Fast Growing Trees Guide: By Location, Season, Type (Privacy vs Flowering)

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Gardening | January 10, 2024

Man planting a seedling while a woman holds up a calendar asking about fast growing trees and the fastest growing trees (state) species, including the fastest growing privacy trees, and the fastest growing flowering trees and their benefits.

Looking for fast growing trees to create more shade or privacy around your home? You’re not alone.

Over half of Americans who own homes have a fence on their properties.1

Homeowners typically install fences on their property for specific security concerns. However, if your fence exceeds a certain height or encroaches on the boundary lines of your neighbors, many neighborhoods and towns require permits.2

However, opting to plant fast-growing trees on your property is one avenue many people take to not only increase privacy, but also enhance the beauty and functionality of the outdoor spaces.

This complete guide outlines a number of fast growing trees and species you can chose, regardless of your specific growing zone or location.

Fast Growing Trees By Location

The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone interactive map is an online tool that tells you what types of plants or trees you can plant safely relative to where you live.3

Although you don’t need a permit to plant a tree on your private property.4 You should consult your local City Hall or building inspector’s office to double-check.

Trees should not grow on boundary lines or tall enough to grow branches that extend onto other properties, even if the tree originates on your property.

Before choosing a fast growing tree species to plant, decide the primary reasons for the decision. for example, are you looking to enhance property shade (which can also lower energy bills), or would you prefer flowering trees to accent garden areas?

Perhaps you’d like to build a privacy hedge? In any case, choosing the best trees for the purpose will ensure that you are able to reach your goals.

What Are the Best Fast Growing Privacy Trees?

Here are a few of the best fast-growing trees that you should consider planting if your primary concern is shading your property or adding an extra layer of privacy.

Eastern Red Cedar

The Eastern Red Cedar Tree is evergreen, which means that its leaves stay on all year round. It is also a coniferous tree. That means that the tree is either cone-shaped, or grows cones, and scaly-like, durable leaves.

The Thuja Green Giant

The Thuja Green Giant Tree is extremely resilient as well as fast-growing. This tree is resilient to extreme drought conditions, insect and pest infestation, and arbor diseases, and it adapts well to most of the environments that it is planted.

Thuja green giant tree growth chart showing full grown Thuja green giant tree on a line graph with Thuja green giant tree age on the x-axis and Thuja green giant tree height on the y-axis.

Additionally, the Thuja Green Giant is a very low-maintenance tree. As it grows it provides wide canopy coverage in a very uniform manner.

In other words, its growth is never unruly and you don’t have to shear or prune it regularly.

This tree grows about three to five annually. It could grow up to 20 feet within three years under optimal conditions.

Its maximum height is 40 feet.

Leyland Cypress

The Leyland Cypress Tree is one of the most popular fast-growing trees for privacy amongst residential homeowners. Many suburban homeowners use it in their horticulture landscapes to create privacy screens in their yards.

Leyland cypress tree growth chart showing full grown Leyland cypress tree on a line graph with Leyland cypress tree age on the x-axis and Leyland cypress tree height on the y-axis.

This tree is hardy and will prosper in most soil types. You could plant a few in a relatively close grouping so that they grow to provide hedge screening as they grow. And they are easy to prune.

The Leyland Cypress tree grows up to 20 feet within three years and up to a maximum height of 60 feet.

River Birch

The River Burch is one of those nearly perfect fast-growing trees that can tolerate drier soil conditions. You should plant it in wet and well-drained soil for optimal growth.

Do not plant this tree in lime-saturated soil.

River birch tree growth chart showing full grown River birch tree on a line graph with River birch tree age on the x-axis and River birch tree height on the y-axis.

It grows about 30 inches annually and up to a maximum height of 30 feet after a decade. The River Burch develops a natural and colorful reddish-brown bark and diamond-shaped leaves.

Eastern White Pine

This is a coniferous and evergreen tree that is native to North America. Its leaves and needles feature a silky texture and aesthetically beautiful branch systems.

Eastern white pine tree growth chart showing full grown Eastern white pine tree on a line graph with Eastern white pine tree age on the x-axis andEastern white pine tree height on the y-axis.

