Fast-Growing Conifers

Fast-Growing Conifers

Which Conifers are Fast-Growing?

Usually not as dramatic in growth rates as the hardwoods, some conifers or evergreens can quickly gain some size. Here again, understanding the basic environmental factors, the growth can be increased.

Some of these conifers that can grow faster includes: Leyland Cypress, Coast Redwood, Canadian Hemlock, Mondell Pine, Scotch Pine, and Ponderosa Pine. Although not really very fast, the Arbor Vitae can grow pretty quickly. They vary in growth rates, but 2 to 4 feet or more can be achieved, and even faster on some species.

Empire National Nursery fast growing trees for home and garden landscaping Learn more about the Conifers

Take for instance the Coast Redwood. In its natural surroundings, the foggy cool climate of the California north coast, these trees growth rather slowly. Young trees in full shade may grow a few inches a year. In full sun, with good soils, with a bit more moisture, growth rates of 4 to 6 feet a year are more common. The differences have a lot to do with more moisture, more sunlight, and higher nutrient levels in the soil. The climate where they are planted is a key consideration as the Redwoods don't tolerate cold or dry too well.

Now contrast the cool moist requirements of the redwood, with the fast growth of the Leyland Cypress or Mondell Pine. Both of these trees are also not very tolerant of the cold climates, but they don't like the cool wettness either. These two conifers grow best under warm dry conditions, and growth rates can be as high as 4 to 6 feet a year! Given sufficient water, they will grow very well in the dry regions, whereas most other trees won't!

Fairly new and gaining in popularity for fast growing evergreens, is the Cryptomeria (Japanese False Cedar). Like the Leyland, the juvenile growth starts off a bit slow, then takes off, before topping out at twenty to thirty feet tall. This dense conical-shape evergreen is trimmable and is compact in spread, so its good for a variety of planting purposes.

Are there fast growing conifers that grow in the colder zones? Yes. Understand, there is a relationship between the Plant Zone and the length of the growing season. Also, the colder the zone, the less time a tree has to grow, and the conifers seem to grow even slower. The broadleaf trees like the willows and poplars seem to grow fast even in the colder zones, but the conifers are just slower than usual! There are four trees to consider - the Canadian Hemlock, the Scotch Pine, the Ponderosa Pine, and even the Arbor Vitae.

The Canadian Hemlock grows well in the colder zones, under shade or full sun conditions, but they do need a fair amount of water. The Scotch Pine, although not a very fast grower, also grows well in the colder, wet climates, like the hemlock. The Ponderosa also not a greatly fast grower, does grow fairly quick in the colder drier zones than the warm-zone conifers. The Arbor Vitae would not be considered a fast grower by our standards, but they are widely planted from the colder wet and dry zones, to the hot reaches of Zone 10!

Many people plant a row of faster growing hardwood trees to provide a quicker screen, along with a row of slower growing conifers. There are so many different situations across the country, but there are fast growing conifers that can be planted.

Throughout the south and western states where the climate is hot and dry, or in many of the northern plains where it is cold and dry, year-round screening is highly desirable, but the fast-growing tree options are few. Plant the Junipers! Can't plant anything else, the Junipers are typically hardy of the worst growing conditions, especially the heat and very limited moisture. Granted the growth rates of one to two feet a year is not fast-growing per se, but if its very difficult to get anything else established, the Junipers are the tree to plant.

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    Last Update: 01/24/2020
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