20 Fast-Growing Shade Trees for South Texas – Pictures

Because fully grown trees are very expensive and many trees take a very long time to grow from a seedling to their maturity height, many people are reluctant to plant trees for their landscaping or gardens.

Even while it’s always a good idea to work with the trees that are already present in or close to your yard, you might wish to plant a new tree to fill a hole or start a fruit tree!

Fast-growing trees are ideal for adding height, color, seclusion, and shade to your Texas landscape rapidly. Texas trees that grow quickly typically add several feet to their height each year until they reach maturity. And a wide variety of trees flourish in the Lone Star State’s hot, muggy, and occasionally dry weather.

Fast-growing native trees in Texas help secure their success across the state. Native trees have adapted to the special environment Texas provides. Additionally, they won’t spread or start competing for nutrients or space with native plants, shrubs, or ornamental trees.

Fast-growing trees often grow between 2 and 4 feet (0.6 and 1.2 meters) annually. Due to their swift annual growth, trees often reach their full height in ten years or less. Although certain Texas trees grow quickly when they are young, after a few years their growth rate slows down.

Fast-Growing Shade Trees for South Texas

  • Red Maple (Acer rubrum)
  • Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis)
  • Texas Ash (Fraxinus texensis)
  • Common Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)
  • Shumard Oak (Quercus shumardii)
  • Water Oak (Quercus nigra)
  • Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)
  • Cherry Laurel Tree (Prunus caroliniana)
  • River Birch (Betula nigra)
  • Callery Pear (Pyrus calleryana)
  • American Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis)
  • Frantoio Olives (Olea europaea ‘Frantoio’)
  • Tuliptree (Liriodendron tulipifera)
  • Leyland Cypress (Cupressus × leylandii)
  • Italian Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)
  • Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum)
  • Cherry Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus)
  • Green Ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica)
  • Anacacho Orchid Tree (Bauhinia lunarioides)
  • Mexican Ash (Fraxinus berlandieriana)

1. Red Maple (Acer rubrum)

A stunning, quick-growing shade tree for Texas settings is the red maple. The maple tree has a lovely pyramidal shape, distinctive lobed leaves, and smooth gray bark. It grows around 3 ft. (1 m) each year. crimson maples’ stunning crimson and yellow fall colors, however, are their most notable ornamental characteristic.

Red maples typically reach heights of 40 to 70 ft (12 to 21 m) and widths of up to 50 ft (15 m). From Amarillo in the north to Galveston Bay in the south, the native Texas deciduous tree flourishes throughout the state. It is a great option for a lawn or shade tree.

2. Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis)

The desert willow, a beautiful flowering tree with rapid growth for Texas settings, increases by 3 feet (1 m) to its height per year. The willow-like tree can be recognized by its clusters of brilliant pink flowers in the shape of funnels, its linear, pointed leaves in a bluish-green color, its bean-like seed pods, and its rounded habit.

The tiny desert tree can reach heights of 15 to 30 feet (4.5 to 9 meters) and widths of 10 to 20 feet (3 to 6 meters). The tree grows well in all parts of the Lone Star State south of the Panhandle and is suitable for USDA zones 7 to 11. It thrives in dry, sandy soils and can withstand drought very well because it is a desert plant.

3. Texas Ash (Fraxinus texensis)

One of the natural Texas trees with the quickest growth rate is the Texas ash tree. This ash variety has pinnate leaves with tiny lanceolate leaflets that change color from green to orange, crimson, and purple in the fall. The Texas ash is an excellent shade tree in southern states due to its low trunk and rounded crown of dense foliage.

The Texas ash is the best choice for quick landscape fixes due to its rapid growth rate. The long-lived tree can also withstand dryness, salty air, and poor soils. The medium-sized tree thrives in full sun and can reach a height of 32 feet (10 meters). It increases its height by 2.5 feet (0.7 meters) per year.

4. Common Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)

The common hackberry tree, a huge specimen plant native to Texas, is perfect for providing shade during the sweltering southern months.

The hackberry tree is recognized by its ovate leaves with tapering apexes that grow on arching branches. The flowering tree also has clusters of greenish-yellow flowers, which are followed by brown, thick, sweet, edible berries that resemble olives.

The common hackberry, a flourishing tree used in landscaping, may be found from the Panhandle to the Gulf Coast and the Mexican border. It can get up to 60 feet (12–18 meters) tall and wide. The common hackberry tree thrives in full sun, light shade, and wet, organically rich soil.

5. Shumard Oak (Quercus shumardii)

One candidate for Texas’s fastest-growing tree is the Shumard oak tree. The deciduous oak tree, which is also known as the southern red oak, has a broad vase-like canopy, lush lime-green leaves with seven to nine pointed lobes, and stunning vivid red and bronze colors in the fall. This native Texas tree can also resist moderate flooding and is drought-tolerant.

