10 Fastest Growing Trees in the World

Trees are essential to the natural world, providing important ecological, social, and economic benefits. For example, these trees are essential for providing shade, privacy, and visual interest to landscapes. In addition, some trees are fast-growing and beneficial, which allows them to be used for erosion control, windbreaks, and other purposes.

Some trees typically have a high level of vigor and can withstand harsh environmental conditions. They may also have unique characteristics, such as colorful foliage or attractive flowers. Whether used for ornamental or practical purposes, the fastest-growing tree in the world can be an asset to any garden or property.

10. Red Maple

Growth Speed: 12-24in (30-60cm) per year
Scientific Name: Acer Rubrum
Height: 20-25ft (6-7.5m) after a decade
 Wide: 15-20ft (4.5-6m) after a decade

Red Maplephoto source: homestratosphere.com

The red maple is named after its bright red fall foliage, flowers, fruit, and twigs. Autumn tourists to the eastern deciduous forest laud the red maple for its eye-catching scarlet leaves. Few people realize that red maple leaves can also turn yellow or orange in the fall.

Red maples are fast-growing trees that can reach 60 to 90 feet (18 to 27 meters). The largest can reach more than 120 feet (36.5 meters).

Red maple trees are native to the eastern deciduous forest. They can be found from Maine to Minnesota, south to Texas, and east to Florida. Red maples are a wetland species in the southernmost parts of their range, earning them the nickname “swamp maple.” If you’re lucky, you might see wood ducks nesting inside the cavities of swamp maples.

Did You Know:

The sap from red maple trees is used to make maple syrup. The sugar maple, named for the high sugar content of its sap, is the largest syrup producer.

9. River Birch

Growth Speed: 12-30in (30-75cm) per year
Scientific Name: Betula Nigra
Height: 20-30ft (6-9m) after a decade
 Wide: 15-20ft (14.5-6m) after a decade

River Birchphoto source: thespruce.com

The river birch (Betula nigra) is a deciduous tree native to the eastern and southeastern United States. It is a popular landscape tree due to its attractive, peeling bark and ability to thrive in wet soils. In addition, the tree is named for its preference for growing near water sources, such as rivers and streams. It is a medium to large tree that can reach heights of up to 70 feet and has a broad, rounded crown.

The leaves are triangular and have a lustrous green color. River birches produce small, catkin-like flowers in the spring, followed by small, triangular seeds. The tree is adapted to various soil types, including clay, loam, and sand, and can tolerate wet conditions and occasional flooding.

Did You Know:

The river birch tree is resistant to damage from salt and is often used as a street tree in areas with high salt levels in the soil.

8. Hybrid or Carolina Poplar

Growth Speed: 20-40in (50cm-1m) per year
Scientific Name: Populus x canadensis
Height: 40-55ft (12-16m) after a decade
 Wide: 16-23ft (5-7m) after a decade

Hybrid or Carolina Poplarphoto source: treejourney.com

The Carolina poplar, a large, quickly-growing Populus tree, stands out against dark conifers in all seasons. In the fall, its leaves can change from brilliant yellow to gold, orange, or slightly red, adding vibrant colors to your garden.

Some species are renowned for their springtime sweet and potent fragrance. It is not difficult to maintain Carolina poplar because it can grow easily in various soils and temperatures.

Did You Know:

The Carolina Poplar is a hybrid species created by crossing the Eastern Cottonwood (Populus deltoides) with the European Aspen (Populus tremula).

7. Swamp Cypress

Growth Speed: 2-3ft (60-90cm) per year
Scientific Name: Taxodium Distichum
Height: 16-23ft (5-7m) after a decade
 Wide: 6-10ft (2-3m) after a decade

Swamp Cypressphoto source: peak.com

A long-lived, deciduous wetland species called the swamp cypress, which can live up to 600 years old, grows along rivers and streams and in swamps with slow-moving water. Its natural habitat is in coastal plains along the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Oceans in North America and further north through the Mississippi River Valley.

A sizable tree can grow between 30 to 45 meters (100 to 150 feet). The trunk is typically buttressed and fluted at the base in extremely wet areas.

It has a pyramidal-shaped crown when young, which gradually flattens out as it ages. It has shallow roots that frequently emerge from the soil as pneumatophores, or “knees,” when growing in water.

Did You Know:

The Swamp Cypress is a host plant for several insects, including the cypress looper moth (Iridopsis pergracilis), which feeds on the tree’s leaves.

6. American Sycamore

Growth Speed: 2-4ft (60cm-1.2m) per year
Scientific Name: Platanus Occidentalis
Height: 30-40ft (9-12m) after a decade
 Wide: 25-30ft (7.5-9.0m) after a decade

American Sycamorephoto source: istockphoto.com

The American sycamore is the largest tree native to eastern North America, with scaly gray-brown bark that exfoliates to reveal a smooth ghostly white inner layer. It is a deciduous tree with horizontal branching and a rounded habit that can grow to 75-100 feet tall.

This tree grows a massive trunk and a broad canopy that provides dense shade. Sycamores are adapted to wet sites and are tolerant of poor soil conditions, but they can be unsightly in the landscape.

