The Best Fast Growing Trees for Hot, Dry Climates

Wendy S. Delmater
By Wendy S. Delmater on Sat, Aug 29, 2015 - 1:36pm

The Best Fast Growing Trees for Hot, Dry Climates

If you live in an area with a hot, dry climate this article will help you know what to grow for cooling shade.

Trees can easily reduce the temperature in your xeriscape garden and on your home's exterior by up to 10 degrees F. in the summer when they are planted on the south and west sides of your home. So here are some of the best fast-growing trees that do well in a hot, dry climate and will add 2 to 4 feet in height every year. Some are quite drought tolerant, some need regular watering. All will help you reduce your air conditioning bill!

There are also links to lists of desert fruit trees, nut trees, and palms including date palms. I sometimes wish I lived in an area where you could grow dates! But I visited a desert palm oasis about a half-hour from Yuma, AZ and the climate was a bit too hot.



sheilagrace's picture
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fast growing trees

Thank you for posting this article. We live in a cold semi arid climate in eastern WA. Annual rain 9" - 12" and have the extra challenge of selecting species that can handle cold. Black  locust is the number one fast growing tree we have found to be very useful. We have a full inventory of trees & shrubs that we have planted towards regenerating our 21 acre property. Feel free to contact us;



jennifersam07's picture
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Thanks, Wendy

We live in hill country of Texas. It gets lots of rain sometimes, then nothing for months. Very confusing for this midwestern transplant. The university extension publishes a booklet with the safest trees: mostly oaks though, and they are so slow. So I'm going to try some of these...


WillCB's picture
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I disagree with your idea to use Black Locust.  I've seen nothing good about the tree - it has invasive properties on every occasion I personally saw one of these trees.  I went to look up the arborist view and they list the following:


Black locusts have invasive traits that enable them to spread aggressively. While these trees have demonstrated invasive traits, there is insufficient supporting research to declare them so pervasive that they cannot be recommended for any planting sites. Review of risks should be undertaken before selecting these trees for planting sites. Black locust produces hanging clusters of very fragrant white flowers in spring. This fast-growing native tree can form colonies and has brittle wood. Sharp spines may be present, especially on sucker growth. They are also susceptible to locust borers.


I have seen the roots of these trees lift sidewalks and devastate everything from gardens to yards.  Maybe a better solution is a anthracnose resistent sycamore, or planetree.

Bytesmiths's picture
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How about Paulownia?

How about Empress Tree, Paulownia tomentosa? It is called invasive in the Eastern US, but typically does not spread where there is hard frost. (It should more properly be called "human spread," as its pre-styrofoam use as a packing material helped spread it along rail lines.)

It is one of the fastest growing trees in the world. The wood is straight-grained and easily split and as rot-resistant as cedar, so it is often used for posts. The edible, showy flowers come out before the leaves, for a spectacular display. The leaves are huge, and make a great, nitrogen-rich mulch. It coppices and pollards. As a pollard, it makes even larger leaves, up to a metre across.

We've started several hundred. Three-year-old saplings are crowding the roof of the greenhouse, 4 metres up! And that was after an unusually hard winter killed the central leader.

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