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What are Some Fast Growing Trees?

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  • Written By: Sarah R. LaVergne
  • Edited By: M. C. Hughes
  • Last Modified Date: 07 September 2016
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There are many types of fast growing trees. Some examples include the Royal Empress, the Willow Hybrid, the Lombardy Poplar, the Hybrid Poplar and the Eucalyptus. These types of trees grow to varying heights in short time spans and can be grown almost anywhere in the world. The types differ in appearance and usage.

The Royal Empress tree can grow to between 10 and 15 feet (3.05 to 4.6 meters) in the first year after being planted. These fast growing trees reach a height of 50 feet (15.24 meters) at maturity. The Royal Empress can be grown in almost any climate because it is able to withstand extreme temperatures, but it grows fastest in USDA Hardiness Zones 5 through 11. The Royal Empress is drought resistant and can live up to 100 years.

Since the Royal Empress tree grows fast, its height can be adjusted by pruning. The roots of the tree grow straight down, a characteristic that can be beneficial to underground drainage systems. Royal Empress trees are known as very ecologically friendly because they perform high carbon uptake, helping to clean the air. Three distinguishing characteristics of the Royal Empress are its lavender blossoms, large shade leaves and valuable unique wood.

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Another type of fast growing tree is the Willow Hybrid, which can grow 14 to 20 feet (4.3 to 6.1 meters) in the first year of life. At maturity the Willow Hybrid grows to a height of 75 feet (22.86 meters). This type of tree is disease resistant and can be grown in any climate. The Willow Hybrid is commonly used for privacy, protection and shading by planting the trees in a single line or group. Willow Hybridss are commonly found in Florida and Canada.

Oval in shape, the Willow Hybrid had branches that grow upward, making pruning simple. The leaves are dark green, long and spindly in shape. There is only one downfall to this type of fast growing tree. Willow Hybrids are able to spread to other surrounding areas and can kill nearby plants, making it an invasive plant to include in a garden or landscape. The Willow Hybrid has a lifespan of roughly 70 years.

A Lombardy Poplar is a type of fast growing tree that grows 10 feet (3.05 meters) in the first year after planting. The tallest this tree becomes is 60 feet (18.3 meters) at a mature age. These trees must be planted in well drained soil with direct sunlight, making this type of tree best grown in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 through 9. Planted in rows to make privacy screens, Lombardy Poplars are also used for wind protection. Their branches grow close to their trunks, growing in an upward direction.

Disease and pests are a large problem for Lombardy Poplars, shortening their lifespan to a mere 15 years. These pests and diseases make the trees unattractive due to disfiguration. Long after the disfiguration begins the trees will die.

The fourth type of fast growing trees is the Hybrid Poplar which grows 10 feet (3.05 meters) in the first year and reaches a mature height of 70 feet (21.34 meters). Bearing silvery-green leaves, the Hybrid poplar is commonly used for quick shade but can also be used for firewood after five to seven years. This type of tree is also used to line driveways and roads. When first planted, the tree requires supplemental water. Hybrid poplars grow best in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 to 8, making sandy loam and low wet areas the best fit for growth.

This fast growing tree has a lifespan of 50 years. The Hybrid poplar has shiny green leaves that turn yellow in the fall. Whenever there is a forest fire or strip mining, these trees are used to repopulate the forest.

The last type of fast growing tree is the Eucalyptus, which is known to be the tallest tree in the world. This tree can reach a height of 480 feet (146.3 meters) at maturity and can live for 1000 years. Depending on the type of Eucalyptus, the bark can be scaly, smooth, fibrous, stringy or ridged. The leaves are rubbery, hang vertically, and contain fragrant oil.

The Eucalyptus tree is found in Australia, North and South Africa, India, southern Europe and in California. A unique fact about Eucalyptus trees is that they are known to occasionally fall for no reason. This type of tree takes minerals and water from other plants.

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clintflint
Post 3

@MrsPramm - Every tree is going to have drawbacks in some conditions. But it's especially important to check out the problems when the tree is a quick grower, because if it starts spreading around the neighborhood you might end up with a serious control problem.

Willows, for example, tend to clog up waterways if they are put in the wrong place. Many trees shed prolifically in the fall and could be a pain to clean up. Others might be evergreen, which is nice in the summer, but fast growing pine trees in the winter could end up shading your house from the winter sun.

There are a lot of factors to consider and trees are definitely something you don't want to rush into. They will be around for a long time, so they need to be planned careful, even if you are hoping for quick results.

MrsPramm
Post 2

@bythewell - Actually I would be very cautious about planting eucalyptus anywhere. For some people they can be a miracle tree, because they will grow in places that other trees will not.

But they turn the soil very alkaline and essentially make it so that nothing else will grow there. They've had trouble in some countries where they were hailed as a fast growing shade trees and firewood crops and planted around fields, only to find that the fields lost productivity.

If you have a place that doesn't grow anything else they can be perfect but just make sure that you understand what they will do to the soil.

bythewell
Post 1

I had no idea that eucalyptus could grow that tall. I had always heard that redwoods were the tallest trees in the world. I looked it up, though and apparently there was a historic eucalyptus that apparently grew taller than any known tall trees today. But it wasn't measured by current standards, so it remains debated. And the official tallest tree living right now is a redwood.

I guess it would be pretty difficult to really measure a tree properly, if it was still standing in a forest and particularly if it was back in the days before computers and other technical gadgets that might help.

Since redwoods grow relatively slowly, though, I imagine a eucalyptus is by far the best choice if you want a tall, fast growing tree.

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