What is the Fastest Growing Tree? Unveiling Top Speedy Growers for Your Garden

Eager to transform your garden into a lush oasis without the long wait? Fast-growing trees are your ticket to a vibrant landscape in record time. Whether you’re starting anew or simply can’t stand the wait, these natural speedsters offer quick gratification.

You’re in luck because we’ve tapped into expert knowledge to bring you a list of the fastest-growing trees. From the Rowan’s steady ascent to the top performers that skyrocket in height, get ready to meet the champions of rapid growth and learn just how swiftly you can enjoy the full benefits of a mature, leafy canopy.

What Makes a Tree Fast Growing?


The speed at which a tree grows is heavily influenced by its genetic makeup. Hybrid Vigor is a term used to describe the phenomenon where the crossbreeding of two different species results in offspring that grow faster than either parent. A shining example of this is the Willow Hybrid, exhibiting rapid growth of up to 10 feet within a year. Trees like the Virgilia genus, often called a “tree-in-a-hurry,” can swiftly grow to substantial heights due to their genetic predispositions for rapid growth.

Environmental Factors

Trees don’t grow in a vacuum; their growth rate is also affected by the environment they’re planted in. Factors like sunlight, soil quality, rainfall, and temperature all play crucial roles. For instance, the Eastern White Pine, Ontario’s provincial tree, can grow up to 90 cm annually when planted in direct sunlight. In contrast, wind exposure can cause the same species to grow crooked with shorter branches. Thus, ideal conditions are integral for a tree to reach its maximum genetic growth potential.

Nutrient Availability

Finally, nutrient availability in the soil is vital for a tree’s growth. Trees require an adequate supply of essential nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to prosper. Without them, even the most genetically blessed fast-growing trees will struggle to achieve their full potential. Rich, well-drained soils will often support rapid growth, allowing trees like the Virgilia and the fragrant Citharexylum spinosum to flourish quickly in the garden setting.

Characteristics of Fast Growing Trees

Height and Growth Rate

Fast-growing trees exhibit an impressive ability to shoot up in height within a brief period. Your selection of a fast-growing tree can mean witnessing height increases of over 24 inches per year. For example, the Weeping Willow can grow between 4 to 8 feet annually. In just three years, you might see it reach a height of up to 30 feet. The American Sycamore is no slouch either, with potential growth of up to 6 feet per year. Case in point is the Autumn Blaze Red Maple, which doesn’t just add height but does so rapidly enough to break the 50-foot mark in just a few years.

Tree VarietyGrowth Per YearHeight In 3 YearsMature Height
Weeping Willow4-8 feet15-30 feet40-50 feet
American SycamoreUp to 6 feet20-25 feet70 feet
Tulip PoplarUp to 6 feet15-20 feetUp to 70 feet
Quaking AspenUp to 5 feet15-20 feet40-50 feet

Canopy Width

The canopy spread is just as important as height for your landscape. Fast-growing trees can quickly provide a wide, leafy, green canopy, creating shade and visual beauty. The Tulip Poplar, for example, not only sports rapid height growth but also develops a substantial canopy that broadens the tree’s overall presence. Weeping Willow’s canopy can flourish to envelop a wide area, making it an excellent natural umbrella for those sunny days.


Here’s a reality check: Faster-growing trees often live shorter lives. It’s an evolutionary trade-off that sees them thriving and reproducing quicker than their slower-growing counterparts. Trees in nutrient-rich tropical climates not only grow faster but also tend to have shorter reproductive cycles. Contrast this with trees in less fertile regions, such as temperate or arctic climates, which grow slower but can outlive the quick risers. The lifespan of a tree can be an essential factor to consider when planning your garden or landscape, especially if you’re looking for longevity as well as height and aesthetics.

Leyland Cypress tree showcasing rapid growth in a lush garden setting

Benefits of Fast Growing Trees

Provides Shade and Privacy

Fast-growing trees have the advantage of rapidly transforming your outdoor spaces with abundant shade and privacy. With a potential growth rate of several feet per year, these trees quickly elevate the comfort and usability of gardens and yards. They act as natural sunscreens, reducing the heat around your home and consequently lowering energy costs associated with cooling.

  • A mature tree offers a significant amount of shade, creating a cooler microclimate suitable for underplantings.
  • Trees like the Hybrid Poplar can grow up to 8 feet in just one year, offering an almost immediate sense of enclosure and seclusion.
  • Certain species like the Willow Hybrid are specifically utilised for privacy hedges due to their dense foliage and swift height gain.

