Whether you’ve lost a tree, want to boost your curb appeal, or need a little more privacy from a nosy neighbor, sometimes you want a species that will grow fast. What are the best choices?
Northern Illinois is in the hardiness zone 5A, so you’ll want to look for trees that grow well in zones 4 and 5. In addition to making sure your tree can thrive in our climate, you’ll also want to consider factors such as size, shape, and space needs. Here are some top choices for fast-growing trees that will do well in zone 5A.
The boxelder or ash-leaf maple is a fast-growing, easy-care tree that grows in full sun and moist soil. It grows up to 50 feet tall and has compound leaves that are light yellow in early spring, green in summer, and yellow-brown in fall. Known as Acer negundo and belonging to the maple family, the boxelder can reach 15 feet tall in just four to five years.
The beautiful red maple—also known as swamp maple and botanically as Acer rubrum—is a fast-growing wetland tree that grows in full sun or partial shade in any soil. While it may reach up to 120 feet tall, it typically grows 40 to 50 feet tall. The red maple may grow up to 12 feet in its first five to seven years, making it an ideal choice for privacy and curb appeal.
It’s hard to stroll down any suburban Chicagoland street without seeing a silver maple. Known by the botanical name of Acer saccharinum, these beautiful maples may reach 60 to 80 feet tall. The leaves are green on top and silver on the bottom, and they turn a deep red or yellow in fall. The silver maple grows in full sun or partial shade in moist, well-drained soil.
Looking for something other than a maple? The river birch, or Betula nigra, is a fast-growing tree with red-brown bark. Its glossy leaves are about three inches long and turn bright yellow in the fall. River birches may reach 50 to 70 feet and may grow up to three feet per growing season. This hardy tree is also a popular choice for moist, acidic soil where sometimes no other tree will thrive. In addition, the river birch can tolerate full sun or partial shade.
The paper birch or Betula papyrifera is another hardy, fast-growing member of the birch family. On average, paper birches grow 50 to 70 feet tall, with some reaching up to 100 feet in height. And they grow fast, up to two feet per growing season. The leaves are about three inches long, turning from light green to yellow or orange in the fall. You’ve likely seen many paper birches, identifiable by their chalky bark that can look like layers of paper. Paper birches thrive in full sun or partial shade and do need regular watering.
When you want to block a clear view of your yard, a fast-growing easy-care hedge can be the perfect answer. It creates a wall of green that can be beautiful and easy to care for. Select hedge varieties that thrive in zones 4 and 5. Good choices include boxwood, mountain mahogany, holly hybrids, and plantings of arborvitae.
Advanced Tree Care combines top-notch equipment, cutting-edge technology, and well-trained staff to provide emergency tree removal and tree maintenance services. With a presence in nine counties and two states, we work daily to provide unparalleled customer service, safety, and efficiency—as well as the expertise to beautify your landscaping and community. Advanced Tree Care isn’t just our name—it’s also our purpose!