If you’re looking for ideas for fast growing evergreen trees and shrubs, this post is for you! When you’re adding plants, it can get expensive. You want to make sure you are getting the most value for your money as well as quick results. And bonus points if they stay green all year! Check out these fast-growing evergreen trees and shrubs you can add to your landscape.
When it comes to landscaping, we can be a bit impatient. That’s why these fast-growing varieties are perfect. There are choices like Leyland Cyprus, Green Giant Arborvitae, and Magnolias just to name a few. Evergreen means they keep their foliage year-round and fast-growing typically means several feet per year.
Not all trees and shrubs grow at the same rate. Some take years! Some trees and shrubs are planted for their slow-growing small stature. Not everyone wants or needs large trees. But if you do, make sure you choose a fast-growing tree or shrub.
Case in point – A Gingko tree. One of the most gorgeous trees around. In the fall, the leaves are the most stunning yellow color and it has a beautiful shape. But. It grows at a snail’s pace. Like a sloth. I’ve been in love with these trees for years and finally got one for Mother’s Day one year. Maybe in another 30 years, I’ll be able to enjoy it!
But back to the point. Fast growing is what we’re after today! Not sloths!
What is the definition of a fast growing tree?
Fast growing trees will grow several feet per year. If you put this in comparison with a slow growing species like the ginkgo tree, it’s a tremendous difference.
What is the fastest growing evergreen tree?
There are varying opinions and of course it also depends on your planting zone and conditions, but the Murray Cypress tree tends to top the list of the fastest growing evergreen tree. It can shoot up 4 feet in one year. In three years, you could potentially have a 12 foot hedge of privacy with these trees!
Fast Growing Evergreen Trees and Shrubs
Probably one of the more well-known trees, the Leyland Cyprus grows quickly and stays green year-round. Once established, they can grow 3 to 5 feet per year! Plant at least 8-10 feet apart and you’ll have a nice evergreen hedge in a few years. They can mature up to 50 feet tall and do not have invasive root systems.
The only downside to these giants is when you lose one. We’ve all seen the gorgeous rows of beautiful Leylands with a dead one in the middle. However – the good news is since they grow fast, you can replace them.
Since I live in the South, I’m partial to Magnolia trees. We moved into our house about 5 years ago and there was a tiny Little Gem Magnolia tree on the side of our house. In no time, it’s grown enough to give us complete privacy on the corner.
It’s around 15 feet tall at this point and it’s green all year with the most gorgeous dark waxy leaves and big white blooms. These can get 20 feet tall in around 7 or 8 years!
Check out this handy guide for planting Magnolias!
Green Giant Arborvitae
This species is one of my all-time favorites. Green Giant Arborvitae can grow 3-5 feet per year and will make a privacy screen in no time that stays green all year. Plant them at least 8-10 feet apart to give them room to spread out.
We found a few small ones at a local nursery for around $10 a piece and they are almost blocking the neighbor’s house in a few short years. This is one of the trees that you don’t have to spend a fortune on in the beginning!
Green Giant trees are an ideal budget-friendly option that will produce privacy quickly. This is also important if you’re doing the planting yourself. You can buy small trees that are super easy to plant without equipment other than a shovel.
Holly trees can be used as bushes, hedges, trees, and privacy screens. Nellie Stevens Holly is one of the more popular varieties. You can plant these on the corner of your home and near a driveway due to a non-invasive root system. They can get up to 15-25 feet tall and 10-15 feet wide.
Beware of the prickly leaves though – they are no joke! These trees are perfect for landscaping though because they have a beautiful shape and pretty waxy green foliage.
These are one of my favorite evergreen shrubs because of the color. They’re a gorgeous purple shade and at various times of the year, they have beautiful pink flowers. They grow quickly and they get full!
Give them plenty of room – as in at least 4-6 feet apart when planting. Make sure to choose a species that grows tall if you’re looking for a hedge or privacy – these include Burgundy, Purple Majesty, and Hines Purpleleaf. Expect about 10-15 feet tall at mature growth.
You will need to prune the Loropetalum as it can get wild-looking. I like the wild look, but my husband doesn’t. He prunes them into a more tame round shape several times a year.
Tea Olive (sometimes fast-growing)
These are sweet-smelling gorgeous shrubs with a beautiful green leaf. The Osmanthus Fragrans or Fragrant Tea Olive produces little, white fragrant flowers in the fall. We planted a row of these in between our house and the neighbor a few years ago and they are already nearly a privacy hedge!
However, I included these as “sometimes fast-growing” because it depends on where you plant them. We planted a row in the front yard that is in the vicinity of our septic lines (but not too close) and they are growing like crazy – they’ve tripled in size in just a few short years.
The ones we planted in the back that are farther away from septic lines are growing at a normal pace.
So – I didn’t want to leave the Tea Olives out because they’re too gorgeous not to include, but just know they might not grow as quickly as some of the others.
Weird name, but a gorgeous evergreen shrub. If you want some variety in color instead of the typical green, these are it! Golden Euonymus has striking yellow/green foliage that stays beautiful year-round.
And they grow fast – they can get 10 feet high and 6 feet wide. These make an excellent hedge choice as you can shape them how you like and they are fairly easy to care for.
So there you have it – 7 fast-growing evergreen trees and shrubs you can choose this year and get beautiful plants in no time! Keep in mind to always pay attention to your planting zone. Before you invest in landscaping which can add up quickly – make sure you are planting appropriately for your climate.
I live in the South (Zone 8A according to the latest maps I could find) so these 7 plants are excellent choices for this planting zone. You can check yours here!
Pruning Tools for Trees and Shrubs
Most trees and shrubs are going to need to be pruned at some point. Usually, a few times a year in the fall and spring is ideal, but it depends on the variety.
If you’re doing your landscaping yourself, you might want to invest in a few tools to make the job easier. There are manual pruners, loppers, electric pole saws, and so on.
Here are a few of our faves:
- Handheld pruning shears – perfect for smaller jobs but effective. These are easy to store and easy to use for smaller pruning jobs. You wouldn’t want to prune an entire shrub or yard with these, but they are nice for quick jobs.
- Loppers – these are ideal for trimming branches that are a bit too thick for your small handheld pruners. Or for example, the suckers that grow from the mother plant of a crepe myrtle tree.
- Pole Saws – when the shrubs get bigger than you can handle with your own arms reach, it’s time to invest in a pole saw. These will change the game for pruning. It’s quick and super effective.