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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - February 04, 2013

From: Goldsboro, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Trees
Title: Fast growing shade tree for Goldsboro NC
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

What is a good tree to plant in Goldsboro North Carolina to provide shade and a fast growing tree?

ANSWER:

We are going to introduce you to our Native Plant Database so you can select your own tree. The problem for us, from here, is that you did not indicate what soil you were dealing with or if the tree would be planted in a shady spot or a sunny spot. Those are requirements that you can fill in on the Search page for the database, to get closer to the right choice.

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, is committed to the growth, propagation and propagation of plants native not only to North America but also to the area in which those plants grow naturally; in this case, Wayne Co., NC.

North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension for Wayne County, Know your Zone and then Check the Tag gives you good information on what to buy when you visit the nursery; that article states that you are in Zone 8a. The reason we recommend growing only plants native to your area is that they are already growing there and will do well with less water, fertilizer and mantenance. Since you are looking for a tree to provide shade we are going to list "sun" (6 hours or more of sun a day) or "part shade" (2 to 6 hours a day) under Light Requirements when we search for some trees for you. We do want to mention that fast-growing trees can sometimes be a problem later - they tend to be more prone to insects and disease as well as dying younger than other, slower-growing trees.While you can follow our plant links to the webpage on each plant on our list to find out more, we have no way to search on "fast growing."

Here is our list of suggestions:

Acer rubrum (Red maple)

Amelanchier canadensis (Canadian serviceberry)

Betula nigra (River birch)

Carpinus caroliniana (American hornbeam)

Cercis canadensis (Eastern redbud)

Crataegus marshallii (Parsley hawthorn)

Fagus grandifolia (American beech)

Liquidambar styraciflua (Sweetgum)

Magnolia fraseri (Mountain magnolia)

This is just a sample of the many selections for trees for your area. Go to our Native Plant Database and, using the Combination Search on that page, select North Carolina from the dropdown menu, "tree" from Habit or General Appearance and the amount of sun the area will have (as explained above) under Light Requirements. Going down that page you can select on expected mature height of a tree, moisture of soil, even bloom time and color. Click "Submit Combination Search." Depending on how many characteristics you specify, you will get a good list of trees with pictures and links to the webpage on each plant. If you go to the bottom of the webpage you will find a link to Google for still more information on that tree. You can keep playing around with the database until you find the perfect tree native to North Carolina for your location.

 

From the Image Gallery


Red maple
Acer rubrum

Canadian serviceberry
Amelanchier canadensis

River birch
Betula nigra

American hornbeam
Carpinus caroliniana

Eastern redbud
Cercis canadensis

Parsley hawthorn
Crataegus marshallii

American beech
Fagus grandifolia

Sweetgum
Liquidambar styraciflua

Mountain magnolia
Magnolia fraseri

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