Fast Growing Trees
Fast Growing Trees
Fast growing trees are planted for their ability to mature in a short period. Most of them are grown as shade trees or privacy trees. Always plant fast-growing trees away from utility lines, homes, and driveways to minimize damage when their branches (or even large trunks) break during storms. Pay attention to the location of septic lines and sidewalks, which can be disrupted by roots. Some trees, especially fast growers, naturally have with narrow crotch branch attachments. Regular pruning can help but won’t eliminate the problem.
Choosing Fast-Growing Trees for Privacy and Beauty
As long as you understand their limited lifespan, planting fast-growing trees is not a problem. Do expect some extra maintenance and damage issues when they reach maturity. For example, some selections have a messy annual flower, fruit, needle, or pod droppings you will want to consider.
These are examples of the trees are often selected for their rapid growth:
- Bald Cypress
A good choice for wet or swampy sites, bald cypress (Taxodium Distichum) has few insect or disease problems. The foliage turns russet red in late fall before dropping and exposing attractive reddish-brown bark. Growing at a rate of 18 to 24 inches per year, it can reach up to 100 feet tall and 40 feet wide. Bald cypress is a North American native plant
- Box Elder
Box elder (Acer Negundo) has some real drawbacks: It can be messy, weedy, and short-lived. But it thrives in tough conditions — even in the Dakotas, western Nebraska, and eastern Colorado — where many other trees fail. It’s also useful for windbreaks and grows on most sites.
- Chinese Tallow Tree
Chinese tallow tree (Sapium Sebiferum) is a good replacement for poplars in warmer regions because it encounters fewer pests. It can show good fall color and grows with a rounded shape. At a growth rate of 12 to 18 inches per year, it eventually reaches up to 40 feet. Although it’s a good shade tree, avoid placing it near decks, patios, or terrace gardens because the flower and fruit litter can be a problem. Instead, tuck boost privacy with this fast-growing tree by placing it in a back corner of your landscape.
- Cottonwoods and Lombardy Poplars
Long known for their propensity to grow along rivers and other moist areas in the Eastern United States, cottonwoods (Populus Deltoides) also are known for their brittle, weak wood. They grow 3 to 4 feet per year, reaching up to 70 feet tall. Their relatives, Lombardy poplars (Populus nigra var. Italica), named after the Italian region where they originated, are often used as 40- to 50-foot-tall screens.
An excellent fast-growing tree to boost privacy in the corner of a large residential lot, dawn redwood (Metasequoia Glyptostroboides) grows about 2 feet per year until reaching maturity at about 80 feet tall. It grows best in a moist or wet soil in the sun or shade. One interesting thing about dawn redwood is that it looks like an evergreen during the growing season with soft, fine needles. Then in autumn, the needles turn shades of red and brown before dropping, exposing the tree’s attractive branching pattern and bark in winter.
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