The Eastern White Pine grows optimally in a lot of sun coverage and in soil that is well-drained. It grows about 15 inches annually and up to a maximum height of 100 feet.

Silver Maple

The Silver Maple Tree is a very adaptable tree that can grow in suburban and urban environments alike and in even in poorly drained soil systems.

If you do choose this fast-growing tree to plant, make sure that you space them out 10 to 20 feet apart.

Silver maple tree growth chart showing full grown Silver maple tree on a line graph with Silver maple tree age on the x-axis and Silver maple tree height on the y-axis.

Silver Maple leaves grow quickly and develop hefty volume and mass rapidly. This tree will grow up to 60 feet.

Oakland Holly

This is an evergreen and conifer tree that doesn’t grow any needles. Its leaves highly resemble oak tree leaves.

The flowers on this tree are female and male, so you don’t need pollinating insects for flowers to bloom. Oakland Holly berries are highly toxic, so don’t eat them or reconsider using this plant if you have small children or pets.

Oakland Holly Tree growth chart showing full grown Oakland Holly Tree on a line graph with Oakland Holly Tree age on the x-axis and Oakland Holly Tree height on the y-axis.

The Oakland Holly grows up to two feet annually and up to 20 feet within a decade.

What Are the Best Fast Growing Flowering Trees? (Fast-Growing Trees)

If you are interested in landscape aesthetics just as much or more than fast-growing trees that provide privacy canopies, here is a list of some of the best fast-growing flowering trees:

Muskogee Crape Myrtle

The Muskogee Crape Myrtle grows up to five feet annually and up to 15 to 25 feet within three years. If you live in a cooler environment, it could grow anywhere between six and 10 feet with a bushy and shrub-like canopy.11

Muskogee Crape Myrtle Tree growth chart showing full grown Muskogee Crape Myrtle Tree on a line graph with Muskogee Crape Myrtle Tree age on the x-axis and Muskogee Crape Myrtle Tree height on the y-axis.

The leaves of this tree transform into beautiful hues of red and orange during the autumn months.

Weeping Willow

The Weeping Willow Tree is often associated with grief, and solitude and has long been the inspiration for poetry, songs, and other creative media. Its sliver-like leaves are long and slender and point vertically down toward the ground.

Whenever it rains, the raindrops roll down the leaves like human teardrops, hence the name.

The Weeping Willow tree grows at a rate of about six to eight feet annually. It can grow up to 50 feet tall after a decade.

Weeping Willow Tree growth chart showing full grown Weeping Willow Tree on a line graph with Weeping Willow Tree age on the x-axis and Weeping Willow Tree height on the y-axis.

Its branches have brown-colored shoots and very slender green-colored leaves that turn gold and blue in the autumn. As long as its soil is never fully dry, this is a very low-maintenance tree.

And it is incredibly disease resistant.

American Sycamore

This tree thrives in moist and well-drained soil conditions it grows at a rate of about two to four feet annually. It will grow up to 40 feet after a decade.

Pay attention to this tree’s height after a decade. It could grow as high as 120 feet over two or three decades.

American Sycamore Tree growth chart showing full grown American Sycamore Tree on a line graph with American Sycamore Tree age on the x-axis and American Sycamore Tree height on the y-axis.

The American Sycamore Tree has striking aesthetics that will make your landscape stand apart. The bark of the tree can sometimes be white, grey, and orange colored.

Its leaves look like maple tree leaves. And it blooms cherry-sized fruits that are brown in color.

Tulip Poplar

The Tulip Polar Tree grows anywhere between two to four feet annually. It will grow up to 40 feet to 50 feet within a decade to 15 years.

Tulip Poplar Tree growth chart showing full grown Tulip Poplar Tree on a line graph with Tulip Poplar Tree age on the x-axis and Tulip Poplar Tree height on the y-axis.

It is a resilient tree that will grow in most kinds of soil. While this tree can grow very tall very rapidly, be advised that it drops its lowermost branches as it grows taller.

It blooms orange-colored and tulip-shaped flowers in the summer. Its signature four-pointed leaves change colors to a buttery brown in the fall.

Needlepoint Holly

This tree has a rooting system that stays shallow in the soil. So, it is perfect to plant as a uniform hedge privacy screen for your yard and house as it grows into a tree.

