Growing a tree is a journey of patience and determination. The efforts you put in now will pay off decades later. However, this doesn’t necessarily need to be the case. Some trees grow so quickly that they reach maturity in just a handful of years. Whether you’re looking for some quick shade or just want faster landscaping, there’s a tree for you.
When it comes to fast-growing trees, the silver maple tree is both legendary and infamous. For some, the silver maple is a landscaping dream. On the other hand, it proliferates that it can dominate an area. Silver maples transplant easily when small, can recover from flooding, and even do well in rocky soil. A silver maple usually grows one to two feet each year.
Evergreens are some of the most beautiful and graceful trees you can plant, and the eastern white pine is no exception. This species makes for great shade trees and windbreaks, and you can easily turn them into a hedge. Despite its positive qualities, the eastern white pine is an incredibly messy tree. If you plan to plant this tree, be ready to clean up plenty of pinecones and fallen needles throughout the year. You can expect an eastern white pine to grow between 12 and 15 inches per year.
If you’re looking for a tree that grows quickly and looks beautiful while doing so, the tulip tree is a perfect choice. Tulip trees are famous for their unique leaves and gorgeous flowers, though their foliage color is often what stands out the most. These trees grow between 15 and 18 inches each year and can eventually grow to be 100 feet tall. Unfortunately, tulip trees don’t grow flowers until they reach maturity, but their leaves are charming enough to make up for that.
For a truly fast-growing tree, look no further than the Leyland cypress. These evergreens are cute at first but quickly grow to heights of 50 feet or more. The average Leyland cypress can grow up to four feet per year. These rapidly-developing trees have soft, fine-textured leaves and make for great hedges or screen trees. They can even thrive in urban conditions with rougher soils and pollution.
Every tree has a unique feature that adds a little something special. For the hardy cider gum tree, their sweet fragrance is one of the best reasons to plant them. Cider gum foliage is naturally aromatic, and the small clusters of flowers that bloom in the summer simply add to the atmosphere that this wonderful tree creates. You can expect the cider gum tree to grow between two and three feet each year.
This incredible tree isn’t just impressive in name but in stature, as well. Redwoods are famous for their massive heights and longevity. While dawn redwoods are technically mature once they reach 80 feet tall, they can continue growing until they reach almost 150 feet. These trees grow around two feet every year and look just like an evergreen throughout most seasons. As the cooler seasons approach, the tree’s needles drop to reveal its bark’s intricate patterning.
People who live in wet areas with tons of standing water often have difficulty finding trees that can withstand the moisture. The bald cypress is a beautiful but resilient species. Not only can it tolerate standing water, but it also has few issues with insects or disease. A bald cypress usually grows 18 to 24 inches per year and can reach over 100 feet tall.
Fans of evergreen trees who still wish they could see the beautiful colors of fall foliage should consider filling their yards with larch trees. During the spring and summer months, larch trees have short, green needles and charming cones. In autumn, the needles brighten and transform into a shimmering, golden color. One of the fastest-growing varieties is the European larch, which grows 12 to 18 inches every year.
One of the most iconic and beautiful trees of all time is the weeping willow. With its long, gently-arching branches, the weeping willow makes a perfect focal point for any yard that needs a little elegance. Weeping willows can grow more than two feet per year, with some reaching growth rates as impressive as 10 feet every year. However, the tradeoff for this incredible growth rate is a short lifespan. Most weeping willows only live for 20 to 30 years.
Crossbreeding has been popular in gardening and landscaping for many years, and some of the greatest successes are the hybrid poplars. These unique trees grow six to ten times faster than similar species, which amounts to between five and eight feet each year. Most people plant hybrid poplars for fast shade or easy firewood in the coming years. Some hybrid poplars grow to well over 100 feet in height, with branches extending over 40 feet in diameter.
Quaking aspens get their name from their flat leaves, which attach to the branch with a long, slender stalk that causes the leaves to "quake" in the slightest breeze. Quaking aspens do best in moist, well-drained soil. Plant them in areas with northern or eastern exposure to protect from harsh full sun. Quaking aspens are not drought-tolerant and will not grow well in areas where the soil becomes dry and hot over the summer.
The hackberry is a tough tree, making it a good choice for difficult growing conditions. It tolerates a wide range of temperatures and soil conditions and can grow well in areas with heavy air pollution. The hackberry does best in areas of full sun. It produces small, round fruit in the fall that remain through the winter. The berries are popular with many birds and will attract robins, cedar waxwings, and other winter species to your yard.
Contrary to its name, the river birch does not require planting near water. It is a good choice for planting in wet areas, however, as it tolerates excessive moisture better than many fast-growing trees. It does best with exposure to full or partial shade and can tolerate some drought conditions. Deer enjoy the leaves and bark, while the seeds attract a variety of birds.
Pin oaks are a good choice if you are looking for a fast-growing tree that is also tall. Take their mature size into consideration before planting, as they can reach 70 feet. They prefer full sun and tolerate wet soil. The leaves of the pin oak change to red or bronze in the fall, and the acorns they produce are a popular meal for deer, squirrels, songbirds, wild turkeys, and ducks.
The northern catalpa is an attention-grabbing tree. It has large, heart-shaped leaves and produces clusters of white flowers in late spring and early summer. Later in the season, it develops seed pods that can be nearly two feet long. The trunk and branches have a distinctive twisting shape. The northern catalpa does best in full sun to partial shade and is tolerant of a variety of soil conditions. Hummingbirds and bees visit when it flowers. Keep in mind, though, that dropped flower petals, seed pods, and leaves from this tree create a mess if they aren't cleaned up.