By Candis Meredith
If you know me, you know that I love trees. They give us shade, and they give our homes a lot more character than they could ever have on their own. Sometimes, when you buy a great house to renovate, it will have a beautiful design and a lot of potential, but it won’t have a lot of trees or shade. You want your buyers to get the most out of the home from the minute they buy it, and you don’t want them to have to imagine what it’s going to be like in another 20 or 30 years once your saplings have grown up. So what can you do?
You might be tempted to Google the fastest-growing trees you can find and then go buy a few of those, or you might be tempted to phone up your local nursery and see if they can transplant some nearly full-grown trees for you. After all, isn’t that what tree farms are for?
Before you do either of these things, remember a couple of things. First, the fastest-growing tree may not be the best for your property. Some of the fastest-growing tree species are actually very weak and can cause problems during storms, and some of them end up being pests and aren’t worth the trouble. At the same time, buying larger trees comes with its own set of issues, not the least of which is how expensive they are. So what can you do? You can find a good compromise with a tree that grows quickly but not so fast that it’ll be a problem for you or your buyers.
American Red Maple
The American red maple grows to between 30 and 40 feet tall, and its branches spread out almost as wide as it is tall. In general, it’ll grow about 3 to 5 feet per year, and after three years it’ll be between 15 and 20 feet tall. That’s a pretty good rate, and your buyers won’t have to wait until they’re old and gray to see some shade from their trees. Plus, the leaves take on a gorgeous orange-red color that’s dazzling in the fall.
No, I’m not talking about a tree that grows delicious sparkling wine and orange juice beverages. I’m talking about a beautiful tree with pale pink flowers in the springtime. Like the American red maple, it grows about 3 to 5 feet per year and will reach 15 to 20 feet in height within three years. It’ll max out at about 20 to 25 feet, though, so if you’re looking for a somewhat shorter tree with some great color for spring, this might be the one.
“Green Vase” Zelkova
This tree gets its name because it’s shaped like a vase. It grows to between 60 and 70 feet tall and 40 to 50 feet wide, and it grows at a similar rate to the others, so your buyers will see a lot of growth within just a few years. This tree is very tolerant of wind, drought, and air pollution, so it’s a good choice for a lot of cities and suburbs.
There you go—three fast-growing shade trees that won’t make you wait forever to enjoy them. You can find most of these at your local nursery, and you don’t have to buy them as saplings. You can buy them when they’re already 5 to 10 feet tall, so your buyers will feel like they’re getting a property with real trees, not just a few scrawny looking saplings. See which one will work best for your next renovation project.