Needlepoint Holly Tree growth chart showing full grown Needlepoint Holly Tree on a line graph with Needlepoint Holly Tree age on the x-axis and Needlepoint Holly Tree height on the y-axis.

This tree does require a lot of sun and some shading to thrive, however.

Its leaves turn a green, red, and creamy hue of white throughout the seasons. It flowers a red-colored fruit berry in the autumn that also attracts birds.

This tree grows about three feet annually and up to 15 feet at the maximum.

The Japanese False Cypress

This tree is native to Japan that is renowned for its yellow, silver, and blue leaves. Its leaves also feel feathery and soft to the touch.

Japanese False Cypress growth chart showing full grown Mango tree on a line graph with Mango tree age on the x-axis and Mango tree height on the y-axis.

The Japanese False Cypress is known for growing straight up in a pyramid-style shape. And it is a low-maintenance plant that does require much pruning if any at all.

This tree can grow up to 60 feet in height.

Pink Dogwood

This tree grows about three feet annually and anywhere between 10 to 25 within three to five years.

This tree requires soil that is relatively more acidic but it can grow in partial shade and indirect sun exposure.

Pink Dogwood Tree growth chart showing full grown Pink Dogwood Tree on a line graph with Pink Dogwood Tree age on the x-axis and Pink Dogwood Tree height on the y-axis.

Every spring, the leaves on this tree transform into a beautiful, deep-pink hue.

Fastest Growing Trees: What Are the Best Fast Growing Trees (State)

As previously stated within this guide, there are no one-size-fits-all metrics or rules when it comes to how fast a tree will grow in a given period of time.

How fast a tree grows in any given amount of time depends on the species of the tree, exposure to sunlight, soil conditions, access to water, and many other factors.

Trees in the park during spring.

(Image: Schwoaze16)

Just because you see the fastest growing tree on this list in your state does not mean that the tree will grow optimally in your specific state region of residence. Consult an arborist when in doubt.

And always remember to go over your boundary lines and property blueprints before planting trees that grow tall in height and potentially thick trunks and expansive root systems.

Even though this guide references the fastest-growing trees, even the fast-growing ones grow over a timeline of years. And that is a long time to wait to realize you planted the wrong tree or planted them in the wrong areas.

Now, here is a list of the fastest-growing trees relative to your state of residence.


StateFast Growing Trees
AlabamaHybrid Poplar, Tulip Poplar
ArizonaShamel Ash, Chinese Elm, Mexican Sycamore, and Weeping Willow
ArkansasOak, Leyland Cypress
CaliforniaRed Maple, Australian Willow, White Mulberry, and Bracelet Honey-Myrtle
ColoradoAustralian Pine, Cottonwood, Norway Spruce, Western Catalpa, and Silver Maple
ConnecticutOak, River Birch, Autumn Blaze Maple, and Tulip Tree
DelawareCrimson King Maple, Scarlet Red, October Glory, Weeping Willow, and Hybrid Poplar
FloridaAmerican Red Maple, Harvey Lemon, Weeping Willow, Silver Maple, and Niobe Golden weeping
GeorgiaAutumn Blaze Maple, Tulip, Red Haven Peach, and Leyland Cypruss
StateFast Growing Trees
IdahoOak, Thuja Green Giant, Elm, Niobe Weeping Willow, and Thundercloud plum
IllinoisThuja Green Giant, Oak, White Oak
IndianaAmerican Beech, Fruitless White Mulberry, Sweetbay Magnolia, Hackberry,
IowaRiver Burch, Cottonwood, Hybrid Willow, American Sycamore, and Silver Maple
KansasGinko Biloba, Red Oak, Maple, Cedar
KentuckyRed Maple, River Burch, Bald Cypress, Japanese Zelkova, and Lacebark Elm
LouisianaAmerican Beech, American Holly, Oak, Thuja Emerald Green
MaineOak, Hickory, Hybrid Poplar, Chinese Chestnut, American Sycamore
MarylandRed Maple, Alder, White Pine, Sumac, and Tulip Poplar

Bar graph that shows the fast growing trees ategorized by Privacy and Flowering Trees with each of its type's average annual growth rate.

