How Long Does It Take for a Tree to Grow?

Published on: August 8, 2021
Row of tall evergreen thuja trees along front yard paver.

Trees provide so much to our environment. For the planet, they create much of the oxygen needed to sustain the life on Earth. For our property, they provide shade, erosion control, beauty and much more – many people even use trees to celebrate holidays like Christmas. While trees are all around us, you may not know how long they have been there. How long does it take for a tree to grow from a small seedling to six, ten or twenty-plus feet tall? Here is what you need to know about the growth time of trees and what you can expect.

Different types of trees grow at different rates. Some trees like evergreens tend to grow straight up with shorter branches, while deciduous trees like oak and willow grow up and out with large branches that expand the width. Growth is relative to the type of tree and the environment – if you are planting a tree and want to reap the benefits of shade or privacy soon, you want trees that grow faster. Knowing the different timelines for tree growth can help you determine which trees are best for planting on your property.

Fast-Growing Privacy Trees

One of the more popular types of trees for planting on private property are called privacy trees. These are varieties of trees that tend to have denser branches which provide a natural screen for privacy once they grow larger. Cedar, cypress, evergreens and many other trees are in this category of fast-growing privacy trees. These varieties tend to grow at 2-3 feet a year, which means a line of small 3’ cedar planted a few feet apart can provide a natural fence of 6-9’ trees in just a few years.

How Long Does It Take to Grow a Christmas Tree?

Douglas fir, blue spruce, balsam fir and many other trees make wonderful Christmas trees. If you wanted to grow your own, how long does it take to grow a Christmas tree? It depends on the type of tree, conditions and how tall you want the tree. For most common types of evergreen trees used for traditional Christmas decorating, it will take 5-12 years to grow to the height of five to seven feet that most people want. These trees are still immature at this age and will grow much taller if allowed to mature.

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How Long Do Deciduous Trees Take to Grow?

How long does it take a tree to grow that has leaves and expansive branches? The large oak, willows, big leaf magnolias, maples and other trees are beautiful, some growing up to 100 feet tall and 50 or more feet wide at maturity. Trees with leaves add beauty, shade and color to your property, but many take a long time to grow. An oak tree may take 30 years or more to reach maturity, growing only one or two feet a year. Weeping willows are one of the faster growing big trees with leaves, growing 2-3 feet a year.

What Makes Trees Grow Faster?

How long does it take for a tree to grow? A lot depends on the environment of the tree. Like any plant, a tree that receives the right combination of water, sunshine and nutrients from the soil will flourish, and those that do not will struggle to grow. Each tree needs different amounts of nutrients, water and sun for optimum growth. While a cedar tree will thrive in wet soil, other trees want less moisture and more sunshine. Trees grow best in their native habitat, which is why it can be difficult to grow a tree on your property.

Growth of Trees in Your Landscaping

How long does it take a tree to grow if you plant it in your yard? The type of tree and how you care for it will be the biggest factors. If you are growing a tree native to your region, you will likely have an easier time than if it is a foreign tree. Planting a Japanese maple in a climate completely different than its native habitat takes effort and planning. Knowing what a tree needs to flourish and providing those elements can improve growth and health.
A landscaped backyard with trees.
Before planting a tree for landscaping, you should know what it needs to thrive and understand its growth cycle. You want to provide the right soil nutrients, water levels and sun exposure, as well as protection during cold weather. It is also important to research the growth rate – you do not want to put a tree that will grow 2-3 feet a year under the eaves of your house or under power lines.

How long does it take for a tree to grow? It really depends on the type of tree and where the tree is planted. To learn more about what trees are best for fast growth or which will remain smaller, talk to your local landscaper or landscape supply store. They can point you in the right direction on how to ensure your planted trees thrive.

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