Need a fast growing disease resistance tree in southern Ontario


At my neighbour’s request, the city of Etobicoke/Toronto just cut down a shade tree of towering height and leaving a stump of about 6′ across. (My guess, the age of the tree was about 100 years or more.) As of the removal of that tree, my air conditioner has run on relentlessly. In the late afternoon, my front door handle is almost too hot to touch. Please suggest a fast growing shade tree which drops only leaves in the fall (no nuts or fruits) and is disease and insect resistance. Thank you.


It is awful, and a shock to your electricity bills,  to lose a towering shade tree, but there are a number of options available to you.  Here is a link to a previous Toronto Master Gardener post on this issue which suggest a number of alternatives.

Others that you might consider are:

  • River Birch (Betula nigra) is a beautiful fast growing native tree, which can reach a height of…. It has a very attractive peeling bark, much darker than the white birch.  As it gets larger River Birch will develop catkins in the spring; however these are fairly innocuous and do not result a thousands of small seedlings to deal with.  River Birch is fully resistant to the birch borer, to which many other birches are susceptible.
  • Witch Hazel (Hammamelis).  Although typically considered a shrub, Witch Hazel can grown more than 30 feet in height.  It is multi-stemed, getting ribbon-like flowers on its bare stems in late fall.  Witch Hazels can be planted very close to a house; we have one which reaches the second floor of our house and provides much needs shade from afternoon light in our living room.
  • Red Oak (Quercus rubra), is a fast growing oak which can exceed 100 feet in height.  It is a statuesque tree, with red autumn leaves on young trees; autumn leaves may vary in colour as the tree matures.  Although it may eventually develop acorns, one shades our house (up to the top of the third story), which has grown from 6 inch seedling in the last twenty years, has yet to produce one.

The City of Toronto publishes a brochure on the trees available for planting on city property, such at the part of front yards near the street, which you might find of interest for a description of the trees: