Pine trees are grown for beautifying the landscape, creating privacy screens, and also, for collecting timber. This Gardenerdy article deals with how fast pine trees grow, and provides some helpful information on quick-growing pine varieties that are used for landscaping projects.
Did You Know?
The slow-growing bristlecone pine (Pinus aristata) are the oldest living trees, with one of them present in the Great Basin National Park, in Nevada, which is about 4,600 years old. They grow in USDA hardiness zones 4 through 8.
Trees are generally slow growers, and take a few decades to attain their maximum size. However, some cultivars develop at an exceptionally slow rate. For those of you who have recently shifted to a new place and plan to starting landscaping right from scratch, planting fast-growing trees is a practical solution.
One such tree that grows fast and makes an attractive specimen in the landscape is none other than the pine. They are the most common coniferous trees grown all over the world, having about 100 species. They look amazingly attractive during winters, and are mostly used as Christmas trees, especially the Scotch pine trees, during the festive season. Let us find out the growth rate of some species of pine trees.
How Much Do Pine Trees Grow in a Year?
Different types of pines are used for different purposes in landscaping. They have evergreen foliage―the green leaves are retained throughout the year. This feature makes them perfect for creating privacy screens, protecting properties, and windbreak (barriers against winds). They also look adorable with their needle-shaped foliage. But one thing that concerns landscapers is the rate at which they grow. Well, the answer differs from species to species and the growth conditions that are provided to them.
On an average, the yearly growth rate of pine trees is less than a foot to more than two feet. Thus, according to the growth rate per year, they are broadly grouped into three types, viz. slow-growing pines, medium-fast growing pines, and fast-growing pines. Examples of slow-growing pine trees are Virginia pine and longleaf pine. They grow to a maximum of one foot a year. The medium-fast growing pine trees grow about 1-2 feet per year, and examples are red pine and Austrian pines. Lastly, the fast-growing pines grow up to two feet and more annually.
Types of Fast-growing Pine Trees
Talk about pine trees that grow rapidly, and the Australian pine is commonly included in the list. Despite the name, this straight-growing, tall tree is not a true pine species. But, it belongs to the Casuarina genus, and is not related to evergreen conifers. The needle-shaped structure that resembles pine foliage is composed of jointed branchlets, while true leaves are reduced in the form of scales. If you want to plant rapid-growing pines, then check out the following varieties below:
Scientific Name: Pinus eldarica
Alternative Name: Mondell pine
USDA Hardiness Zones: 6-10
This fast-growing, drought-tolerant pine is grown for its evergreen foliage. It adapts well in full sun and alkaline soil having pH 7.9-8.5. At maturity, it attains a maximum height of 80 feet and spreads to approximately 30 feet. When planted in a row, this pine variety is excellent for marking garden borders. But, make sure that you leave a spacing of 15 feet or slightly more between two Afghan pine trees.
Scientific Name: Pinus halepensis
Alternative Name: Jerusalem pine
USDA Hardiness Zones: 9-10
The Aleppo pine grows to a maximum height of 40 feet with an almost equal spread. This pine cultivar is suited for planting in a wide range of soil conditions, and can tolerate slightly acidic to mildly alkaline soil. It requires less water after establishment, which is why it is preferred for planting in xeriscapes. The lower tree trunk is deeply fissured and is bright orange in color, while the upper portion is flaky in texture.
Scientific Name: Pinus strobus
Alternative Name: Eastern white pine and northern white pine
USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-8
A very hardy pine variety, white pine is grown as windbreak in the landscape. When planted with proper care, it grows with an annual growth rate of three feet, and attains 50-80 feet height and 20-40 feet width. You can plant it in garden sites that remain exposed to full sun. It can be grown in nearly all soil types. Besides this, the oval canopy shape is another desirable attribute of this species of pine. Therefore, it is highly prized for growing in formal gardens.
Scientific Name: Pinus taeda
Alternative Name: Southern yellow pine
USDA Hardiness Zones: 6-10
The loblolly pine is a huge tree, prized for its valuable timber. It grows up to 115 feet in height and is a type of southern pine that secretes a yellowish resin. Thus, the name southern yellow pine is given to this pine species. This cultivar requires clay soil with acidic pH (6.1-6.5) and full sunlight for optimal growth. In short, this fast-growing species should be planted with special care.
Scientific Name: Pinus elliottii
Alternative Name: Swamp pine, yellow slash pine
USDA Hardiness Zones: 7-11
Humid climate, full sun, and adequate soil moisture are necessary for growing this pine cultivar. The identifiable trait of this pine tree is the extraordinarily long leaves, which are borne in clusters of 2-3 foliage. The height of a matured slash pine averages 75-100 feet, and its spread ranges from 30-50 feet. This tree is commercially planted for deriving superior quality timber.
Scientific Name: Pinus sylvestris
Alternative Name: Scots pine
USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-7
Besides its attractive, orange-colored scaly bark, and bluish-green foliage, this evergreen tree grows at a fast rate. It spreads to about 30 feet, and requires sufficient space for optimal growth. The scotch pine is susceptible to pine wood nematode, which in severe infestation cases, kills the tree. Hence, prior to planting scotch pine, see to it that you can include this pine variety in your landscape.
While selecting fast-growing evergreen trees for your landscape, compare the growth factors of each variety with the prevailing climatic conditions in your zone. For easy maintenance, preferably choose native cultivars, or at least the ones that can tolerate soil and growth conditions in your area.