Fast growing shade trees and native grass

Asked July 5, 2017, 3:19 PM EDT

Due to pine beetles many of our pines and firs need to be removed. We will miss the shade they provide (many are 100ft tall) and would like to plant fast growing shade trees. Preferably water-wise and large, but would consider anything that will grow well. We are considering red maple and red oak, are these good options? Cypress, Burr Oak, Pin Oak, Silver Oak, etc? Most of the trees we plant will be along the edge of woodlands and a few will be specimen plantings. Also, we would like to plant a couple areas to water-wise, low maintenance grass. I do not mind mowing but do not want to constantly water, something kids could play on would be preferable, but we're open to options. One area will be exposed/full sun and the other shaded by woodland. Thank you for any recommendations.

Josephine County Oregon sustainable gardening and landscaping landscape design

1 Response

I recommend the booklet Selecting, Planting and Caring for a New Tree from the Oregon Extension. Find it at

Another source is a list from Shooting Star Nursery at (This is not an endorsement of that nursery, but they are local and have useful lists online.) Another of their lists is for native trees at

I suggest you choose favorite landscape trees for your yard, and use natives for your woodland areas. Use the charts and lists above to select the right tree for your site. Personally I like the Rayburn Ash and the large leafed maples.

As far as grasses go, this publication has a chart where you can find information on drought tolerant grasses. It looks like the fescues are a good choice.

I know I am giving you a lot of information, but I want to extend your choices. Be aware that price, availability, canopy size and toleration for messy trees are all factors to consider in making your choices.

Thanks for using Ask an Expert.