The fastest-growing trees can reach 50 feet tall and mature in 20 or 30 years. That means they can provide shade, privacy, or a windbreak to your yard more quickly than other shade trees that can take twice that long to reach maturity.

Ready to jump right in? Below, find the trees and shrubs that will secure your space the fastest.

Bald Cypress

Bald cypress (Taxodium distichum)

A good choice for wet or swampy sites, bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) has few insect or disease problems and is one of the few trees that tolerate standing water. The foliage turns russet red in late fall before dropping and exposing attractive reddish-brown bark. Growing at 18 to 24 inches per year, it can reach up to 100 feet tall and 40 feet wide. Bald cypress is native to North America and grows best with full sun in Zones 5-10.


Chinese Tallow Tree

Chinese tallow tree leaves

A good replacement for poplars in warmer regions, Chinese tallow tree (Sapium sebiferum) usually encounters fewer pests than poplars. These trees grow with a rounded shape and look beautiful when the leaves turn color in the fall. This fast-growing tree rises 12 to 18 inches per year and can eventually reach up to 40 feet tall.

Though Chinese tallow trees are good for shade, avoid placing them near decks, patios, or terrace gardens because they drop a lot of flowers and fruit throughout the year. Instead, boost privacy with this fast-growing tree by placing it in the back corner of your landscape. Chinese tallow trees grow best in Zones 8-10 with full sun and well-drained soil.


Cottonwoods and Lombardy Poplars

simons poplar cottonwood tree leaves

Known for growing along rivers and other moist areas of the eastern United States, cottonwoods (Populus deltoides) are also known for their brittle, weak wood. This fast-growing tree grows 3 to 4 feet per year, reaching up to 70 feet tall. Their relatives, Lombardy poplars (Populus nigra var. italica), named for the Italian region where they originated, are often used as 40- to 50-foot-tall screens. Cottonwood care can vary depending on the variety you plant, but generally, they’ll grow in Zones 3-9 with full sun or partial shade and well-drained soil.

Leyland Cypress

A row of Leyland Cypress Trees in black pots.

The common feature of most types of cypress trees for privacy is that they are all fast-growing evergreen trees. These are impressive features for privacy hedges because they take a short time to reach a desired height and stay lush all year.

The Leyland cypress reaches 50 feet in only 15 years, creating an excellent cover when growing next to other trees. It thrives best in zones 6-10; the best part is that it is easy to maintain.

It can grow further under proper care to reach 70 feet, creating a striking bluish-green cover.

Thuja Green Giant

A Thuja Green Giant showing its crown and foliage.

You cannot mention fast-growing trees without the Thuja Green coming to mind.

It is one of the top choices for landscaping thanks to its growth rate, giant size, low maintenance, and overall look. It grows into a unique pyramidal shape; you don’t have to prune it regularly.

This makes it perfect if you are often busy and have little gardening time. For the best results, consider growing some if you live in zones 5-9 and watch as it reaches more than five feet annually.

Eastern Red Cedar

Wide shot of Easter Red Cedar Tree showing its tall trunk and wide canopy.

The lovers of evergreen conifers will love the eastern red. It is a magnificent tree with fluffy leaves and unique red wood.

It also makes for a good privacy tree thanks to its aromatic nature. The scent will linger around your home, and it will heavily attract wildlife.

Dawn Redwood

dawn redwood tree in park

A good fast-growing tree to provide privacy in the corner of a large residential lot, dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) grows about 2 feet per year until reaching maturity at around 80 feet tall. It looks like an evergreen tree with soft, fine needles during the growing season. In autumn, the needles turn shades of red and brown before dropping, exposing the tree’s interesting branching pattern and bark in winter. It grows best in Hardiness Zones 4-8 in moist or wet soil in full sun.


European Black Alder

Black Alder Tree leaves and pods

Ideal for low, wet spots in the landscape where other trees usually don’t survive, European black alder (Alnus glutinosa) is native to most areas of Europe. This tree can have an extensive root system (it can stretch over 16 feet), so avoid planting near sidewalks and sewer lines. This fast-growing tree matures quickly when young but eventually slows to 12 to 15 inches per year, reaching 40 to 60 feet tall and 20 to 40 feet wide. Plant in damp soil with full sun or partial shade in Zones 4-8.



eucalyptus citriodora tall tree

Strong, vigorous growers, gum trees (Eucalyptus spp.) can anchor a western landscape, making them a good fast-growing tree for privacy and shade. Plant gum trees where their fallen leaf and stem debris won’t cause problems. Growing two to three feet per year, gum trees come in various species ranging from 25 to 70 feet tall, but they don’t usually grow well in the high heat and humidity of the southeast. Place in a spot with full sun in well-drained soil in Zones 9-10.

Japanese Pagoda Tree

japanese pagoda tree against blue sky

Flourishing in a limited range in the United States, the Japanese pagoda tree (Sophora japonica) doesn’t need much care and produces creamy flowers in summer. Native to China and Japan, this fast-growing tree grows 12 to 15 inches annually and can reach 75 feet tall and wide. Japanese pagoda trees can tolerate full sun or partial shade and need rich, well-drained soil in Zones 6-8 (and temperate areas of Zone 5).


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