Fast Growing Trees To Avoid

If you are searching for the best fast growing trees to plant in your landscape, there are a few that you really should avoid. Fast growing trees are a hot item for the new home builder on the empty lot, but they are not all created equal. It is true that most of the trees declared to be fast growing will grow quickly, but that doesn’t mean you will want to own them.

Here are three fast growing trees that you may be tempted to plant in your yard but shouldn’t.


The poplar is my #1 fast growing tree to avoid. They grow like a weed it is true, but they end up looking like one too. Perhaps what I dislike the most is that people get suckered (no pun intended) into planting these trees because of their narrow habit and end up planting them in a big line. More about suckers later. It just doesn’t look attractive in the landscape.

Poplars have a huge invasive root system that can harm your home if they are too close. In fact, the roots will extend so far from the tree you won’t believe it, but you’ll know about it because they will show up in your yard and make mowing a real pain. Poplars will also send up all kinds of suckers from these roots. Poplars don’t tend to live long and pretty soon they will start to die more and more each year, leaving you with a yard full of roots and a skinny leafless tree in your yard.

Add to that shorter lifespan the fact that poplars are prone to disease and you should have read enough not to plant poplars in your yard.


Let me start by noting that I love willow trees. The weeping willow, especially, is a beautiful tree, but that doesn’t mean you should want one. The willow is basically a junk tree that grows in boggy areas in nature much like a weed. The growth habit of willows is unpredictable and erratic and they shed branches by the dozen. If you plant a weeping willow, plan to spend a lot of time picking up after it, especially after any sort of wind storm.

Like the poplar, the willow has a very invasive root system and will send up suckers along them. It is also prone to disease and many varieties can’t be counted on to have a long life. Unless you have a large property and you want to plant a willow away from the house and down by a stream, which is beautiful, keep them out of your yard. Willows make no sense at all in the urban landscape.

Silver Maple

How the silver maple got to be so popular I’ll never know. It is an extremely fast growing tree (I guess that’s how) but has very little landscape value other than quick shade. The silver trunk and silvery shimmer of the leaves is simply not a pretty sight.

If you’ve ever stubbed a toe on a maple tree root it’s highly likely that it was a silver maple. They can send roots along the ground that are the size of trees themselves, so this is another lawn mower disaster and your sidewalk and driveway are in danger too. On top of that, the silver maple has weak wood and is prone to damage.

Honorable Mention

Without going into great detail, I will let you know that the ash tree gets an honorable mention here. Widely used by municipalities as a street tree, the ash is fast growing and some varieties are very beautiful indeed. Unfortunately, the emerald ash borer is on the march and it’s possible that these trees have had it, so don’t propagate the problem by planting another one right now.

Search elsewhere for fast growing trees that belong in your landscape. The three that were listed here are on the fast growing trees to avoid list.