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Fast-Growing Trees

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Fast-growing trees can transform a landscape in a few years. They can bring shade and privacy to an otherwise open situation.

Fast-growing is a relative term when it comes to trees; a fast-growing tree can add 3 to 10 feet (.9-3m) in height and breadth in a year. That means a one or two-year-old sapling will reach the top of an average fence in a year or two. Some fast-growing trees can reach maturity in about 10 years.

If you are looking for quick results, you may want to pay for the time a grower has taken to grow the size tree you want. A tree in a 15-gallon nursery pot will likely be 6 to 10 feet (1.8-3m) tall; a tree in a 24-inch box (the next size up) could be about twice as big.

To ensure quick-growing tree grow quickly, dig a hole twice as wide and deep as the container the tree comes in then amend the soil with aged compost or commercial organic planting mix. Be sure to set tree stakes in place before you actually set the tree in the hole.

Keep newly planted trees well-watered. Tree roots follow deep watering deep into the soil. Feed trees with an all-purpose fertilizer, commonly twice a year.

Paper birch, Betula papyrifera
Paper birch, Betula papyrifera

Fast-Growing Trees

A-B Common NameBotanical NameZones
Acaia, BaileyAcacia baileyana9-10
Ash, greenFraxinus pennsylvanica3-9
Bald cypressTaxodium distichum4-10
Birch, Euorpean whiteBetula pendula2-7
Birch, paperBetula papyrifera2-7
Birch, riverBetula nigra4-9
Birch, whitespireBetula platyphylla ‘Whitespire’4-7
Bird-of-paradise, MexicanCaesalpina mexicana10
Bottlebrush, crimsonCallistemon citrinus9-10
Amur Chokeberry tree, Prunus maackii
Amur Chokeberry tree, Prunus maackii
C-H Common NameBotanical NameZones
Chaste treeVitex agnus-castus6-10
Chokeberry, AmurPrunus maackii2-6
Crape myrtleLagerstoemia indica7-9
Cypress, ArizonaCupressus arizonica7-9
Cypress, Leylandx Cupressocyparis leylandii6-9
Elm, ChineseUlmus parvifolia5-9
Fir, VeitchAbies veitchii3-6
Holly, YauponIlex vomitoria7-10
Honeylocust, thornlessGleditsia triacanthos inermis3-9
Northern red oak tree, Quercus rubra, in autumn
Northern red oak tree, Quercus rubra, in autumn
M-O Common NameBotanical NameZones
Magnolia, saucerMagnolia x soulangiana5-9
Magnolia, redAcer rubrum3-9
MesquiteProsopis glandulosa10
Myrtle, Pacific waxMyrica cerifera7-9
Oak, laurelQuercus laurifolia7-10
Oak, northern redQuercus rubra4-7
Oak, pinQuercus palustris4-8
Oak, scarletQuercus coccinea4-9
Oak, shumardQuercus shumardii5-9
Oak, willowQuercus phellos4-8
Bradford pear in spring,  Pyrus calleryana
Bradford pear in spring, Pyrus calleryana
P-Q Common NameBotanical NameZones
Pagoda tree, JapaneseSophora japonica6-8
Palm, WashingtonWashingtonia robusta9-10
Pear, BradfordPyrus calleryana ‘Bradford’4-8
Pine, whitePinus strobus3-8
Plum, NewportPrunus cerasifera ‘Newport’4-8
Plum, purple-leafPrunus cerasifera ‘Atropurpurea’4-8
PossumhawIlex decidua3-9
Quaking aspenPopulus tremuloides2-6
Japanese Zelkova tree, Zelkova serrata
Japanese Zelkova tree, Zelkova serrata
R-Z Common NameBotanical NameZones
RedbudCercis canadensis3-9
Redwood, dawnMetasequoia glyptostroboides4-8
Russian oliveElaeagnus angustifolia2-7
Spruce, NorwayPicea abies2-7
Willow, corkscrewSalix ‘Golden Curls’4-8
Willow, desertChilopsis linearis8-10
Willow, golden weepingSalix alba ‘Tristis’3-8
Willow, weepingSalix babylonica4-9
Zelkova, JapaneseZelkova serrata5-9

Also of interest:

Trees in Garden Design

Trees for Clay Soil

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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