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Pine trees can be gorgeous additions to any landscape. However, waiting for a tree to grow can be frustrating, especially if you’re designing your landscape around the idea of mature trees. Here is a list of fast-growing pine trees that just might be what you’re looking for!
1. Eastern White Pine
The Eastern White Pine, or Pinus strobus, is one of the tallest trees in the North Americas, and it is the tallest tree in the eastern United States. It may or may not be vaguely conical shaped, but when growing in the wild, it generally isn’t. They will gain around 24 inches in height every year.
It can be grown in zones three through eight, and does exceptionally well in a wide variety of different kinds of soil, from moist bogs to dry and rocky mountainsides. It will do best in acidic, moist, well-drained rich soil, especially if you are growing the tree from seed, or are transplanting a young seedling. Click here to learn how to grow a pine tree from seed!
Many people appreciate pine trees for their symmetrical shape, but if that’s something you are looking for, the Eastern White Pine may not be the choice for you. The branches generally don’t start until about half-way up the tree, and without some kind of trimming or maintenance, they won’t grow symmetrically.
2. Austrian Pine
Pinus nigra, the Austrian Pine, is one of the pine trees that can tolerate salt and can do well near the ocean. It is also known as the Black Pine, and it grows at a moderately fast pace, making it great for anyone who is looking for a seedling that will gain height quickly.
While it is salt tolerant, it probably shouldn’t be your first choice if you live in an area prone to pine pests. The Austrian Pine is prone to a number of different tree-killing pests, which can end up being frustrating for even the veterans among arborists. This has actually caused the tree to be barred from shipping to certain states.
Pests aside, it’s a very hardy tree. Being able to handle the seaside, excessive heat, and urban areas with grace, it will do best in zones 4 through 7. It will do just fine in poor or clay-heavy soils, and left untrimmed or in the wild, can attain heights of around 180 feet.
3. Norfolk Island Pine
One of the few pine trees that can be grown indoors, the Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla) is not technically a pine at all. It’s actually a tropical plant, more comparable to certain kinds of flowers. Keep in mind that if this pine is grown indoors, or in cold areas, its growth will be stunted, and it won’t be as tall or grow as quickly as it would in its native habitat.
One thing that makes the Norfolk Pine stand out from the others is its ability to grow straight and symmetrical in the face of winds and other weather that would normally cause warping or other bending of the tree trunk and branches. If grown indoors, however, it may grow crooked if the available light causes it to reach consistently in one direction.
Outdoors, these trees can grow to heights over 100 feet tall, with a spread of around 60 feet. They do best in sandy, slightly acidic soil, so whether you’re growing the tree inside or outside, make sure you plant it in well-draining soil that will not retain moisture.
4. Loblolly Pine
The Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda) is a pine more commonly native to the southeastern United States. As a very quick growing pine, it’s one of the staples of the lumber industry in that area, taking up over half of the total number of pines in the southern United States. It is used to help combat soil erosion and can be used as a decorative or a shade tree.
Generally growing in a conical shape, the trunk is very straight with branches that grow almost perfectly horizontal from the trunk. It can grow up to 100 feet tall, and it will generally have a spread of around 30 feet.
This tree will do well when planted in moist, sandy soil. Unlike many other pine trees, it will handle extra moisture just fine; it frequently grows in wet areas.
5. Jack Pine
Jack Pines (Pinus banksiana) are very popular in the northeast United States, where they are a staple of the lumber industry. They grow very quickly during their first 15 years and are used to help combat erosion. Jack Pines generally grow irregularly and twisted.
Growing best in zones 3 through 8, they can be planted in dry, sandy, acidic soil, and are a more low-maintenance option when it comes to pine trees.
6. Lodgepole Pine
Lodgepole Pines (Pinus contorta) are typically known as one of the more aesthetically pleasing pines, with a tall, straight, slender trunk. It is also one of the most common varieties of wild pine. Typically growing to around 80 feet in height, it has a spread of around 20 feet.
This particular tree does well in zones 4 through 8 and can adjust to a large variety of soils, so long as they drain fairly well and it doesn’t sit in stagnant water.
7. Western Yellow Pine
The Western Yellow Pine (Pinus ponderosa) also known as the Ponderosa or Bull Pine, is one of the most commonly distributed pines in North America. In comparison to many other different pines, it also has a comparatively dense wood, making it less brittle and more reliable for things like windbreaks. The tree gets its name from the yellow-green color of its needles.
The Western Yellow Pine is also one of the tallest pines, capable of growing to heights over 200 feet. It grows into a roughly conical shape, with needles generally 5 to 11 inches long.
Like many pines, seedlings from this tree should be planted in moist, well-draining, rich soil in full sun. Once established, it can handle a number of different soil compositions, and it handles being transplanted relatively well.
8. Scotch Pine
The Scotch Pine (Pinus sylvestris), or Scots Pine, is a favorite on Christmas tree farms. It’s a very hardy tree, tolerant to many conditions, and can even be found inside the Arctic Circle. The vivid green needles don’t drop when they dry out, making them one of the much “cleaner” pine trees when it comes to cleanup.
As younger trees, they are fairly uniform and conical shaped. As they start to age, they begin to warp and twist as if wind-scarred or weather-beaten. It has a slightly flaky bark, and it is one of the smaller pine trees, generally topping out at around 50 feet tall and 30 feet wide.
If you’re planting one, they will do best in well-draining acidic soil, but are very tolerant of sandy, rocky, and other typically poor soils of various pH measurements. Growing best in zones 3 through 7, it is very adaptable to a number of different weather and temperature conditions as well.
Before you go, be sure to check out these other plant guides: