Tall, bushy, luxurious trees are the centerpieces of every landscape. Driving past a local park or a well-maintained yard with the perfect tall tree could make anyone jealous. Everyone goes in search of the perfect trees to complement their yards, but the trees unfortunately never come fully grown.
Everyone wants to know what can make trees grow faster so their landscape can be the influence of the neighborhood. While an instant growth serum hasn’t been made yet, we can take a look at things you can do at home to help those trees grow at their maximum yearly capacity. As a bonus, we’ll also look at a couple of trees that are known for growing fast in general.
Weather and temperature variations can have a large impact on a tree’s ability to grow. Making sure the trees in your yard are going to grow successfully depends on what plant hardiness zone you live in. Not all tree species can survive in every zone and knowing your zone before purchasing trees will play a role in their growth and longevity.
A zone is designated around the average annual minimum winter temperature, and each zone has a range of 10 degrees Fahrenheit. There are even half-zones with a 5-degree temperature variation. As an example, Zone 1 ranges from -60 to -50 degrees F, while Zone 1a ranges from -60 to -55, and Zone 1b is -55 to -50 degrees F. Knowing your plant hardiness zone, and better yet half-zone, is the first step to ensuring the trees you choose will grow healthy and quickly.
While it may sound like common sense, trees need water to grow. Providing your trees with adequate amounts of water can make a significant difference in helping them reach full size at maturity. We recommend using a slow irrigation system to give your tree roots the right amount of deep watering without drowning them. The trick is to ensure the soil is damp but not soggy and has short periods of dryness in-between watering to allow enough oxygen to penetrate. Without enough water, trees become stunted, and this will have the opposite effect desired. If you’re unsure how much water your trees need, reach out and talk to professionals, like those at Mr. Tree.
You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again, fertilizer will help plants and trees grow. It will help them grow faster, taller, fuller, and healthier. Fertilizer helps incorporate essential nutrients into the soil to support growth and photosynthesis. Fertilizers contain varying amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium and are like a multivitamin for your trees.
Phosphorus, in particular, helps plants develop chlorophyll, allowing them to turn solar energy into chemical energy and promoting growth. Testing your soil composition will help you determine any deficiencies in these nutrients so you can obtain the ideal fertilizer for your yard. Fertilizer also helps retain water and promotes airflow for tree roots. If you want help, Mr. Tree’s trained arborists can assist you with testing your soil and determining what it needs.
A layer of mulch around your tree can provide many benefits that will support its growth. Mulch helps trees retain water for adequate moisture and provides increased nutrients to the soil. It will also help keep away grass and weeds, which cause competition for the needed nutrients in the soil.
An important thing to remember when using mulch is to restrict the layer to only one to two inches thick. This will ensure the root system isn’t smothered. There should also be 3 to 10 inches of space between the tree trunk and the beginning of the mulch, depending on tree size and age, so as not to cause decay or tree rot.
Protecting your trees as they grow is also important. You can help shield your new trees with tree shelters—hard, plastic, cylindrical tubes that fit around the trunks of young trees—to keep them from getting damaged by squirrels, deer, pets, lawnmowers, and other dangers.
These tree shelters are beneficial for the first five or so years of growth or until a tree’s trunk diameter is greater than the tree shelter. The tubes also provide an added greenhouse-like effect by trapping in warmth and moisture to promote faster growth. Additionally, an injured tree will grow slower, which means by protecting the tree from damage, it will be able to focus on growing rather than healing.
Along with taking steps to help your trees grow faster, you can also choose trees that grow quickly in general. While there are downsides to fast-growing trees—they don’t live as long and tend to be less sturdy—they’ll give you the look you want in your yard sooner. Fast-growing trees will average yearly growth of 25 inches or more a year. In comparison, slow growth is less than 12 inches a year and average growth is 13 to 24 inches a year.
Popular fast-growing trees include hybrid poplars, weeping willows, red maples, and pin oak trees. Hybrid poplars, in particular, can grow up to five to eight inches per year, and weeping willows grow three to eight inches each year. If you’re specifically looking for taller trees, here are a few more options. Don’t forget that all of these trees will still need the same care and attention as slow-growing trees. We recommend having a variety of slow- and fast-growth trees in your landscape for balance.
Large, full trees are a great addition to any home. They can increase the property value for your home while providing plenty of shade on hot summer days. While we’ve looked at different factors regarding what makes trees grow faster, there are other variables that can have an effect on the growth and health of a tree. We recommend reaching out to trained arborists for more information or a possible consultation on your yard. Developing a strong relationship with your tree service early on is a good idea, as your trees will continue to need care, including trimming and maintenance, if you want them to stay healthy for years to come.