Remember, a leafy canopy is not just about personal comfort; it also means protection for plants that might not thrive under full sun exposure.

Carbon Sequestration

Fast-growing trees are champions in the sphere of carbon sequestration. They absorb carbon dioxide at a higher rate due to their accelerated photosynthetic activity. The storage of carbon in their extensive biomass (trunks, stems, leaves, and roots) helps mitigate the effects of climate change.

  • Trees such as the Quaking Aspen tend to absorb and lock away more carbon than slower-growing species.
  • An increase in biodiversity of your garden with various tree species will also enhance its resilience and carbon storage potential.

Aesthetically Pleasing

Apart from the practical benefits, fast-growing trees add immediate visual appeal to any landscape. Offering a broad array of colours, textures, and forms, they can dramatically transform a space in just a few seasons.

  • Flowering species, such as the Royal Empress Tree, can add stunning floral displays to your garden every year.
  • Trees with unique foliage, like the Lombardy Poplar, provide architectural interest with their columnar growth habit.

Popular Fast Growing Trees

Leyland Cypress

When you’re aiming for privacy or a green fence, the Leyland Cypress stands in a league of its own. Its claim to horticultural fame is its exceptional growth rate of 3 to 5 feet per year, reaching mature heights of 40 to 60 feet. Adapting to a broad range of soil conditions, the Leyland Cypress is a versatile choice whether your garden beds consist of sandy soils or dense clay. In areas with hardiness zones of 6 to 10, this coniferous tree thrives under full sun exposure, establishing itself quickly and providing the immediate gratification of lush, live fencing.

Its dense, symmetrical canopy not only makes it visually appealing but also a top pick for creating natural privacy screens. Moreover, it manhandles drought conditions with ease once it has settled into its new home. Pruning is optional, but for those who prefer a more manicured look, it responds well to being shaped.

Growth CharacteristicsLeyland Cypress
Zones6 to 10
Sun ExposureFull sun
Growth Per Year3 to 5 feet
Mature Height40 to 60 feet
Soil PreferenceAdaptable

Hybrid Poplar

The Hybrid Poplar is yet another heavy hitter in the fast-growing tree arena. Its extraordinary growth can reach a whopping 8 feet per year, especially under optimal conditions of ample light and water, outpacing almost every other tree in a race to the skies. Its natural habitat spans across hardiness zones 3 to 9, indicating its resilience in a variety of climates.

Not only does it outperform in growth speed, but the Hybrid Poplar also has the upper hand in urban environments due to its minimal pest and disease troubles. This tree isn’t just about stature; it also has a place in multiple industries, serving as raw material for paper production, among other uses.

Poplar tree in an urban landscape, symbolizing fast growth and resilience

Growth CharacteristicsHybrid Poplar
Zones3 to 9
Growth Per YearUp to 8 feet
UsesUrban and Industrial
ResiliencePest and Disease Hardy

Royal Empress Tree

Often lauded as one of the fastest-growing trees on the planet, the Royal Empress Tree can ascend to heights few can rival. Homeowners love it for its heart-shaped leaves and lavender blooms that not only add character to the landscape but also grow at a rate to stun an audience. With an impressive yearly growth of up to 10 to 15 feet, it quickly morphs from sapling to spectacle.

Found across zones 5 to 9, the Royal Empress is not just about rapid growth; it’s also known for its ability to improve air quality by absorbing pollutants at a higher rate than many other tree species. This attribute, combined with its stunning visual appeal, makes the Royal Empress Tree an excellent choice for those looking to make a significant ecological and aesthetic impact swiftly.

Growth CharacteristicsRoyal Empress Tree
Zones5 to 9
Growth Per Year10 to 15 feet
Environmental BenefitAir Quality Improvement
Aesthetic AppealLavender Blooms


You’ve discovered the remarkable growth rates and benefits of the Leyland Cypress, Hybrid Poplar, and Royal Empress Tree. Whether you’re looking for shade, privacy or to make a positive impact on the environment, these trees are surefire options that will meet your needs. Their adaptability and resilience make them ideal for a variety of landscapes and purposes. Now equipped with this knowledge, you’re ready to choose the right fast-growing tree for your space and enjoy the multitude of advantages they bring.

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