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Fastest Forest: 5 Quick-Growing Trees to Plant

  • 10/30/2015 4:47:00 AM
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If you’re the type that likes quick results, watching a tree grow might seem painfully slow. But that’s no reason not to plant trees this fall, especially with these quick-growing varieties. 

These five trees usually grow 3 feet or more each year once they’re established, and they’re also known for superbly soaking up rainwater and tolerating wet conditions.

Have an acreage? See below for details on seedling offers for these species.

Silver maple
This fast-growing tree survives rugged conditions, and grows 60 feet tall with a wide spread of 100 feet. A perfect tree for bottomlands, it also does well in dry soils.  Leaves are two-toned, with bright green above, and gray or silver beneath in summer.  Fall color is yellow with an occasional tinge of red. 

River birch 
Particularly well-suited to areas wet for a portion of the year, this fast-growing tree may also do well in areas dry in the summer and fall.  Handsome “exfoliating” bark peels into papery sheets and plates, exposing the inner bark which is salmon-brown.  Lustrous medium to dark green leaves change to yellow in fall.  Grows 40 to 70 feet tall with a spread of 40 feet to 60 feet.

American sycamore
This tree will mature to have a large, massive trunk and a wide-spreading open crown of massive branches. A striking and impressive tree, it grows to at least 75 foot tall and is one of Iowa’s tallest native deciduous broadleaf trees. 

One of the largest and fastest-growing trees in the eastern United States, reaching heights of 30 feet in just two years, the cottonwood grows best in deep, well-drained bottomland soils. It can reach diameters of 3 to 4 feet and displays lustrous light- to medium-green leaves in summer that turn yellow in the fall.

Hybrid willow
Good for streamside plantings or erosion control, this tree rapidly establishes cover and windbreak for wildlife. The host plant for the Viceroy butterfly, the hybrid willow is also one of Iowa's fastest growers.  

Fastest Forest seedlings can be purchased for fall plantings or spring plantings from the Iowa State Forest Nursery.

Cottonwood is a great tree to plant if you're looking for a tree that grows quickly | Iowa DNR
Need a fast growing tree? Try river birch | Iowa DNR
River birch
 Silver maples are great fast-growing trees | Iowa DNR 
Silver maple
   Sycamores are great choices if you need fast-growing trees | Iowa DNR Sycamore