What are the 5 Fastest Growing Tree Species? 

Botanists usually categorize slow-growing trees as growth of less than one foot a year. Medium growth trees climb between one foot and two feet a year. Finally, fast-growing trees are any tree species that grow over two feet a year.

There are many reasons you may be on the market for a fast-growing tree. Fast-growing trees take root faster and can sustain harsher climates. Additionally, fast-growing trees mature faster. Once your tree establishes itself, you will need to intervene less with water and protection from animals. Maybe you are just really impatient.

Another reason for a fast-growing tree is you simply need it to reach a mature size quickly. Perhaps you want to grow a natural wall of trees between two properties. If this is the case, you will want a tree that develops as quickly as possible.

Below, we will highlight the top five trees to choose that will grow quickly. No matter what your reason for wanting a fast-growing tree, we will rank them based on growth rate. The top five fast-growing trees are:

1) Thuja Green Giant

2) Weeping Willow

3) Leyland Cypress

4) Lombardy Poplar

5) Quaking Aspen

Each of these trees has unique attributes you may or may not want. Furthermore, some of them are not suitable for all climates and only thrive in limited areas. We will detail here all the advantages and disadvantages of each species and genus.

1) Thuja Green Giant (Thuja standishii x plicata)

The Thuja Green Giant is a hybrid that is part of the Thuja genus

Thuja Green Giant

What is the growth rate of a Thuja Green Giant?

The Thuja Green Giant grows between 3 and 5 feet a year. With an average final height of 50 feet, these trees reach their top height in about 10 years. Also, the spread of a Thuja Green Giant’s branches will reach from 10 to 20 feet.

What does a Thuja Green Giant look like?

All the trees in the Thuja genus are evergreens sporting fan-shaped branchlets of needles. Additionally, the needles are a beautiful, dark green. Furthermore, their evergreen status means they hold that green color year round and will not shed their needles. Thuja Green Giants grow in the traditional conifer, pyramidal shape. Branches grow along almost the full length of the trunk.

What are the things I need to know about planting Thuja Green Giants?

The Thuja Green Giant is an excellent choice when you need a quick-growing barrier tree. You can plant these trees as a stand-alone evergreen or as a natural barrier for wind, noise, or for privacy. All in all, these giants prefer moist soil and full sun. Be aware it does not tolerate salt in any form. Furthermore, the typical life expectancy is between 40 and 60 years.

Pros

It is also low maintenance. The branches grow in a uniform distribution and require no pruning. Moreover, the Thuja Green Giant is resistant to insects and other diseases. They stand up to harsh weather well like wind and rainstorms.

Cons

These trees grow quite tall and so you will need to plan appropriately. Some locations are not suitable for a tree of such height as under power lines. On the other hand, the Thuja Green Giant lives best in the Southeastern United States. So, if you are in the northern states, you may need to find another tree.

2) Weeping Willow (Salix babylonica)

The Weeping Willow is part of the Willow (Salix) genus

Weeping Willow

What is the growth rate of a Weeping Willow?

Weeping Willows grow over 3 feet per year with ease. Some young trees may grow 10 feet per year. If planted near water, you will see them grow to their greatest potential. Ultimately, Weeping Willows will grow to a height of 30 to 40 feet. Their spread will reach an equal size as their height.

What does a Weeping Willow look like?

The Weeping Willow sports long and narrow leaves. They are usually light green with a finely toothed edge. In spring, yellow flowers grow on this tree. Overall, the Weeping Willow grows in a unique and beautiful, drooping shape. The branches grow long and hang or “weep”. In the autumn, the leaves will turn yellow.

What are the things I need to know about planting Weeping Willows?

With the drooping branches and quick growth rate, this tree is also an excellent choice for a barrier tree. However, it is best planted near water. All in all, we advise you to plant your Weeping Willow as a standalone tree so it can gain as much as possible from the soil and sun.

Pros

The Weeping Willow is a beautiful tree. It will add to any garden or yard. With its large and voluminous canopy, you will gain a large natural barrier. As long as the conditional needs are met, such as moist soil and full sun, the Weeping Willow will thrive.

Cons

Weeping Willows really thrive near watery areas like creeks or ponds. The lifespan of these trees is only 30 years. Notably, your Weeping Willow will need weekly watering for its first year after planting. Additionally, you will need to prune your Weeping Willow in the early years, so it gains the proper shape. Finally, Weeping Willows are susceptible to many diseases and pests.

3) Leyland Cypress (Cupressus × leylandii)

The Leyland Cypress is a member of the Cypress (Cupressus) genus part of the Cupressaceae family

Leyland Cypress

What is the growth rate of a Leyland Cypress?

