You know the saying—"The best time to plant a tree is yesterday"? If you're just getting around to it now and need to fill in your landscape fast, it can be tough to find a tree that won't take decades to mature.

Fortunately, there are some beautiful low-maintenance trees that grow several feet per year, providing environmental benefits as well as economic value to your property without the wait.

I've rounded up my favorite fast-growing trees for privacy, shade, color, blooms and more.


The Leyland cypress (Cupressus) is America’s most-planted privacy tree for a reason: It grows fast (up to 5 feet per year) and has an iconic columnar silhouette that makes it ideal as a dense, living wall when planted 8 feet apart.


For smaller yards where a row of Leyland cypresses might feel overwhelming, consider this arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis ‘American Pillar’) as a privacy screen.


While I could’ve picked a conifer as the best fast-growing evergreen, I decided to go with an Oakland holly tree (Ilex ‘Magland’) because it’s a cone-shaped evergreen tree that doesn’t have needles, which makes it more interesting in my book.


For bitterly cold climates down to zone 2 (around -40°F), Colorado blue spruce (Picea pungens) is my pick for an extremely cold-hardy evergreen that’s also sleek and beautiful.


If you want a big, romantic tree to sit under on a hot summer day with a picnic or a book in hand, it’s hard to go wrong with the secluded shade of a weeping willow (Salix babylonica). This dramatic tree is beloved for its falling canopy of low, sweeping branches and classic, graceful look.

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