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Planning a Garden: Fast or Slow Growing

Planning a Garden: Fast or Slow Growing

Growth rate and lifespan, though not really aesthetic features of woody plants, are nonetheless important aspects to consider when planning a garden.

A fast-growing tree or shrub that grows 24" or more a year will mature quickly and can be used to fill in space in a new garden. A slow-growing species that grows less than 12" a year may be more suitable in a space-limited garden. A short-lived plant appeals to some people because they enjoy changing their garden design frequently or aren't sure exactly what they want in their garden. Short-lived plants, sucha as sumac, usually mature quickly and therefore reach flowering age quickly as well. A long-lived tree, such as a sugar maple, other the other hand, is an investment in time. 


Excerpt from "Tree & Shrub Gardening for Ohio" by Fred Hower and Alison Beck. Available for purchase here.

Fast-Growing Trees & Shrubs

  • Birch
  • Black jetbead
  • Butterflybush
  • Cherry
  • Dawn redwood
  • Elder
  • Forsythia
  • Golden rain tree
  • Hydrangea (except H.quercifolia)
  • Lilac
  • Red-twig dogwood
  • Staghorn Sumac
  • Thornless honelocus
  • Willow
  • Wisteria

Slow-Growing Trees & Shrubs

  • Beech
  • Black tupelo
  • Boxwood
  • Burning bush
  • Enkianthus
  • Fothergilla
  • Fringe tree
  • Gingko
  • Holly
  • Maple (not all species)
  • Mountain laurel
  • Oak (not all species)
  • Pieris
  • Rhododendron
  • Yew
When To Plant
Terms to Know When Purchasing Trees and Shrubs