In the heart of Texas, with its diverse and robust ecological tapestry, an array of trees flourishes and contributes significantly to the state’s distinctive natural beauty. Trees are far more than just a visual delight; they play an instrumental role in our environment by providing shade, improving air quality, reducing soil erosion, creating habitats for wildlife, and even contributing to our well-being.
Choosing the right tree for your garden involves considering a variety of factors, including soil type, available space, water requirements, and the tree’s growth rate. This guide aims to explore a variety of fast growing trees in Texas that are well-suited to Texan climates and soils, providing both aesthetic appeal and functional benefits for your garden.
In addition to these ecological benefits, trees can bring tremendous value to your garden, particularly if you reside in Texas. By choosing to plant fast growing varieties, you can quickly establish a lush, green, and tranquil environment that not only boosts your property’s aesthetic appeal but also provides a cool and refreshing atmosphere during the hot summer months. Here are some of the fast growing trees you might consider for your Texan garden.
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1. Mexican Ash
With its impressive height of up to 50 feet, the Mexican Ash, native to Texas, is a beloved shade tree. It adapts well to a variety of soil types, and is drought-tolerant once established, making it ideal for the sometimes challenging Texan climate. This deciduous tree offers a beautiful fall color display, with leaves changing from green to yellow or red-orange. The Mexican Ash’s fast growth rate makes it perfect for those wanting to quickly establish a more mature garden.
2. Canary Island Pine
The Canary Island Pine is an evergreen conifer that is both visually striking and resilient. It can grow to a majestic 60 feet and displays a rapid growth rate, adding about 24 inches per year. The distinctive, long needles of this pine create a unique texture and aesthetic in a garden landscape. Despite its Mediterranean origins, the Canary Island Pine is drought-tolerant and adapts well to the dry and hot climate of Texas.
3. Red Maple
The Red Maple is a versatile and stunning tree that is prized for its radiant fall foliage, displaying shades from bright red to orange. It can grow up to 60 feet tall, providing substantial shade. The Red Maple is adaptable, thriving in a range of soil conditions, from dry sandy soils to wet, waterlogged conditions. Its fast growth and stunning autumn display make it a highly popular choice for Texas gardeners seeking rapid visual impact.
4. American Elm
With a height of up to 80 feet, the American Elm adds a grand presence to any garden. Its broad canopy provides generous shade, ideal for the hot Texas summers. The unique “vase-shaped” growth pattern of the American Elm is aesthetically pleasing, adding a sculptural element to any landscape. Despite the susceptibility of this species to Dutch Elm Disease, many disease-resistant cultivars have been developed, making it a viable and attractive choice for Texan gardens.
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5. Desert Willow
The Desert Willow is a delightful addition to any garden with its vivid, orchid-like flowers that come in a range of pink and purple hues. Thriving in full sun and well-drained soil, it is extremely drought-tolerant, making it an ideal candidate for Texan gardens. The Desert Willow is a small tree, growing to a mature height of about 15-20 feet, and can be a perfect fit even in smaller yards.
6. Frantoio Olives
The Frantoio Olive tree is a versatile and productive fruit tree, offering fast growth and quality fruit. Native to Italy, it’s adapted well to Texas’ hot climate, showcasing substantial heat tolerance. Although it requires well-draining soil, the Frantoio Olive is adaptable to various soil types and conditions. It’s a great choice if you’re looking to add an edible element to your garden.
7. Red Haven Peach Tree
The Red Haven Peach Tree is a self-pollinating, fast-growing tree that delivers large, delicious peaches. It’s adaptable to a range of soil types but does best in full sun and well-drained soil. The tree can reach 15-20 feet in both height and width, making it suitable for medium to large gardens. Regular pruning will help maintain its size and increase fruit production, providing a tasty summer treat and a fun gardening project.
8. Santa Rosa Plum Tree
The Santa Rosa Plum Tree is a popular fruit tree that not only produces delicious, juicy fruit but also offers a lovely spring bloom. It grows rapidly and reaches a height of 15-25 feet, making it a perfect fit for small to medium-sized gardens. It’s a self-pollinating tree, which simplifies the fruit production process and makes it a great choice for beginner gardeners.
9. Common Hackberry
The Common Hackberry is an adaptable and hardy tree, able to thrive in a variety of soil conditions, from well-drained soils to heavier clay soils. A fast-growing species, it can reach up to 60 feet and is especially valued in urban and suburban landscapes due to its resistance to pollution and its ability to withstand harsh conditions. Its attractive, serrated leaves provide generous shade in the summer, and its small berries are a favorite of many bird species, adding an element of wildlife to your garden.
