Fast Growing Trees: Top Choices for Rapid Growth in the UK

Updated/Fact-Chacked on June 14, 2023 by Gareth James

Trees take decades to reach their full growth and maximum height, which can be too long of a period for some people. But don’t get disappointed because you can still buy a tree that can reach its full growth in years.

If you are planning to plant trees on your property, make sure you do thorough research into the size and width they will grow to.   You don’t want to block out lots of light for your neighbours or plant anything too big to you house – root can cause structural damage to a property.

Why plant a Native Tree?

We would encourage you to plant only UK native trees to help your local ecosystem.  Native trees will provide a habitat for insects and birds to shelter and get food from.

Trees will give you a degree of privacy to your property, especially if you plant evergreens.

TreeHeightGrowth per year
Alder (Alnus glutinosa)20 metres60cm
Hazel (Corylus avellana)10 metres60cm
Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia)15 metres30cm
Common beech (Fagus sylvatica)40 metres60 cm
Silver birch (Betula pendula)20 metres40 cm
Willow (Salix babylonica)12 metres100 cm
Mountain ash/Rowan ((Sorbus aucuparia)15 metres30 cm
Hornbeam trees (Carpinus betulus)15 metres50 cm

In this article, you’ll find a list of the fastest-growing trees in the UK, which can offer a natural privacy curtain for your garden and provide shade.

Fastest-growing Native Trees in the UK

Lombardy Poplar

This is an elegant-looking tree with a maximum height of 60 feet. It grows from 8 to 10 feet per year and can reach up to 40 feet within three years. This tree’s height and shape make it highly suitable for people who need to buy a tree to block the wind. Besides, it withstands low temperatures down to -30 degrees.


If you are worried about the height of trees and don’t want to upset any neighbours, a hazel tree is ideal with a maximum height of 10 metres. They also produce edible hazelnuts, if you can harvest them before squirrels and many other animals. Hazel trees are usually planted as part of a hedgerow.

Hazelnuts loved my native wildlife

Weeping Willow

The weeping willow is an excellent addition to your garden with its unique and magical look. It can reach up to 15 or 30 feet during its first three years only, and its maximum height ranges between 30 to 40 feet. It’s usually found on rivers and banks, so it is a suitable tree to buy if you have a house by the river. Also, its reflection in the water is breathtaking, and it provides excellent shade.

There are many varieties of willow, so make sure you double-check the label before purchasing. Willow, osier (Salix viminalis) is the native willow that grows equally as fast at 100cm a year.

Common Beech Tree

Though the common birch tree is deciduous, the leaves stay on the tree all winter until pushed off in winter by the new leaves. This makes the tree great for planting in a formal hedgerow on large properties; not suitable for standard-sized gardens due to its 40-metre height. A newly planted tree will thrive in most conditions unless very waterlogged.

Silver Birch

The Silver Birch is a standard-sized tree growing to an average of 15-20 metres in height. The silver birch has triangular leaves, which change colour according to the season, providing mesmerizing seasonal colour changes. Birds and insects love the seeds the tree produces and can be an ideal habitat for native wildlife.

>> Read our guide to the best tall flowering plants for borders

River Birch

If you need a fast-growing shade tree, opt for this one as its shape, numerous leaves, and 88-foot length will make sure to block as much sunlight as possible. Note, though, that you must water it with up to 90 litres a week, and it’ll grow three feet each year.

Tulip Poplar

Tulip Poplar is one of the most elegant flowering trees one could grow. It reaches its maximum beauty in May and June, and its yellow leaves turn green as it matures. Besides, it reaches 70 feet long when it matures and grows 6 feet yearly.


The hornbeam is a great native tree to grow as its maximum height is only 15m with a width of 7m, perfect screening in a medium-sized garden.


Alder trees love to grow in damp conditions, but can still be grown in a moderately sized garden. The alder tree is adored by wildlife such as caterpillars and certain moths which feed off the trees catkins.alder tree catkins providing food for wildlife food

Rowan (Mountain Ash)

Rowan trees give seasonal interest with flowers in spring and berries in autumn, devoured by native birds. Rowan trees have a good spread of up to 7m wide, perfect for a screening tree. Rowans can be grown in moist solid and like partial shade, they won’t need much attention once established. You can get different rowan varieties that produce different coloured berries and foliage, check with your local supplier.

mountain ash in autumn

Fast growing Non-Native Trees

If you are not concerned about growing trees native to the UK and looking for fast-growing trees for privacy, you will have a lot more choice.

Here are some of the fastest non-native trees.

TreeHeightGrowth per year
Eucalyptus30 metres200 cm
Italian Cypress35 metres60cm
Red maple35 metres60cm
Leylandii30 metres100 cm

Fast Growing Trees FAQs

Which is the fastest growing tree in UK?

The fastest-growing native tree is the willow at 100cm per year

What are the fastest-growing trees for privacy UK?

Leylandii is very popular for a privacy hedge but must be kept no taller than 2M.

What is the fastest-growing tree for a small garden?

Consider a hazel tree, it has a maximum height of 10 metres and can grow 60cm per year, you also get a bunch of hazelnuts to each every year.

How fast does leylandii grow?

Leylandii grow around 100cm per year

How fast do conifers grow UK?

Most conifers grow around 80cm per year in the UK

How fast do Lombardy poplars grow?

Populus nigra grows on average 60cm per year in the UK

What’s the fastest growing evergreen tree?

Eucalyptus gunnii (cider gum) is one of the fast-growing evergreen trees you can plant, it can grow 200cm per year.

How do you speed up tree growth?

Before buying your tree, ensure you have perfect soil conditions for that species. You can also add mycorrhizal fungi before planting which helps the plant take up nutrients.