Did You Know:

The American Sycamore is a host plant for several insects, including the Sycamore Tussock Moth (Halysidota harrisii) and the Sycamore Lappet Moth (Phyllodesma americana).

5. Tulip Poplar

Growth Speed: 2-4ft (60cm-1.2m) per year
Scientific Name: Liriodendron Tulipifera
Height: 30-40ft (9-12m) after a decade
 Wide: 15-20ft (4.5-6m) after a decade

Tulip Poplarphoto source: flickr.com

Tulip poplar is one of the tallest native American hardwoods. The tulip poplar is the state tree of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana. The tree has winter characteristics such as duck’s bill-shaped buds and furrowed bark. It also has stunning flowers in May and June. The leaves begin folded and yellow, then turn green with age. In the autumn, they turn a bright yellow.

The size of the tulip poplars discovered in the New World impressed early North American explorers, who used the long, straight logs to build cabins. Tulip poplar was sent to Europe for cultivation, and it is now one of the most popular American trees grown in France and England.

Did You Know:

After Civil War, railroads connecting southern Appalachia were built, resulting in massive logging of tulip poplar. Furniture, flooring, general construction, plywood, and paper pulp are all made from its wood.

4. Leyland Cypress

Growth Speed: 3-4ft (90cm-1.2m) per year
Scientific Name: Cuprocyparis Leylandii
Height: 25-35ft  (3m) after a decade
 Wide: 12-18ft (1m) after a decade

Leyland Cypressphoto source: hgic.clemson.edu

The Leyland cypress is a large evergreen tree widely planted as an ornamental species in parks and gardens. It grows quickly and has dense foliage, making it a popular hedging species. It can, however, quickly grow to outrageous heights, blocking out light in gardens.

The Leyland cypress is a cultivated hybrid, a sterile cross between North America’s Monterey and Nootka cypresses.

Did You Know:

In 1925, a commercial nurseryman specializing in conifers sought a fast-growing breed that could be used in barren, windy, and salty areas like Cornwall. They eventually discovered Leyland’s original trees and began propagating the species.

3. Cider Gum

Growth Speed: 3-5ft (90cm-1.5m) per year
Scientific Name: Eucalyptus Gunnii
Height: 50-65ft (15-20m) after a decade
 Wide: 30-40ft (9-12m) after a decade

Cider Gumphoto source: naturalvaluesatlas.tas.gov.au

Cider Gum Tree is a large, evergreen tree in the Myrtaceae family that is popular for its young leaves. The rounded, glaucus blue-green to silvery leaves of the Cider Gum tree make stunning additions to floral arrangements.

As the leaves mature, they become more oval to lance-shaped and a darker grey-green. The adult tree also has a distinctive peeling bark that is brown and creamy. White flowers are arranged in clusters. Eucalyptus gunnii thrives in slightly acidic soil and full sun; it provides shade for young plants.

Did You Know:

Cider Gum trees produce a sweet sap that can be tapped in the same way that maple syrup is.

2. Green Giant Arborvitae

Growth Speed: 3-5ft (90cm-1.5m) per year
Scientific Name: Thuja standishii x plicata
Height: 18-20ft (5.5-6m) after a decade
 Wide: 7-8ft (2-2.4m) after a decade

Green Giant Arborvitaephoto source: clarkbrothersnursery.com

The green giant arborvitae is a large, vigorous, fast-growing evergreen that can grow up to 3 feet annually until it reaches maturity. Its natural pyramidal to conical shape is characterized by dense, rich green foliage that darkens or bronzes slightly in the winter.

This is an outstanding landscape tree that can be used as a screen, hedge, or as a single specimen. It is also wind resistant and can withstand heavy ice or snow, making it an excellent choice for a natural windbreak.

Did You Know:

In 1967, D.T. Poulsen of Kvistgaard, Denmark, presented the U.S. with a single plant, “Thuja standishii x plicata” at the National Arboretum. The clone known as ”Green Giant” was propagated from this plant. Green giant arborvitae quickly became popular as a replacement for hemlock in the Northeast and Leland cypress in the Southeast.

1. Weeping Willow

Growth Speed: 6-8ft (1.8-2.4m) per year
Scientific Name: Salix Babylonica
Height: 35-50ft (10-15m) after a decade
 Wide: 30-45ft (9-4m) after a decade

Weeping Willowphoto source: squarespace.com

The Weeping Willow is the fastest-growing tree in the world that can grow 6 to 8 feet per year. This tree is native to extratropical Asia and is a member of the Crack Willows family. The bark of this oriental tree contains the majority of the willow group’s medicinal and tanning properties.

The dramatic, elegant appearance of weeping willow trees is well known. Their graceful branches “weep” into an arch, forming a round canopy that gently grazes the ground. Their narrow leaves are light green on top with silvery undersides until autumn, when they turn yellow. The bark is ridged, rough, and gray. Yellow flowers appear in late winter or early spring.

Did You Know:

The Weeping Willow is known for its tearful symbolism in China and Turkey. It is sometimes used as a cemetery ornament to represent an association of grief for the loved one buried.

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