Fast growing trees in the UK

Written by simon fuller
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Fast growing trees in the UK
Trees like the willow grow quickly and can regenerate when cut down. (willow-tree about river image by Maria Brzostowska from

Though many of the tree species native to or introduced to Britain have a capacity to grow tall, there are certain species which leave fellow trees in the dust when it comes to rapid growth. These trees are often used in industry, for timber for example, thanks to their ability to quickly regenerate themselves. The are also popular in landscaping as they can quickly provide effective cover.

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Poplar Tree

These stout trees have a reputation as being the fastest growing hardwoods in the UK, and are known for growing quickly to huge heights, which can make them a bit of a pain for gardeners who were unaware of this fact. They typically grow between six and eight feet a year and will regenerate if cut. Their height does mean they provide plenty of cover though, and also makes them excel as windbreaks. Many of the UK's construction industries use poplar wood for floorboards or furniture, thanks to its inherent toughness.

Willow Tree

Another species of tree that can become somewhat overbearing in the garden if allowed to grow to its full height---between 28 and 30 feet, generally---willow trees nonetheless have many uses. They can be used as part of garden hedges, as windbreaks and to provide cover for gardens thanks to their reach and rapid growth. They tend to reach up to 24 feet after three or four seasons of growing and like poplars, will regenerate when cut. Willow trees are also used in landscaping.

Birch Tree

With species native to the UK including the silver birch and downy birch varieties, birch trees are rapid growers which can potentially grow up to 50 feet in height. The silver birch tree is recognisable by its triangular leaves which point downwards, as well as the silvery patches which distinguish old birch trees from younger trees, which are likely to have a reddish hue to their bark. Downy birches, meanwhile, have leaves with toothed edges and hairy leaf stalks, and can grow taller than silver birches, up to around 70 or 80 feet in height.

Rowan Tree

Common to many parts of Scotland and in the north and west of England, the rowan tree is part of the rose family and is often spotted in places of high elevation. It tends to grow quickly, with a short lifespan. As such, it is useful for landscaping since it grows quickly but is not overwhelming at its full height. It is quite a small tree, reaching at most around 60 feet in height; it also tends towards being quite a slim tree with a thin trunk, with bark that is somewhere between grey and brown.

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