Plant & Flower Identification

15 Fast Growing Trees Illinois You May Not Know

In Illinois, several types of trees grow fast. These trees are important because they quickly make the state look nice and provide benefits like clean air and shade.

They’re liked by people who like nature and those who plan how cities should be.

Some trees help by making the air cleaner, reducing how hot cities get, and adding different kinds of plants and animals. Let’s discover 15 fast growing trees Illinois and their best features.

15 Fast Growing Trees Illinois 

fast growing trees illinois

There are many fast growing trees for Illinois, including the Superior Hybrid Poplar, Oak Tree, Chinese Pistache, Maple Tree, Lacebark Chinese Elm, and other trees.

These trees offer rapid growth and a wide variety of benefits for Illinois landscapes.

Superior Hybrid Poplar

The Superior Hybrid Poplar, known as Populus Deltoides x Populus Nigra, is a fast-growing shade tree that can grow 8 feet in a growing season.

Planting these trees on the southern side of your house can effectively lower your energy expenses by providing shade from the hot summer sun.

During the fall, these trees shed their leaves, allowing valuable sunlight to warm your surroundings in the winter.

This tree is adaptable to various soil types as long as the soil drains well. At maturity, it reaches an average height of 40-50 feet and a width of 25-30 feet.

The flowering season occurs in early spring, adding to its visual appeal.

Oak Tree

The oak tree stands out in Illinois as one of the quickest growers, soaring up to 80 feet tall in just a few years, offering shade for your yard. 

Besides, it’s among the easiest trees to plant. It thrives across the state, adapting to different soil types, tolerating pollution, and flourishing in the extremes of hot and cold weather.

As the seasons change, the oak tree puts on a magnificent show. Its leaves transform into a stunning palette of oranges, reds, and browns during the autumn.

This adds lively colors to both summer and autumn landscapes.

Young oak trees can fall victim to pests like caterpillars, oak worms, and certain diseases, such as Chlorosis (yellowing) or Hypoxylon cankers (fungal disease).

Chinese Pistache

The Chinese Pistache is a shade tree adored for its remarkable colors that stay vibrant all year round.

It showcases captivating shades of orange, red, and scarlet, standing out while other trees begin their dormant phase.

This tree thrives in speedy growth when exposed to full sun or partial shade, making it a perfect fit for moderately fertile, well-drained soils. It has resilience against both high temperatures and drought.

Its canopy takes on a round or oval silhouette, adorned with slender, pointed leaves that contribute an air of exotic charm to any landscape.

Throughout the lush greenness of late summer, these dark green leaves offer excellent shade for homeowners.

Maple Tree

Maple trees are an excellent choice for creating refreshing shade around your home. These trees grow rapidly, boasting sizable branches and leaves that offer ample shelter.

Their adaptability allows them to thrive in various parts of your yard.

Maple are resilient and hardy trees, especially in the Illinois climate or in Ohio state. Their extensive root systems enable them to endure for over a century.

They stand tall against the elements, including cold, wind, and heat, remaining remarkably resistant to diseases and pests.

However, a few potential threats exist. Young maple trees can be vulnerable to pests like deer and squirrels. Wrapping them in burlap during winter can protect them.

Weeping Willow

The Weeping Willow, or Salix babylonica, is highly appreciated for its graceful, cascading branches that evoke a sense of tranquility.

This tree is known for its early leafing, often among the first to burst into green foliage.

It captivates with year-round allure, its leaves transitioning to yellow in autumn, while its elegant, arching branches remain striking during the winter months.

Thriving when located near a water source, Weeping Willows are frequently planted to combat erosion.

They serve well as a shade provider, growing rapidly at a rate of 8-10 feet per year, swiftly establishing itself. It flourishes when planted in both full sun and partial shade environments.

Hickory Tree

A hickory tree is the way to go if you’re seeking swift shade and vibrant hues for your yard in Illinois or in Virginia alike.

Known for its remarkable speed of growth, hickory trees can reach towering heights of 50 feet while spreading widely.

One notable feature is their nut production. These trees typically yield various types of nuts, most of which serve as food for animals.

Some, like pecans, are even fit for human consumption. What’s intriguing is that these nuts contribute to the rapid expansion of hickory trees, allowing for the quick growth of new ones.

However, insects, particularly hickory bark beetles, pose a potential threat to hickory trees.

These insects exclusively target hickory trees, causing damage to their bark and rendering them susceptible to diseases and fungal infections.

Mimosa Tree

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The most distinctive traits of the Mimosa tree are its fern-like leaves and fluffy pink flowers. These trees are tough, handling heat, dryness, and humidity.

They’re usually around 20 to 40 feet tall and 20 to 50 feet wide when they grow up.

They’re great for giving shade and helping other plants grow by adding nitrogen to the soil. With a neat shape and flat top, they hold their soft, cotton candy-like flowers above their leaves.

Mimosa trees can handle dry spells and love the heat, which makes them perfect for blocking sunlight from the south or southwest. For best results, plant them in soil that drains well.

Birch Tree

In Illinois, you can often see birch trees.

They’re known for their paper-like bark, tight bunches of flowers, and bright red and yellow colors in the fall. Among the types of birch, there are gray, yellow, river, and paper birch.

Depending on the kind, they can be 40 to 70 feet tall. A healthy birch usually lives between 40 and 50 years, but white birches don’t live as long, usually less than 20 years.

But, in the wild, some yellow birches can even live more than 300 years!

People like birch trees because birds enjoy them, and their wood is good for fires even when wet. When these trees are older, they look nice in gardens.

