Fast Growing Trees

Fast growing trees are becoming more and more popular. The reason being, home owners get to enjoy the benefits of a mature tree sooner. Fast growing trees are especially great when landscaping. Some act as quick solutions to privacy and others as shade trees.

Let’s take a closer look at six fast growing trees available in the Arbor Day Foundation Tree Nursery.

weeping willowFirst, is the weeping willow. Depending on the cultivar, weeping willow trees can grow from 3’ to 8’ per year, making it one of the fastest of the fast growing trees.  Often seen as one of the first indications of spring, the weeping willow’s yellow twigs and green foliage appear early in the season—sometimes as early as February.

Quaking aspen quaking aspen has the widest natural range of any tree in North America- fit for zones 1-7.  The name stems from how it adds movement and a soft, pleasant sound to the landscape due to the “quaking” leaves. It grows 40’ to 50’ with a 25’ spread and averaging 2’ to 3’ per year. It has stunning golden-yellow foliage in the fall to accompany its iconic white bark.

red mapleRed maple stays true to its name by featuring something red all year round-—buds in winter, flowers in spring, leafstalks in summer, and brilliant red or yellow foliage in autumn. Homeowners are growing this favorite across the Unites States because of its tolerance to a wide range of soils and deer resistant bark.

green giant arborvitaeThe green giant arborvitae  is large and vigorous. This is an exceptional landscape tree for use as a screen, hedge or single specimen. Once established, it is resistant to wind and can withstand heavy ice or snow, making it a good choice for a natural windbreak. Arborvitae provides nesting sites and cover for birds and small animals. The flower buds, seeds and foliage are a food source, although this cultivar has greater resistance to deer browsing than most arborvitae.

tuliptreeTuliptree features aromatic stems, bright green leaves, and cup-shaped flowers, which bloom in May and June. It grows well in a variety of soils and reaches heights between 70’ and 90’. Tuliptree seeds, maturing in summer and persisting into winter, provide food for both birds and mammals, including finches, cardinals, quail, mice, rabbits, and squirrels.

river birchRiver birch as its name suggests, naturally grows alongside river banks but can be grown almost anywhere in the United States. Features include being the most borer-resistant birch, works well for holding stream banks, and control erosion.

When planted properly, these trees will grow strong, healthy, and tall. Get helpful tips and information on tree care, and to find out which trees grow best in each hardiness zone.

You can find all of these trees and more in our Tree Nursery. Get a discount on all of your trees when you become an Arbor Day Foundation member.

Did your favorite fast growing tree make the list? If not, share your favorite tree in the comments!

Howard Neukrug, Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer, Philadelphia Water

howard_neukrugPhiladelphia, a Tree City USA community for nearly four decades, is where Howard Neukrug presides at Philadelphia Water. Howard Neukrug is a leader in recognizing the importance of trees to a healthy watershed and to clean drinking water in our cities. Howard serves as the commissioner and chief executive officer of Philadelphia Water — where he’s long enjoyed collaboration with an incredibly strong team — on the U.S. EPA National Drinking Water Advisory Council, and as Vice Chairman of the U.S. Water Alliance.

In 2002, as watershed program director for Philadelphia Water, Howard, with partnership support and contributions from the U.S. Forest Service, completed an urban ecosystem analysis for the Philadelphia metropolitan area which illustrated that the loss of tree canopy cover has a detrimental impact on water quality.

His initiative led to the funding and maintenance of natural areas, and with the leadership of then Mayor and later Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, TreeVitalize was established in 2004, through which tens of thousands of trees were strategically planted.

Venice Island Pump house_ Paul FugazzottoNeukrug, with the vital support of city agencies, and public and private partners, helped to create Green City, Clean Waters (GCCW), a comprehensive, community enhancing green stormwater management plan that boosts the sustainability and greening goals of Philadelphia’s overarching Greenworks Plan. GCCW’s Green Streets component uses trees to supplement the work of traditional storm drains to manage street runoff, resulting in newly tree lined streets. GCCW trees are multi-taskers as they manage stormwater, enhance air quality, improve property values and beautify Philadelphia neighborhoods

“GCCW is the single largest green stormwater infrastructure program in the nation,” Neukrug noted. “But the realization of the program – and its daily implementation – is achieved through the passion and dedication of Philadelphia Water’s own Office of Watersheds, and the strong partnership and leadership provided by our sister agencies – Philadelphia’s Parks & Recreation and Office of Sustainability.  It is a pleasure and honor to have such steadfast support.”

