Trees with rapid or vigorous growth rates help to fill in the garden in a short period of time and create a dramatic landscape display. Grown in a wide range of shapes, sizes and types, including deciduous and evergreen, they help to create accent trees among the landscape or create a living fence or windbreak to the garden. Evergreens retain their foliage year-round for a constant source of vibrancy.
Western Red Cedar
Western red cedar (Thuja plicata), also called giant arborvitae, is a rapidly growing evergreen tree. It grows 50 to 80 feet tall and 15 to 20 feet wide, creating a commanding landscape presence. Western red cedars have a pyramidal shape; the deep green foliage on has white markings on the underside of each leaf. Long-lived, young western red cedar trees have a cinnamon to red bark. They grow best in full sun to part shade and moist, well-drained soil. They also tolerate clay soils. Plant western red cedar trees in USDA zones 5 to 8.
Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) is a deciduous tree with a vigorous growth rate. It reaches a maximum height of 100 feet and has a spread of 20 to 40 feet wide. Tulip poplar has an upright, rounded shape and tall, straight trunk. The fragrant, 2-to-3-inch, cup-shaped, yellow, green and orange flowers emerge in late spring and attract hummingbirds and birds to the tree. Tulip poplar trees also play host to tiger and spicebush swallowtail butterflies. The paper-thin, 6-to-8-inch-long green leaves of tulip poplar take on a yellow tinge in fall. They grow best in full sun in well-drained, moist soils. Plant tulip poplars in USDA zones 4 to 9.
Yoshino cherry (Prunus x yedoensis) is a rapidly growing flowering deciduous tree with a rounded habit and arching spread. They grow 30 to 40 feet tall and have a spread of 30 to 50 feet wide. The clusters of double, spring-blooming flowers range from pale pink to white and are followed by the small, black fruit in summer. The 2½-to-4½-inch-long green leaves cast a yellow to gold color in fall. Yoshino cherry trees grow best in full sun to light shade in well-drained, moist soil, but they tolerate clay soils. Plant Yoshino cherry trees in USDA zones 5 to 8.