StateFast Growing Trees
MassachusettsOak, Hybrid Poplar, Dogwood, Summer Red Maple
MichiganLeyland Cypress, Thuja Green Giant, Quaking Aspen, American Elm
MinnesotaBlack Walnut, Cherry, Butternut, October Glory
MississippiBlack Cherry, Tulip Tree, Southern Magnolia, Tree of Heaven
MissouriShoreleaf Pine, Jack Pine, Oak, Eastern White Pine
MontanaNorway Spruce, Weeping Willow, Quaking Aspen, Ginkgo Biloba
NebraskaRiver Birch, Northern Red Oak, Autumn Blaze Maple
NevadaTulip Poplar, Weeping Willow, Oak, White Dogwood
New HampshireAmerican Holly, Thuja Emerald Green, Quaking Aspen, Hybrid Poplar
New JerseyAmerican Elm, American Beech, Leyland Cypress
StateFast Growing Trees
New MexicoHybrid Poplar, Tulip Tree, Muskogee Crape, Cleveland Pear, and Pink Dogwood
New YorkPlum Tree, Callery/Bradford Pear, Windmill Palm, Norway Spruce
North CarolinaScarlet Oak, Red Maple, Weeping Willow, Quaking Aspen
North DakotaCottonwood, Lombard Poplar, Thuja Green Giant
OhioHybrid Poplar, Quakign Aspen, Lombardy
OklahomaNorway Spruce, Quaking Aspen, Burning Bush
OregonLeyland Cypress, Paper Birch, Tulip Trees, Hybrid Poplar
PennsylvaniaPin Oak, Tulip Poplars, Flowering Dogwoods,
Rhode IslandGreen Ash, Weeping Willow, Lombardy Poplar
South CarolinaAmerican Sycamore, River Birch, Red Oak, Tulip Poplar
StateFast Growing Trees
South DakotaWhite Spruce, Cottonwood, Oak
TennesseeWeeping Willow, Bald Cypress, Thuja Green Giant, Sugar Maple
TexasLive Oak, Sawtooth Oak, American Elm, Bald Cypress,
UtahSawtooth Oak, Northern Catalpa, Silver Maple, Hackberry
VermontJuniper Wichita Blue, Lombardy Poplar, Hybrid Poplar,
VirginiaLongleaf Pine, Leyland Cypress, Autumn Blaze Maple, Golden Forsythia
WashingtonHackberry, Red Japanese Maple, Weeping Willow, Ginkgo Biloba
West VirginiaHybrid Poplar, Black Oak, Thuja Emerald Green
WisconsinSilver Maple, Pin Oak, Red Maple, River Birch
WyomingHybrid Poplar, American Elm, Live Oak

How Fast Do Trees Grow? (What Are Fast-Growing Trees?)

You must remember that “fast growing,” is a relative term when it comes to plants and trees.

Image of trees with slight fog in the area

(Image: Jplenio14)

Trees don’t grow fast or slow according to generic statistics.

So, how fast do trees grow? The optimal growth rate of a tree depends on numerous factors, including access to light, water, climate, soil health, and maintenance, amongst others.

A fast-growing tree is usually a tree that grows at least 25 feet tall within a decade.5 Or at least 50 feet within 20 or 30 years.

The average tree, depending on the species, grows less than 20 feet within a decade.

The Benefits of Planting Fast-Growing Trees

Planting fast-growing trees on your residential land or properties can offer you many practical benefits.

One of the biggest benefits of installing fast-growing trees on your property is for shading and cooling purposes. The typical residential home has an average temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit.6

Depending on the climate in your home region, it can be a lot hotter. If you pick a good, strategic area to plant the appropriate fast-growing trees for where you live, then you can provide natural cooling and shading that could shave a few cents or bucks off your energy bills.

Some fast-growing trees are girthy and have wide-spreading limbs and branches that grow out into lush and leafy canopies. These leafy canopies and branch systems will provide your home or properties with natural privacy screening from neighbors and strangers walking by.

Fast-growing trees can strengthen the privacy benefits of fences too. Fast-growing trees could potentially offer your home or property some protection as a natural windbreak obstacle if you live in a high-wind area.

