Many who plant trees in their yards are impatient to have them grow to size and instead opt for fast growing trees. Most fast growing trees are readily available and very popular at most nurseries and home stores. Just about every conceivable variety of tree has a fast-growing cousin. Most of these trees will be water-hungry and need a lot of nutrients for the first few years of their life. Many can be pruned to achieve specific shapes and all are beloved as American landscaping staples.
8 Popular Fast-Growing Trees
1. Crape Myrtle
These are often misspelled Crepe because of the similar pronunciation and their crepe paper like blooms. Colors range from pink to red to white or purple. Most often grown in the Southern states, the Crape myrtle blooms from July to September. These require full sun, grow in zones 7-9, and grow to up to 25 feet in height in about three to four years.
2. Dawn Redwood
This conifer is grown throughout North America and can grow to dizzying heights, up to 100 feet. These grow well in moist soils in full or partial sun, but don’t tend to bloom. They do produce light brown cones and have evergreen-style needle-like leaves.
3. Empress Tree
This is a very popular flowering tree that grows up to 60 feet in height in most moderate and warm zones. They bloom in mid-spring with various colors, usually shades of red, most often lavender. These trees grow very quickly, reaching full height in only half a dozen years.
4. Leyland Cypress
These are commonly mistaken as large shrubs and are popular as privacy fences. They are conifers and they grow at about 3 feet per year and some varieties get up to 100 feet in height. They have a beautiful evergreen with a few varieties growing color-tipped foliage or berries.
5. Lombardy Poplar
This is one of the fastest growing trees that grows in the widest-possible area, zones 3-9. They can grow up to 100 feet high and bloom with beautiful showcases of red and green in early to mid spring.
6. River Birch
This are a popular tree for their papery, peeling layers of bark which peel away to reveal shades of orange, gray, or lavender. These can grow up to 70 feet high and nearly as wide. They grow quickly.
7. Sweet Gum
This fast-growing, conical shade tree has glossy green foliage that turns beautiful colors in the fall. It’s distinctive, spiky fruit-type nuts set it apart from other trees. It grows in zones 5-9, up to 75 feet high in full sun. Several varieties have become popular for various needs. The narrow, multi-colored Festival and the small, shrub-like Gumball are two very popular varieties.
The most well known and possibly most easily recognized of the fast growers, the Willow, especially the Weeping and Pussy Willow varieties, can grow into a forest in only a few short years. These grow in nearly all zones and some types get up to 80 feet in height in full sun. Willows usually bloom in the spring with variously-shaped nut pods, depending on their type.
Want to learn more about fast growing trees?
Check out these websites for helpful information:
Choose a Tree Variety
Tree Varieties and Tree Care
Growing Crape Myrtles by Clemson University
Growing River Birch Trees by Clemson University
Growing Leyland Cypress Trees by Clemson University