What is the best tree to plant for a future treehouse?

Asked July 21, 2014, 6:46 PM EDT

We recently moved into a new home in Pleasant Grove and would love to plant a large, fast growing tree with a large trunk, solid wood, and not too many branches to be able to have the option to build a treehouse. What trees are the best bet and when can we expect to build?

Are any of these good options?:

White/Bur Oak

Dawn Redwood
Weeping Willow
Catalpa
Cottonwood
London Plane Tree

Thanks,

Rachel Skeen

Utah County Utah

6 Responses

White/Bur Oak - excellent Dawn Redwood - bad; conical form Weeping Willow - very bad; weak wood, diseases, insects; gets too big Catalpa - I don't think it would be good. The structure is narrow and it is somewhat weak. Cottonwood - same as willow, but not quite as bad. London Plane Tree - Very good. Strong, fast growing, good structure. However, if this is for you or your kids, it really needed to be planted by someone in the previous generation. Unless you are going to have kids a long time by now. Good luck.

This is very helpful. Thank you! You have helped me steer clear of several options to avoid problems down the road. I am a bit worried about height after looking at the London Plane Tree and even the Oak options. However, I have heard good things about the Chinese Elm in Utah. Is this a tree that would work well, considering its rapid growth rate?

Rachel, Most people, when they refer to a Chinese elm (Ulmus parvifolia), mean Siberian elm (Ulmus pumila). I assume that is what you mean since Siberian elm is the fast growing one. However, Siberian alm, like willows and cottonwoods and almost all fast-growing trees except London planetree (sycamore), are disease and insect prone because they put no energy into defense. So no, it would not be good.

Go to our Tree Browser website to look at more tree species -- www.treebrowser.org.

I was referring to the Chinese Elm or Lacebark Elm I think is its other name.

I was referring to the Chinese Elm or Lacebark Elm I think is its other name.

That would be OK, but I don't consider them to be fast growing.