Everyone wants results, and they want them NOW! This is especially true if you're wanting to create privacy with evergreen trees or shrubs. You know you want year round color but choosing the right evergreen tree or shrub is not an easy decision. The one thing you will probably want is something that is fast growing.
You see 'Growth Rate' every now and then on plant tags at garden centers and online for various trees & shrubs. They usually list Fast Growing, Moderate Growing or Slow Growing. But what exactly do they mean?
What Does Fast Growing Mean?
As usual in the world of horticulture, there is not a uniform description. According to our local County Co-operative Extension Office, in general, a label of slow growth is less than a foot a year. Medium or moderate growth is 13 to 24 inches a year. That makes fast growing a tree or shrub that grows 25 inches per year or more.
Here's our list of the top 12 fastest growing evergreen trees and shrubs that are available for homeowners online. Okay, there's actually 10 on the list but we threw in 2 bonus evergreens you might want to consider, including one of the few evergreen trees that grows well in shade.
Keep in mind that average growth rate per year is just that, an average. Growth rates will vary depending on soil condition, sun exposure and watering.
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|Name||Botanical Name||Average Annual Growth Rate||Features|
|Wax Myrtle||Myrica cerifera||3 - 5 feet||Popular as tall hedge. Tolerant of very poor and sandy soils.|
|Arborvitae Green Giant||Thuja standishii x plicata||3 - 4 feet||One of the best selling privacy & windbreak trees.|
|Leyland Cypress||Cupressocyparis leylandii||3 - 4 feet||Tall, slender shape. Less pyramidal than others.|
|Cryptomeria Radicans||Cryptomeria japonica var. sinensis||3 - 4 feet||Also known as Japanese Cedar. Soft, dense foliage.|
|Murray Cypress||Cupressus x leylandii ‘Murray’||3 - 4 feet||Considered faster & easier to grow than popular Leyand Cypress.|
|Italian Cypress||Cupressus sempervirens||2 - 3 feet||Grows to just 5 feet wide.Tall & slender, like the Leyland.|
|Nellie Stevens Holly||Ilex 'Nellie R. Stevens'||2 - 3 feet||Plant 5-6 feet apart to create a dense hedge.|
|Waxleaf Privet (Ligustrum)||Ligustrum japonicum 'Texanum'||2 - 3 feet||Great hedge. Fragrant white blooms in spring. Handles pruning to shape well.|
|Eastern White Pine||Pinus strobus||2 - 3 feet||Often grown as Crhistmas trees because they grow fast|
|Norway Spruce||Picea abies||2 - 3 feet||Dense foliage. Tolerates a wide variety of soil types.|
Two Bonus Fast Growers
Canadian Hemlock - Average growth rate is 3 to 4 feet a year. Canadian Hemlock are one of the few evergreen trees that grows in shade.
Dawn Redwood - Average growth rate is 2 to 3 feet a year. Despite being a conifer, the Dawn Redwood is not an evergreen. Dawn Redwood trees do well in wet soil, such as low lying areas.
Be sure to reference the USDA plant hardiness zone map to make sure you select evergreens that are right for your climate.