky soils. 

Ready to create pretty privacy in your backyard? Choose one of these shade trees for relief and beauty!