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10. Anacacho Orchid Tree
The Anacacho Orchid Tree is a true showstopper, gracing any garden with beautiful, fragrant orchid-like blooms in the spring. Reaching heights of 12-15 feet, it’s a small tree or large shrub that fits in many garden sizes. Extremely drought-tolerant, it thrives in the Texas climate, and its rapid growth rate means you won’t wait long to enjoy its splendid display.
11. Green Ash
A relative of the Mexican Ash, the Green Ash is an adaptable and fast-growing tree. It provides ample shade, can reach up to 70 feet, and is tolerant of various soil conditions, making it a popular choice in Texas. It also offers stunning fall colors. While susceptible to the emerald ash borer, many insect-resistant varieties have been developed, ensuring its continued viability as a choice for Texan gardens.
12. Bald Cypress
This stately tree is actually a deciduous conifer, meaning it sheds its needle-like leaves in the fall. However, before the leaves fall, they transform into an attractive rusty orange color. Bald Cypress trees can grow up to 70 feet tall, boasting a broad, pyramidal shape. They are highly adaptable and are as content in waterlogged conditions as they are in dry soils. These trees are particularly known for their “knees,” which are growths that protrude from the ground around the tree, thought to help with oxygenation in wet soils.
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13. Lacebark Elm
The Lacebark Elm, also known as the Chinese Elm, grows between 40-50 feet tall and is treasured for its unique peeling bark. This tree’s bark flakes away in patches to reveal a mottled spectacle of varying colors – gray, green, orange, and brown, which adds interest, particularly in winter. Despite its elegant appearance, the Lacebark Elm is notably hardy and can withstand poor soils, drought, and urban pollution.
14. Live Oak
Live Oaks are iconic in the southern United States, and for a good reason. These magnificent trees can reach heights of 40-80 feet and have sprawling branches that give the tree a grand, picturesque appearance. The Live Oak is an evergreen, providing shade year-round. These hardy trees are highly drought-resistant and can adapt to a variety of soil types.
This elegant tree, also known as the Silk Tree, grows to a height of 20-40 feet. It’s loved for its unique, fern-like leaves and vibrant, pink, pom-pom-like flowers that bloom throughout the summer. The Mimosa tree is a great addition to any garden, offering a touch of tropical flair with its unique leaf shape and vibrant flowers. It’s fairly drought-tolerant and can adapt well to urban conditions.
16. Southern Magnolia
As one of the classic trees of the South, Southern Magnolias are synonymous with elegance and grace. These trees can reach an impressive height of 60-80 feet and are evergreen, maintaining their glossy, dark green leaves year-round. In the spring and summer, the tree blooms large, creamy white flowers that give off a sweet, captivating fragrance. They prefer slightly acidic, well-drained soils but can adapt to less ideal conditions.
Pecan trees are native to Texas and can grow to an impressive height of 70-100 feet. These trees are not only grown for their delicious nuts but also valued for their broad, spreading canopy that provides ample shade. Pecan trees are robust and can adapt to a range of soil conditions, though they prefer deep, well-drained soils. The Pecan tree’s fast growth rate and high productivity make it a valuable and satisfying addition to any large garden.
18. Chinese Pistache
The Chinese Pistache is a wonderful addition to any garden thanks to its vibrant fall colors. It can grow between 30-60 feet in height and provides a stunning visual display as its leaves turn a brilliant orange-red in the fall. This tree is drought-tolerant and can adapt to various soil conditions, making it a popular and sustainable choice for Texas gardens.
19. Eastern Redbud
The Eastern Redbud is a beautiful small to medium-sized tree that adds a delightful splash of color to any garden in the spring. Growing between 20-30 feet tall, this tree is known for its stunning pinkish-purple flowers that bloom in spring before the appearance of its heart-shaped leaves. The Redbud prefers well-drained soils but is adaptable to various conditions, making it a versatile and charming addition to any garden.
Whether you’re seeking shade, aesthetic appeal, vibrant fall colors, or even fruitful bounties, there’s a fast-growing tree suitable for every Texan garden. Choosing trees native to Texas or those that have proven to be adaptable to the region’s climate and soil conditions will ensure a resilient and vibrant landscape. The trees listed here offer a mix of all these qualities, and while some may be familiar, others offer a unique addition to the typical garden. Remember, successful tree growth and survival are highly dependent on proper planting and care, so be sure to understand the needs of your chosen tree and it will reward you with a stunning display for many years to come.