Fast-Growing Trees for Privacy, Shade, and Color

Spring is the perfect time to plant a tree! The soil isn’t too hot from the summer sun, so the roots won’t get shocked as they transition to their new home.


Trees are a pretty diverse group of plants—there are so many different varieties with fascinating shapes, sizes, colors, and textures. These diverse traits bring different benefits and functions in landscaping, so if you’re planning on planting a tree in Iowa, it’s good to figure out what you want to get out of it. Here are some different categories of fast-growing trees that offer benefits like privacy, shade, and seasonal color.


Wallace's Garden Center-Seeing the Forest for the Trees -skyrocket juniperFast-Growing Trees for Privacy

The best trees for privacy have a columnar shape and grow tall but don’t sprawl outwards. You can plant them in a line to create a wall of greenery, perfect for property borders or dividing the yard to establish separate areas. Some of our favorite columnar trees for privacy include:

  • Columnar Norway Spruce
  • Weeping White Spruce
  • DeGroot’s Spire Arborvitae
  • Skyrocket Juniper
  • Wichita Blue Juniper


red maple - wallaces garden centerFast-Growing Trees for Shade

Shade trees are incredibly valuable additions to the landscape. By shading your home from the sun, you can save quite a bit on your energy bill since you won’t have to run the air conditioning as often. The best shade trees are tall with wide canopies, so make sure you plant them somewhere they’ll have plenty of space to spread! Here are some of the most popular shade trees for Iowa:

  • River Birch
  • Eastern White Pine
  • Niobe Weeping Willow
  • Black Hills Spruce
  • Red Maple
  • Autumn Gold Ginkgo


Wallace's Garden Center-Seeing the Forest for the Trees -Eastern RedbudFast-Growing Trees for Color

We love ornamental trees that are smaller in size but big in color! They’re lovely for front yards, as they don’t take up too much space, and they can provide some privacy in front of larger windows. Many ornamental varieties bloom in spring or summer, while others are known for their spectacular fall foliage. These ornamental trees are big favorites at Wallace’s:

  • Bloodgood Japanese Maple
  • Royal Star Magnolia
  • Royal Raindrops Crabapple
  • Snow Fountains Weeping Cherry
  • Eastern Redbud
  • Tricolor European Beech


Wallace's Garden Center-Seeing the Forest for the Trees -flowering pear treeThe Best Sidewalk-Friendly Trees

If you want to create a privacy screen along a sidewalk, it’s important to choose varieties with roots that travel deep into the ground and are unlikely to break through the surface. You don’t want the roots to crack through the concrete! Here are some sidewalk-friendly specimens to plant along paths for privacy—they have loads of ornamental value, too!

  • Honeylocust
  • Jade Butterfly Maidenhair (Ginkgo)
  • Japanese Tree Lilac
  • Cleveland Select Flowering Pear
  • Swamp White Oak
  • Serviceberry


Tips for Planting

Spring is the perfect time to plant a tree! The soil isn’t too hot from the summer sun, so the roots won’t get shocked as they transition to their new home. Then, they’ve got a whole summer and autumn to soak up the sun and grow before they rest in winter. You can also plant young trees in fall, but they may be more vulnerable to the winter cold, so you’ll need to protect them from the elements with burlap or insulation wraps. 

Remember to water your newly planted saplings very generously in their first year. They need lots of water to help their roots spread and get established! Wallace’s recommends one inch to 1.5 inches every week. Ensuring the soil is healthy and well-draining will prevent water from pooling at the root level, encouraging rot. Spreading a layer of mulch all around the base of your tree will help slow the evaporation of soil moisture, but be sure not to pile it up around the tree trunk.  

If you have any questions about fertilizing or pruning your new trees, you’re welcome to come into Wallace’s and speak with one of our nursery team. Visit us soon to see our complete collection of fast-growing privacy trees for sale in Iowa!



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