Humans tend to be an impatient bunch, so it isn’t surprising that many people are interested in selecting fast-growing trees for their next installation project. However, there are also a variety of real-world reasons to seek trees that grow and mature quickly.
For example, trees can help to prevent erosion, provide energy-saving shade and screen properties from noise, wind and prying eyes. In these and other cases, fast-growing trees are significantly more valuable than those that take decades to reach respectable sizes.
Fortunately, there are a number of fast-growing tree species, which can be very useful for homeowners and property managers. And while you must be sure to select those trees appropriate for your area and local conditions, there are plenty of great choices for Southern California properties, including the five listed below:
1. White Mulberry
The white mulberry (Morus alba) is a medium-sized tree that grows quite quickly when provided with fertile soil and plenty of sunshine. The fruits of mulberries are very attractive to birds, who will often visit the trees en masse to fill their bellies. The fruit can stain sidewalks and driveways, so opt for a fruitless cultivar – such as ‘Stribling’ or ‘Kingan’ — when planting mulberries near hardscapes.
2. Australian Willow
Australian willows (Geijera parviflora) are relatively small, evergreen trees that reach heights of about 30 feet (though the occasional specimen may approach 50 feet in height). These attractive trees store water in their leaves, which makes them relatively fire-resistant and well-suited for high-risk locations. Drought-resistant and adaptable to a variety of soil conditions, these trees grow best in full sun, although they will tolerate light shade.
3. Bracelet Honey-Myrtle
Another tree hailing from Australia, the bracelet honey-myrtle (Melaleuca armillaris) is a fast-growing, but small evergreen tree. It produces subtle, yet pretty white flowers in the spring or summer and retains its dark green leaves all year long. Well-suited for screening projects, these trees are tolerant of many different soil types and often tolerate salt spray relatively well.
4. Reed Avocado
Reed avocado trees (Persea americana ‘Reed’) are some of the largest and fastest-growing varieties of avocados, and they make excellent choices for screening projects. Another evergreen species, the Reed avocado bears a very dense canopy, which makes it a great shade tree too. However, the Reed Avocado – like most other avocado trees – requires relatively moist soil to remain healthy, and those who grow these trees will often find supplemental irrigation necessary.
5. Red Maple
A beautiful tree that reaches 60 feet in height, the red maple (Acer rubrum) is native to the eastern portions of North America. Most celebrated for their fall foliage, red maples are actually quite attractive in all seasons. They prefer moist soils, but they are reasonably drought-tolerant once established. Because they have relatively weak wood, they are best planted in the open, away from areas in which people or pets congregate.
Honorable Mention: Cabbage Palms and Queen Palms
While palms aren’t often used for screening projects or to provide shade, residents and property managers looking for a fast-growing palm will find that either the cabbage palm (Cordyline australis) or the queen palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana) will fit the bill. While the former rarely exceeds 35 feet in height, while the latter may reach 50 feet or more in a relatively brief period of time. Both grow best in well-drained soil with full sun exposure.
If you’d like help selecting the best fast-growing trees for your property (or if you’d like help installing them), give your friends at Evergreen Arborist Consultants a call. One of our experienced arborists will visit your property, assess the local soil and climate and recommend the best trees for your space.