Landscape Design

The Fastest Fast Growing Trees

By Ben | June 9, 2010

Some of the most popular trees around today are fast growing trees.  Fast growing trees give homeowners the opportunity to realize the benefits of a mature tree sooner. Individuals seem to especially focus on using fast growing shade trees and fast growing hedges in their landscape to reap the benefits of these value added landscape design practices sooner.  Today, I want to focus on ten of the fastest fast growing trees available on  Once these trees are properly planted and established these trees will grow several feet per year.

In no particular order these are some of the fastest growing trees available.  Please note that with proper tree care you can accelerate the growth of these trees even more.  A solid root system will go a long way in helping trees to grow faster and good annual pruning practices will help maximize the potential of your tree.

Hybrid Poplar

A very fast-growing tree, up to 5 to 8 feet per year.  A versatile tree that can be used as a deciduous screen, shade tree to reduce energy cost, and often planted in rows for firewood.

Weeping Willow

Depending on the cultivar weeping willow trees can grow from 3 to 8 feet per year, making it one of the fastest of the fast growing trees. Salix babylonica will grow 3 feet per year.

Quaking Aspen

This speedy growing tree is a member of the same family as Hybrid Poplar.  It averages 2 to 3 of growth per year and adds value to any landscape because of tremendous fall color.

October Glory Red Maple

The fast growing red maple cultivar has been bred for brilliant fall foliage.  See Julie Walton Shaver growth rate chart and pictures of her October Glory Red Maple tree from 1999 to 2006.

Arborvitae Green Giant

Growing up to 3 feet a year this hybrid is an exceptional landscape tree for use as a screen, hedge, windbreak, or single specimen.

River Birch

Known for its unique bark, fall color, and bird habitat the River Birch is also one of the fastest growing birches. Betula nigra can grow up to 1.5 to 2 feet per year in ideal conditions.

Dawn Redwood

On good sites, its growth is rapid, with a tree in Virginia reaching 120 feet in 30 years or an average of 4 feet per year.

Leyland Cypress

This rapidly growing evergreen can easily grow 3 feet per year and has a great column shape making it an extremely popular tree in home landscape design.

Paper Birch

This extremely popular fast growing tree has been known to grow at 1.5 to 2 feet per year.

Pin Oak

A large shade tree that quickly reaches its 70 foot height with an average growth rate of 2.5 feet per year.

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  • Reply Amy Rogge June 9, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    My Norway spruce is growing 2-3 ft. a year, as is a tamarack I planted. Both are in zone 5 in central NY. Beautiful!

    • Reply Ben June 10, 2010 at 3:07 pm

      That is great news about your trees.

      What other trees have people found to grow quickly?

  • Reply Beth Brandel July 1, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Kansas City area (zone 5 or 6, depending on which map one uses)–Smoke trees do great! Several feet per year; be prepared to prune. I’m also having great results with American Elder. Both of these thrive in the clay, but the smoke trees must be in a well-drained area.

  • Reply James Spragens July 1, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    The MIMOSA we planted just two years ago– looked like a long switch– is growing very well in Central Kentucky. Full of blooms now.

    • Reply Ben July 1, 2010 at 12:44 pm

      You have to be careful with what you plant, especially on Fast Growing Trees. The Mimosa trees are listed as an invasive species by several government organizations (USDA, US Forest Service…). In controlled landscape setting it could be perfectly fine, but you need careful of it spreading into the wild especially on the Mimosa which seeds readily.

      Learn more about Invasive Plants at which is a joint project of The Bugwood Network, USDA Forest Service & USDA APHIS PPQ.

      Learn more about MIMOSA about invasive:

  • Reply Rori July 1, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    I planted an alder about 8 years ago and it has cleared 30′.
    Central Indiana

  • Reply Susan July 1, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    I agree with Beth – our smoke tree from Arbor day is growing before our eyes literally. When it rains in North Texas, it just shoots up! 15 feet tall in 3 years. Also a beautiful red color in the fall. Ours is growing in clay in full sun with minimal extra water in zone 7.

  • Reply barbara Cortes July 3, 2010 at 8:39 am

    I recently came across one of the most beautiful trees – it is a European Larch. Do you have any idea where I could purchase this tree?

  • Reply Carla July 6, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    Check with the commercial nursery, Forest Farm, for the European larch, (Larix decidua).

  • Reply Susan Robinson July 9, 2010 at 9:59 am

    First- I live in Northeast, N.C. on the coast. Our developement was built on canals. I have a corner lot. I have a 2-3 yr old Golden Trunk Weeping Willow which I bought at approx. 5 ft. tall. Now it is past our second story willows. It is always getting bettles but now it has locuses, too. It has come down with something that is making it’s leaves turn yellow and spots that first are aqua then turn black. I can’t spray it any longer – What do I do???? Please Help!! P.S. You sent me Mertle Craps for sending money and I don’t know what color they will be and I don’t want to plant two of the same color next to each other, if the third is different. Thanks – Susan

  • Reply Iris Halmos July 19, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    Many of my evergreens have brown tops and also some of the tips of branches. I live in Western M.D. 21502

  • Reply Julie Walton Shaver August 9, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    Thanks for linking to my October Glory red maple page. I added a new picture to the growth chart recently, from July 2010. It’s here:

    My zelkova page shows the growth of several of those trees. Your readers might find that page interesting too, though zelkovas are not known for being fast-growing, they are known for being good shade trees.

