Justin W. Hancock

The Trouble with Trees

When it comes to trees, one of the most popular questions I answer via our Garden Doctor application is recommending varieties for folks who want an easy-care tree that grows fast.

Unfortunately, these two concepts are kind of contradictory. As a general rule, the faster a tree grows, the weaker the wood is. And weak trees are the ones you often see toppled over after especially strong winds or shedding large branches after ice storms. And the fastest-growing trees tend to be first choice of disease and insect organisms.

So what’s a gardener to do? One option is to select a moderate grower instead of a fast one. Varieties like sugar maples, red maples, river birches, katsura, and black gum can put on some good size relatively quickly without being too problematic.

And by the way: If you’re looking for ideas of which trees to plant, be sure to check out our Plant Encyclopedia. If you can’t find what you need there, another great tool is the Tree Selector!

Categories: Gardening | Tags: ,
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One Response to “ The Trouble with Trees ”

  1. I highly recommend Northern red oak (Quercus rubra). If you mulch it with compost out to the dripline (outer extent of canopy), it will put on 18 to 24 inches of growth a year. And it will outlast all of us to boot.