Lastly, many fast-growing trees are the flowering kind and are aesthetically beautiful whenever they bloom. Some fast-growing trees can add textural aesthetic beauty to your landscape as well as provide shading.

Plant the right trees in the right spots and keep up landscaping maintenance and your home might become aesthetically worthy to be on the cover of any home and garden beauty magazine.

Related Reading: How Long Do Oak Trees Live? Incredible Lifespan Explains How Long They Grow

Some Drawbacks of Fast-Growing Trees

In the same way that there are drawbacks to owning a home, there are some when it comes to planting fast-growing trees.

Image of trees canopy in a sunny day.

(Image: Lefteye8115)

For example, some fast growing trees are like giant stars that supernova early in their lifespans, they may start declining quickly after reaching maturity. And they may require a little more maintenance than slower aging trees.

Pay attention to the exact species of fast growing tree you consider planting on your land. Due to global warming and increased saturation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, some trees are growing faster but dying sooner after maturity.7

You should keep up with routine tree maintenance. Check for signs of tree disease or stress with the help of a licensed and professional arborist.8

Prune limbs, branches, and leaves long before they become an issue with neighbors.

Look over your property maps and boundaries to consider the legal and aesthetic consequences of planting fast-growing trees long before you do it. You must consider disruption to your driveway, walkway, utility lines, and boundary lines with neighbors before planting anything.

You may not think about it now, but if the tree trunk on your property cracks your neighbor’s septic tank or disrupts electrical lines, then you’ll have a lot of time to think about solving the problem after.

Don’t plant your tree under a power line or structure and then be shocked when the tree grows into it and obstructs it 10 or 15 years from now.

The biggest drawback of planting fast-growing trees is not knowing the difference between evergreen and deciduous trees.9,10 Evergreen trees maintain their leaves all-year round while deciduous trees drop all of their leaves after the growing season, during the winter season, or during some part of the year.

Unless you are planting fast-growing trees for aesthetic and flowering reasons only, planting a deciduous tree defeats the purpose of acting as a privacy shield if the leave fall for a season.

Related Reading: No Leaves on Tree?

When choosing fast growing trees for your property, remember to consider all the benefits (and potential drawbacks) each species will provide.

Frequently Asked Questions About Fast Growing Trees

Here are some frequently asked questions about fast growing trees, shrubs, and plants.

What Are the Types of Evergreen Trees?

There are hundreds of species or types of evergreen trees. Some of the more notable species include Eastern Hemlock, Blue Spruce, Jack Pine, and Western Red Cedar.

How Fast Does the Narrowleaf Cottonwood Tree Grow?

The Narrowleaf Cottonwood tree grows over six feet annually.

How Fast Does the Cypress Tree Grow?

The typical Cypress Tree grows over three feet annually.

How Fast Does the Eastern Cottonwood Tree Grow?

The Eastern Cottonwood Tree could grow up to 13 feet in height within the first year of growth and then five feet annually after that.

What Are the Best Trees for Backyard Aesthetics?

The best trees for backyard aesthetics or privacy include but are not limited to, Red Maple, Eastern Rosebud, Tulip Poplar, Dogwood Tree, and Weeping Willow.

What Is the Biggest Tree in the World?

The biggest tree in the world is the General Sherman tree. It can grow up to a height of over 275 feet.

How Deep Do Redbud Roots Grow?

Redbud roots can grow as deep as three feet or more.

What Are Some Fast Growing Plants?

Some fast growing plants include the Butterfly Bush, Clematis, Radishes, Morning Glory, Inchplant, and Duckweed.

What Are Some Fast Growing Shrubs?

Some of fast growing shrubs species in the world include Forsythia, Beautybush, North Privet, Crapemyrtle, and Blue Hydrangea.

What Are Some Species of Tall Skinny Trees?

There are many kinds of tall skinny trees that homeowners plant for enhanced landscape aesthetics. Some tall skinny tree species include Japanese Holly, Italian Cypress, European Silver Fir, Swedish Aspen, and Norway Spruce.

How Many Types of Trees Are There in the World?

No one knows how many types of trees exist in the world. Over 73,000 species of tree may currently exist, but science believes that there are over 9,000 tree species that haven’t been discovered yet.13


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