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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.