The Leyland Cypress grows between 3 and 4 feet per year. In fact, this tree will gain branches and thicken up quickly as well. The Leyland Cypress grows to a medium height of 60 to 70 feet. Furthermore, it is a narrow tree. The spread is usually less than 25 feet.

What does a Leyland Cypress look like?

The Leyland Cypress is an evergreen featuring needles in a blue-green hue. You will find the needles stay around year-round. Holding the traditional evergreen shape, the Leyland Cypress holds a conical or pyramidal shape. Also, the blue-green needles on these trees are very soft.

What are the things I need to know about planting a Leyland Cypress?

The Leyland Cypress prefers temperate regions. It makes an excellent privacy or blocking tree. Equally important, you can plant it as a standalone tree. Even though they grow to 60 to 70 feet on average, with proper trimming, you can shape that to a lower height to meet your needs.

Pros

While the Leyland Cypress is not drought resistant, you can plant it almost anywhere. Well-drained soil and full sun are necessary for this tree to do well. The quick growth rate and increased hardiness makes this tree a great choice.

Cons

The first year of growth for the Leyland Cypress is very slow but picks up in the second year. After maturity is reached, trimming and pruning will be needed to hold the conical shape. All things considered, you will need to water this tree regularly in the first year and with a lot of water (close to 10 gallons per week!). At the same time, you will need to put a lot of time into growing a sapling for it to last 10 to 20 years.

4) Lombardy Poplar (Populus nigra)

The Lombardy Poplar is part of the Poplars and Aspens (Populus) Genus

Lombardy Poplar

What is the growth rate of a Lombardy Poplar?

The Lombardy Poplar grows between 3 and 4 feet per year. However, many specimens are noted as growing 6 feet per year. The overall height of the Lombardy Poplar is usually between 40 and 60 feet. Also, the spread is narrow, reaching a maximum of 15 feet.

What does a Lombardy Poplar look like?

The Lombardy Poplar grows into a tree column. With a narrow width and medium height, the shape of it is unique. The branches begin near the base of the trunk and are rather thick. In fact, the branches grow parallel to the trunk. You will note the leaves are triangular.

What are the things I need to know about planting Lombardy Poplars?

Overall, these trees make excellent privacy barriers, but need to be planted close together because of the narrow spread. The average lifespan of these trees is 50 years. Your tree will need ample water, as it cannot withstand drought and full sun.

Pros

These trees are cold hardy and will not be damaged or killed by cold weather. Furthermore, with its narrow shape, the Lombardy Poplar will fit in all kinds of tight spaces. The Lombardy Poplar is easy to grow and demands very little maintenance.

Cons

To create a privacy fence, you will need to plant many Lombardy Poplars. Unlike our other two tall and narrow trees listed above, the Lombardy Poplar is not an evergreen. In winter, you will need to depend upon the tight growing branches for privacy. Moreover, the Lombardy Poplar is highly prone to the stem canker disease. If contracted, your tree will only live 10 to 15 years.

5) Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides)

Quaking Aspen is part of the Poplars and Aspens (Populus) genus

Quaking Aspen

What is the growth rate of a Quaking Aspens?

The Quaking Aspen grows at least 2 feet per year. It reaches a smaller height of 40 to 50 feet. Also, the width reaches 20 to 30 feet.

What does a Quaking Aspens look like?

The leaves of the Quaking Aspen grow at an unusual angle from the branches. Because of this unusual angle, the leaves shutter in the breeze and can be heard from a long way off. Those same leaves turn to a stunning yellow in autumn. Moreover, the smooth trunk is white and stands out along the landscape. These tall and narrow trees grow in tight groupings or colonies.

What are the things I need to know about planting Quaking Aspens?

The Quaking Aspen grows well just about anywhere, but really thrives in mountainous regions. Aspens grow in colonies and love to grow near each other. In fact, they need to live near each other. For this reason, the Quaking Aspen is almost impossible to kill, as the colony will be reborn from the roots.

Pros

This species grows in the widest range across North America compared to any other tree. Additionally, it is a hardy tree. It can withstand many climates. Like all the trees on this list, it prefers moist soil and full sun. Also, the Quaking Aspen lives a longer life than most of the trees listed here as it lives closer to 60 years.

Cons

Though Quaking Aspens grow quickly, the canopy is restricted to the top of the tree. If looking for a quick growing tree, you found a superb choice. However, it is a poor choice for a privacy tree. Moreover, you may find the constant sound of the rustling leaves to be overbearing if you are not prepared.

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