Shumard oak trees require little maintenance. They are a gorgeous fast-growing tree for Texas landscapes because of their spreading crown and thickly covering foliage. The stately acorn tree develops at 40 to 60 ft (12 to 18 m) tall and 30 to 40 ft (9 to 12 m) wide, growing at a rate of over 2 ft (0.6 m) each year.

6. Water Oak (Quercus nigra)

A species of Texas oak tree that grows quickly is the water oak. The oak tree can be recognized by its broad, rounded acorns with scaly tops, three-lobed spatula-shaped leaves, and grayish-black bark. The rounded crown of the oak tree, which offers shade in southern environments, is another characteristic of the species.

The water oak tree, as its name suggests, grows well in swampy, marshy soil and is widespread throughout Texas. The water oak flourishes all over the state, growing in full sun and suitable for zones 6 to 9. Water oaks can reach heights of 50 to 80 ft (15 to 24 m) and widths of 40 to 60 ft (12 to 18 m).

7. Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

One of the species of these little ornamental flowering trees for a Texan landscape with the highest rate of growth is the eastern redbud. Redbud trees are notable for their profusion of stunning pink flower clusters that resemble peas and bloom in early spring. After the flowers, the redbud tree develops heart-shaped leaves, and in the fall, the lovely pink blossoms are replaced by long, dangling brown seedpods.

The ornamental eastern redbud tree reaches heights of 20 to 30 ft. (6 to 9 m) and a width of 25 to 35 ft. (7.5 to 10.5 m) at the widest point of its rounded crown. The spring-blooming, sun-loving tree survives Southern Texas’ sweltering heat and thrives in xeric, dry settings. USDA planting zones 4 through 9 are suitable.

8. Cherry Laurel Tree (Prunus caroliniana)

The cherry laurel tree is a little bushy tree that can develop into a thick shrub. The evergreen tree is very adaptable in a landscape and grows at a moderate to rapid rate. The tree resembles a shrub and bears little black drupes that appear in the fall along with stunning white, five-petalled flowers, and glossy green lance-shaped leaves.

Cherry laurel is a quick-growing plant that can reach heights of 8 to 10 ft (2.4 to 3 m) and a width of 8 ft (2.4 m). This adaptable plant is perfect for putting in a Texas garden as a small tree, hedge, specimen plant, or foundation planting.

9. River Birch (Betula nigra)

A multi-stemmed deciduous tree native to the Lone Star State, the river birch thrives in moist soils. The peeling bark of this type of birch starts pink before turning cinnamon-brown, and the diamond-shaped leaves, the clusters of finger-like flowers, and drooping seed cones.

Since the river birch is the most heat-tolerant Betula tree, it is perfect for beautifying a backyard in Texas. The medium-sized tree can reach heights and widths of 40–70 ft. (12–21 m). The tree can be planted next to streams and ponds.

10. Callery Pear (Pyrus calleryana)

The decorative Callery pear tree, which is native to Texas and grows quickly, is well-known for its stunning white spring blossoms. This small to medium-sized ornamental pear tree features clusters of yellowish-green fruits, leathery leaves with wrinkled borders, and five-petaled white flowers.

The deciduous tree develops various colors of orange, crimson, and deep maroon in the fall. In all parts of Texas, this tree that enjoys the sun and can withstand the heat thrives. It can reach heights of 30 to 50 ft (9 to 15 m) and a width of up to 35 ft (8 m).

11. American Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis)

Texas is home to the enormous Native American Sycamore, which grows quickly. The camouflage-like bark of this type of sycamore, which contains hues of white, gray, and tan, is one of its most distinctive characteristics. The enormous tree also has a large crown. Extreme weather conditions like heat and drought can be tolerated by it.

The Texas shade tree is distinguished by its exfoliating bark, dangling spikey balls, and maple-shaped leaves that turn yellow-brown in the fall. In USDA zones 4 to 9, the American sycamore can reach heights and widths of 70 to 100 feet (21 to 30 meters).

12. Frantoio Olives (Olea europaea ‘Frantoio’)

Although olive trees aren’t always the top choice for landscaping in Texas, southern Texas has a climate that is pretty comparable to the Mediterranean and is ideal for growing olive trees.

Frantoio Olive trees can be cultivated for their olives, in an edible garden, or just as part of your beautification plan. They are moderate to fast-growing trees. Olive trees’ warbled bark gives your yard a unique touch, and their gray-green foliage complements a wide range of other plants.

Frantoio Olive trees can withstand severe drought, but they struggle in cold climates and cannot be grown in western or northern Texas.

Although it is one of the most popular types of olive trees cultivated in Texas for making olive oil, some farmers claim that the middle part of the state doesn’t see a lot of fruiting. Which may be advantageous if you simply grow one for decorative purposes!

13. Tuliptree (Liriodendron tulipifera)

Native to Texas, the tuliptree is a quick-growing deciduous tree. This tall, imposing shade tree has a broad crown and an erect pyramidal structure. The tuliptree is well-known for its brilliant, yellow-green, and orange blossoms that bloom in the spring and resemble tulips. The ornamental tree also bears cone-shaped fruit and four-lobed leaves that turn golden yellow in the fall.

