Fast growing trees
Fast growing trees, plant and shrubs sound like a wonderful way to install an 'instant garden', and they can be, but be wary.
How will this tree get ?
Fast growing can often mean BIG TREES, especially in the case of some species, so although it sounds great to plant a screening plant that will quickly get to 15ft (5m) the problem is that it most likely will not stop at that height.
We have seen many gardens where tree have been planted to create an 'instant screen or hedge' and the owners have found that they have created a bit or monster in terms of maintenance and pruning.
Why we use fast growing trees
In a fast paced world we tend to want everything to be instant and immediate, however gardening is not really like that. Plants should be carefully selected for the long term rather than the 'quick fix'.
Many garden renovations that are carried out before a sale are guilty of this, plant to screen that fence or wall and make it look great before we sell. However long term we may be looking at branches that create to much shade, that end up overhanging the guttering and roof causing prelims, or have root systems that over time are either invasive of pipes and drains or lift paths and paved areas.
Fast growing tree problems
Willows are fast, however near a stream they can be invasive, the branches that break off float downstream and take root. Most Poplars are fast growing, however they can be shallow rooted and can send up suckers.
Eucalyptus are fast, however they are a little messy, drop leaves and the occasional limb, year round and not much really likes to grow beneath them unless is really good soil.
A fast growing ground cover may also sound great, and it may well be, however you may also need to keep it contained to stop it taking over the garden completely.
As for 'vigorous climbing plants', these again sound like a godsend for covering a wall or pergola, and they can be. They can also be invasive and even destructive of structures as well as strangling other plants.
So as with food, fast is not always best.
Fast growing trees - 5 of the best
- Liriodendron tulipifera. This is the Tulip Tree and comes in two forms, one the species and secondly Liriodendron tulipifera fastaigata. These trees can grow at between 30cm and 60cm (1 and 2ft) a year, its not a rampant grower but reasonably quick. A little prone to limb drop so not to close to the house. It can reach 30m (90ft)¬?
- Cupressocyparis leylandii. The well known Leyland cypress is used as a fast growing hedge and can out on 1m (3ft) a year in good conditions. Although it is pruned to a hedge of around 3 - 4m (9 - 12ft) it can reach 5 times this if left unchecked.
- Paulownia tomentosa). Also known as the Empress Tree, Foxglove Tree and this is fast usually at around 1m (3ft) and it can reach 20m (60ft). Large foliage and deciduous it makes an excellent shade tree, however it can also be a little invasive as it can self seed.
- Zelkova serrata. Good green foliage that will turn to a lovely orate to red in autumn. It is fast growing and can get to 25m (75ft)
- Carpinus betulus. Yes the Hornbeam, it will reach around 20m (60ft) however is usually pruned back in all but the largest gardens
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