The river birch kind also helps stop the ground from washing away, making it among the best trees for Illinois.

American Plane Tree

The American Plane tree is a fast grower, reaching up to 6 feet in height each year. People like it in neighborhoods and cities around the temperate world.

It has a thick bunch of leaves on top that make a lot of shade because the leaves are big. The leaves change to golden yellow in the fall, and then they fall off.

The American Sycamore is tough and can handle hot and cold weather. It can adapt to different types of soil, such as dry soils, acidic soils, wet soils, or moist soil.

This tree likes to grow in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 4 to 9. It’s usually around 75 to 100 feet tall when it’s all grown up.


Chestnut trees love the hot and humid weather in Illinois, making them an excellent planting choice. They prefer the hotter conditions.

When you plant a chestnut tree, it can grow really tall, sometimes more than 50 feet, and give great shade to your yard.

One fantastic thing about these trees is that they produce food – edible nuts. The big ones can even make up to 100 pounds of nuts!

However, there’s one thing you should be careful about. Chestnut Trees can handle heat, insects, pests, and diseases quite well, but they don’t like too much water.

Getting too much water, especially when they’re young, can hurt or even kill them. To avoid this, it’s a good idea to put some mulch around the tree after you plant it.

Quaking Aspen Tree

Quaking Aspen trees are found all over North America. They’re speedy growers and are among the first to show up where the land has been disturbed or in grassy areas.

The leaves are heart-shaped and make a lovely sound when the wind brushes through them.

These trees start tall and pointy when they’re young, but they get rounder as they age.

The leaves are dark on top and lighter underneath, and they’re on long stems, which is why they dance with even the smallest breeze. In the fall, they usually turn yellow, but sometimes they become red.

Elm Tree

Elm trees thrive in warm climates, making them exceptionally adaptable across various regions in Illinois.

They exhibit round or ovate leaves with serrated edges, giving them a toothed appearance. These leaves possess a pointed tip and prominently visible veins.

Their resilience to heat renders them a highly versatile tree option for cultivation. Notably, these trees are coveted for their capacity to provide ample shade.

With an impressive height range of 40 to 50 feet and a substantial width, they offer a rustic charm for those seeking a classic ambiance in their outdoor spaces.

Insects pose a threat to elm trees. For example, an array of beetle species can harm the health of trees.


Ginkgo trees hold universal appeal due to their captivating leaf morphology, captivating autumnal display, and the storied lineage of the species.

As the weather turns cooler, the dense foliage of Ginkgo trees undergo a vibrant transformation to a striking yellow fall color.

These trees boast remarkable hardiness, proving their survival over a staggering span of 200 million years. Thus, they can tolerate pollution and extreme temperatures.

These trees thrive across Growing Zones 3 to 9, encompassing a broad geographical range. Upon maturity, they may reach an average height of 25 to 50 feet, with a width ranging from 25 to 35 feet.

Eastern Redbud

The Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis) is like a springtime magician, one of the first trees to wake up after winter. Its buds are reddish-purple and invite us to explore the woods.

This tree isn’t very big, more like a shrub, growing to about 20 to 30 feet tall and spreading up to 30 feet wide.

It’s a great addition to any yard because it has pretty pink flower buds in spring, heart-shaped leaves in summer that turn yellow in the fall, and brown pods that stay on the tree in winter.

Eastern Redbuds are lauded for its resilience against droughts and their beautiful flowers that last a long time. They are good for tight spaces, too, since they don’t grow too big.

Lacebark Chinese Elm Tree

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The Lacebark Chinese elm is a tough tree that can thrive in almost any environment, from busy cities with pollution to quiet countryside fields, and it can adapt to different ranges of soils.

This elm tree is strong against diseases that often affect other elms. It’s a low-maintenance tree that doesn’t need much attention once planted.

It grows moderately, adding about 12 to 18 inches to its height every year.

What’s interesting about elm trees is their unique and appealing chalky bark in winter.

When it doesn’t have leaves, the bark peels off to reveal shades of green in summer, then orange and brown, adding a splash of color to the landscape.


What Are The Best Shade Trees For Illinois?

The best shade trees for Illinois include: 

  • The Crimson King Maple with its vivid purple leaves
  • The Willow Oak for graceful beauty and fast growth
  • Ginkgo Trees known for unique foliage
  • The Red Dragon Japanese Maple with stunning red and burgundy leaves
  • Legacy Sugar Maple with its iconic red and gold fall display

What Are Some Fast Growing Trees Midwest?

Fast-growing trees for the Midwest include Arborvitae Green Giant (3 ft/year) for privacy screens, Dawn Redwood (2-4 ft/year) with unique needles, and Eastern White Pine (2+ ft/year) for open spaces.

What Are Fast Growing Privacy Trees Illinois?

Fast-growing privacy trees for Illinois include Columnar Norway Spruce (Picea abies’ Cupressina’) with a 30 ft height and quick growth.

White Pine (Pinus strobus) is also an option, reaching 60 ft high and 35 ft wide, suitable for large yards. These trees offer lush coverage and a natural screen for enhanced privacy.


Fast growing trees Illinois are a popular choice for landscaping.

From the flexible Superior Hybrid Poplar to the strong oak and the colorful Chinese Pistache to the Maple and unique Lacebark Chinese elm, these trees solve different needs quickly.

Their speedy growth benefits residentials now and also makes Illinois greener for the future.

Samuel Mark

Hello I am Samuel. Samuel's Garden is a garden blog where I share my experiences in garden caring and tree growth. Hope you enjoy it!

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