Welcome to the first of our expert interviews! This month, we spoke with Davey Tree Expert District Manager Mario Cipriano to ask questions about choosing and caring for fast growing shade trees for your Virginia home. Mario works in the northern Virginia office of Davey Tree Expert, a company dedicated to tree care.
Fast Growing Shade Trees: Interview
Home Garden Joy (HGJ): Many people shop for trees in the fall. Most want fast growing trees. What species do you recommend for the average Virginia suburban home?
Mario Cipriano (MC): Below is a list of medium to fast growing shade and ornamental trees suited for a typical suburban property.
- Shumard oak
- Pin Oak
- Overcup oak
- Sawtooth oak
- Swamp chestnut oak
- Willow oak
- River Birch (Fast growing Ornamental/Shade tree)
- Bur oak
- Red Maple
- Crepe Mytle (Fast growing flowering ornamental
HGJ: What should homeowners take into consideration when choosing a location for a tree?
MC: Take the amount of sunlight, ground vegetation and hazards like wires or pipes into consideration. Plant at least 15 feet away from your house, sidewalks, driveways and other trees.
Allocate enough space in the yard for your new tree to grow. Consider its mature height, crown spread, and root space. A fully grown tree will take up much more space than your tiny sapling. Look up to make sure a fully grown tree won’t interfere with anything overhead. Certainly make sure that you call Miss Utility at 811 or 1800-257-7777, as it is the law when doing any kind of excavation.
HGJ: What kind of tree care should homeowners provide for fast growing trees?
MC: Proper pruning can make a world of difference. Removal of dead, dying, interfering, or weakly attached limbs can greatly reduce the risk of damage caused by ice and snow loads in the winter and failure due to high winds during the growing season.
Not all tree risks are visible or obvious. Certified arborists with the Davey Tree Expert Company will evaluate tree species, soil conditions, wind exposure, defects, overall health and other factors to determine a tree’s hazard potential.
Advanced analysis, sometimes through the use of specialized arborist tools or techniques, may be necessary. Tree assessments should be performed on a yearly basis.
HGJ: What problems are common in the tree species you recommended in the first question?
MC: Most of the oak tees are fairly pest and disease free, although they are susceptible to damage from a variety of scale insects, as are the maple varieties. River Birches and Crepe Myrtles are sometimes attractive to aphids.
HGJ: What should homeowners NOT plant because it is invasive, or damages local sidewalks, etc?
MC: Certainly silver maples can be problematic for a variety of reasons: Roots can definitely cause damage to sidewalks, structures and foundations. They also tend to develop weakly attached branching structures susceptible to failure. Ash trees are another unsuitable choice due to the invasion of the emerald ash borer.
HGJ: Anything else you’d like to add about tree care specific to this topic?
MC: Often overlooked is the importance of Deep Root Fertilization with a quality product such as Davey’s Arbor Green Pro® to any woody vegetation. We often fail to realize that we interrupt nature’s renewal by removing leaves from a tree’s surrounding, as they are intended to replenish the needed nutrients.
Thank you to Mr. Cipriano and Davey Tree Experts for answering our questions about this important topic. When you’re shopping for your next fast growing shade tree, stop by your local nursery and garden center for the best selection. Fall is an excellent time to plant trees. It gives your new tree enough time to put down deep roots, and in Virginia, fall tends to be rainy, which provides plenty of water.
Jeanne Grunert is a certified Virginia Master Gardener and the author of several gardening books. Her garden articles, photographs, and interviews have been featured in The Herb Companion, Virginia Gardener, and Cultivate, the magazine of the National Farm Bureau. She is the founder of The Christian Herbalists group and a popular local lecturer on culinary herbs and herbs for health, raised bed gardening, and horticulture therapy.