The tulip tree reaches heights of 60 to 80 ft (18 to 24 m) and widths of 30 to 40 ft (9 to 12 m). A tulip tree’s most typical landscape application in Texas is as a specimen, lawn, or shade tree.

14. Leyland Cypress (Cupressus × leylandii)

A hybrid evergreen conifer with a quick growth rate of about 2 feet (0.6 meters) per year is the Leyland cypress. The remarkable evergreen tree is distinguished by its slender habit, feathery sprays that resemble bluish-green scales, small globular cones, and fragrant foliage. This pyramid-shaped evergreen tree reaches heights of 60 to 70 feet (18 to 21 meters) and widths of 15 to 25 feet (4.5 to 7.6 meters).

Leyland cypress works best as a windbreak, an evergreen hedge, or a border around a house when used in landscaping. It grows well in USDA zones 6 through 10, making it the perfect evergreen tree for Texas.

15. Italian Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)

In Central and Southern Texas, the Italian cypress is a quick-growing evergreen tree that can withstand dry conditions. The slender coniferous tree has ovoid cones, bluish-green aromatic leaves that resemble needles, and a columnar form. In warmer southern states, this shrub thrives in small yards and urban gardens.

The Italian cypress only reaches a height of 10 to 20 feet (3 to 6 meters) and a width of between 12 and 21 meters. The drought- and heat-resistant evergreen tree thrives in the Southeast’s high humidity. It’s a great specimen plant for giving a dry environment a vertical highlight.

16. Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum)

Standing water along rivers and lakes in Texas can support the growth of this fast-growing tree organically. This relatively low-maintenance tree can grow up to 1-2 feet a year and survive in fairly moist soil. It can reach heights of 80–120 feet and widths of 20–30 feet. Autumn brings out a warm reddish hue in the needles, which gives the garden a great pop of color.

17. Cherry Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus)

This fast-growing tree is indigenous to Florida, Texas, and the Carolinas. It can grow as swiftly as the others, adding up to 2-2.5 feet every year, and quickly reach a maximum height of 35 to 40 feet.

The glossy evergreen tree has fruit that looks appealing but is inedible as well as fragrant, off-white blossoms. But birds are drawn to the cherry fruits that ripen in the fall and love them. Cherry laurel tolerates shade and is drought-resistant.

18. Green Ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica)

The Green Ash tree is indigenous to Texas, Florida, Colorado, and North America. In 20 to 25 years, it can grow 2-4 feet every year, reaching a height of 60 to 70 feet at its tallest. You can enjoy its yearly flowers, which provide ornamental value, and the foliage, which is rather dense.

But watch out for the invasive Asian bug known as the emerald ash borer. Ash trees can be killed by this bug, and some have even been seen in Texas.

19. Anacacho Orchid Tree (Bauhinia lunarioides)

The stunning blossoming Anacacho Orchid tree is indigenous to southern Texas and Mexico. It’s fairly uncommon and typically not found in the wild, but South Texas landscaping loves to use it.

When in bloom, these enormous blossoms, which are several inches wide, make for a truly stunning floral display. Bright pink anacacho orchid blossoms with a deep purple undertone give any place a revitalizing tropical feel.

If the tree is pruned periodically to keep all the branches healthy and fresh, the blossoms are much more abundant. Additionally, you can choose to shape this plant as a tiny tree or a sizable, rounded shrub by trimming.

Except for pruning, anacacho orchids require very little maintenance and are typically resistant to disease and pests. They are a fantastic choice for anyone in central or southern Texas and truly flourish in limestone soils.

20. Mexican Ash (Fraxinus berlandieriana)

Mexican Ash is a native of Texas, and it may be found there most frequently in the state’s southernmost regions near the Mexican border. The term comes from the fact that it is indigenous to the entire region and is also freely accessible throughout Mexico.

Mexican Ash is a well-liked option for landscaping because it is one of the trees that grows the fastest in Texas. It may be used to fill in gaps and to make natural fences or hedges.

If you’re thinking about buying, keep a look out for nurseries in Texas that frequently sell Mexican Ash under the name “Arizona Ash”!

These deciduous trees are suitable for modest landscaping or layering because of their unassuming appearance. They feature simple, blooming blooms with a huge, circular crown of green leaves.

Additionally, Mexican Ash’s wood is excellent for burning, and legend has it that the plant’s leaves deter rattlesnakes.


The trees on this list are only a few possibilities for Texas fast-growing trees that you can start raising! Several trees are ideal for this, whether you want to put something in your yard to fill a gap or have a large shade tree to relax beneath.

And fortunately, there are a few fruit trees that develop quickly so you don’t have to wait years to begin picking fruit if you’re attempting to create a fruit tree orchard. After two or three seasons, the fruit trees on this list and many others will begin to bear fruit!


A passion-driven environmentalist by heart. Lead content writer at EnvironmentGo.
I strive to educate the public about the environment and its problems.
It has always been about nature, we ought to protect not destroy.

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