  • Reply Sheila Talbot August 10, 2010 at 11:29 am

    I am wanting to plant evergreen trees for a privacy screening on my property. The area is completely shaded and the ground is very rocky. I would like a fast growing tree. Is there any tree that will survive these conditions? I appreciate any help you can give me! Thank you!
    Sheila Talbot

  • Reply M Barnes August 11, 2010 at 11:32 am

    The ash trees and the locust trees in my front yard are diseased. I would like to plant some fast growing trees to replace them, maybe poplars, or quaking aspens, but I would like trees that are disease resistant. What is a good choice. My soil is mostly clay, and my front yard can get very dry in the summer. Thank you for your help.

  • Reply Player Profiles October 29, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    Maybe you should edit the webpage subject title Arbor Day Tree Care & Landscape Design Blog » The Fastest Fast Growing Trees to something more specific for your webpage you create. I liked the blog post still.

  • Reply John February 28, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    I’m looking for a tree called Texas Bignonia. Also known as a Texas Giant. Do you know where I can get these trees?

    • Reply Ben March 1, 2011 at 9:12 am

      Hi John,
      I can’t find any scientific information on the Texas Giant from the USDA or I am concerned that it might be an invasive species or a tree that might have weak wood. One forum I read said it was an empyress tree which is invasive.

      Does anyone have any better information? The 15 feet per year claim is sending red flags for me.

  • Reply Milford Mizner April 15, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    You can certainly see your enthusiasm within the work you write. The arena hopes for more passionate writers such as you who aren’t afraid to mention how they believe. All the time follow your heart.

  • Reply Steve-O June 23, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    a question about Green Giants. We planted about 10 this year. Their not even a foot off the ground — in April. So far they’re alive but when will they start to GROW? I want to use them as a hedge but the are pretty tiny. I have them spaced 5 feet apart and they get lots of sun (and more than normal rain this spring/early summer.) Ideas? We would like a hedge so we can take down an ugly fence behind them.

    • Reply Ben June 23, 2011 at 3:17 pm

      Hi Steve-O. Since you planted your Green Giants this year they will likely establish their root system for next few months and then start growing upwards and outwards in the next year.

  • Reply Diedre Williams July 23, 2011 at 7:35 am

    We live near Savannah, GA. My son grew up climbing on & Playing under a huge Live Oak Tree. I am a landscape design/layout person. My son moved to Griffin,GA.& Wife is expecting our 1st grandson. I have 2 live oaks I want to transplant up there! What are my chances of it making it? They are aprox. 5″to7″ cal. My transplant survival rate is 99.9 when moving large plants & trees up to 8″ cal. but that’s staying in the Savannah area. ANY HELPFUL HINTS WILL BE GREATLY APPRECIATED!!

  • Reply Frances August 3, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    I live in Area 9- Desert Hot Springs, CA. Need a tree & shrub that will withstand sandy soil, desert sun and heat (115 degrees), and winds gust up to 50 mph plus. Have a septic tank and solar system so the trees shouldn’t be over 25 feet. Tree Wizard took in everything but the winds. What would you suggest?

  • Reply Dilso August 15, 2011 at 1:17 am

    what do you know about oliver tree?

    • Reply Ben August 15, 2011 at 8:26 am

      Hi Dilso,
      Sorry I don’t know anything about oliver tree. I looked online and in my reference guides. Did you mean olive tree?

  • Reply David October 9, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Hello Ben, I purchased a 16′ dawn redwood about 100 miles from my home. When the nursery delivered it, the top 6″ of the leader had broken off. Should i take any active steps? Or let the tree resolve itself?

  • Reply Frances October 10, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    I tried the California Cooperative Extension for a suggestion of tree in my Area 9 area, Desert Hot Springs, CA. After 2 months have not received any feedback. They are useless, would suggest to you that you don’t recommend them.
    My answer to David about his dawn redwood, I had one in Sacramento: the top shouldn’t matter too much unless you want a single crown. Suggest you do not plant near your house as it is a tree that goes for water. I had to have my beautiful tree removed because I made that mistake. I planted 15′ from the house and it was too close.

  • Reply natural links December 3, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    It is truly a nice and useful piece of info. I am glad that you shared this helpful info with us. Please stay us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply Susanne Rossi January 11, 2018 at 11:10 am

    I’d like to plant an aspen tree, I have one that is 10ft tall but would like another one say 6-7 ft to plant my zone is 6 the neighbors down the road have several adult Aspens but I was told Blight is common in aspens, any way to prevent that from happening? Thankyou. Susie Rossi

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