Phil Rodbell, Urban Forestry Program Specialist at the U.S. Forest Service, said, “Howard’s work on the ground and in the halls of government on behalf of trees, watersheds, and green infrastructure has shined a new light on Philadelphia as a livable and lovable city, once again.”

Porous Asphalt Parking Lot with Green Gutter and Vegetated Basin at Salvation Army_Louis_Cook_for_PWDAs Howard says, “Trees are not going to solve our problem, but they are part of our toolbox. People tend to like trees more than sewers, if you give them a choice.”

For leading the way in planting and protecting the urban and community forest and ensuring clean, safe drinking water, Howard Neukrug is the recipient of the 2015 Excellence in Urban Forestry Leadership Award. This year’s Arbor Day Award ceremony will be held at Lied Lodge & Conference Center, located at Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City, Nebraska, on Saturday, April 25.

Do you have an Arbor Day Foundation story that you’d like to share?  Please tell us all about it in the comments section below.  We’d love to hear it!

Jerry Brown, Governor, State of California

Sacramento, a Tree City USA community, is known as the “Tree Capital of the World.” It’s also where Governor Jerry Brown presides as the leader of California state government.

DT Sacramento CAGovernor Brown has played a key role in establishing community forestry in California.  During his first term, The Urban Forestry Act of 1978 created an urban forestry program through state law, allowing California’s Depart of Forestry and Fire Protection – also known as Cal Fire –  to “implement a program in urban forestry to encourage better tree management and planting in urban areas.”

Since again becoming Governor in 2011, Brown has continued his legacy leading to historic funding levels for California’s Urban and Community Forestry Program.

In 2012, Assembly Bill 1492 provided the first and only sustainable revenue source in support of urban forestry — up to 30 million dollars annually.

In 2013, Brown put his stamp on a Three-Year Investment Plan that highlights urban forestry as an investment area for greenhouse gas reductions, improved public health, and environmental justice.

Gov Jerry Brown

California Governor Jerry Brown with his father, Edmund “Pat” Brown, Governor of California from 1959 to 1967, at Echo Summit/Desolation Wilderness

Always steadfast to his commitment to support urban forestry, Brown signed a state budget on June 20, 2014 containing 17.8 million dollars for Cal Fire’s Urban and Community Forestry Program – the largest one-year, single-state allocation for urban forestry in the entire history of the United States.

Governor Brown continues to highlight the value of community forests, noting, “Trees provide shelter for us and birds and wildlife. They give us shade and conserve our soil. We harvest fruit from trees and at the same time enjoy their beauty. We plant trees not only for the benefit of this generation but as our gift to posterity.”

As Jerry Brown enters his fourth and final term as Governor of California, the future of urban forestry is bright.  Through Governor Brown’s actions, California has a successful Urban and Community Forestry Program, a tax to support it, and a revenue source to support greenhouse gas reduction projects and benefit disadvantaged communities.  Governor Jerry Brown is indeed a true Champion of Trees.

California Governor Jerry Brown is the recipient of the 2015 Champion of Trees Public Service Award. This year’s Arbor Day Award ceremony will be held at Lied Lodge & Conference Center, located at Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City, Nebraska, on Saturday, April 25.

Do you have an Arbor Day Foundation story that you’d like to share?  Please tell us all about it in the comments section below.  We’d love to hear it!

###

Emi Lutz, Bellevue, Washington

Emi LutzHigh School senior Emi Lutz of Bellevue, Washington — a Tree City USA community — compiled a guide to the plants of Lewis Creek Park with great enthusiasm. The guide was Emi’s senior project and part of Bellevue’s Well Kept Program, offered by the city’s Parks and Community Services DepartmentNatural Resources Division.

The 85-page, full-color guide highlights plants ranging from the Douglasfir to the slough sedge. More importantly, the experience stimulated Emi’s conservation ethic and led her to the University of Washington where she is studying for a career as a biologist.

Emi Lutz Bk“Through working in the Well Kept Program and leading nature walks with residents, I realized that I enjoyed sharing my interest and knowledge of the outdoors and trees with others,” said Emi.

The Well Kept Program offers summer park employment that teaches life skills, provides environmental education, and instills young people with self-esteem and good work habits. This opportunity and support from the Bellevue’s Parks and Community Services Department provided Emi with the training and experience that helped forge her current academic and eventual career path.

Emi Lutz Group“It was fun to teach both kids and adults and watch them learn and start caring for the environment,” she adds.

Do you have an Arbor Day Foundation story that you’d like to share?  Please tell us all about it in the comments section below.  We’d love to hear it!

 ###

#TreeCityUSATuesday

Wilmington, DE

Wilmington has been designated a Tree City USA community for 22 years and awarded the  Growth Award four times.

Wilmington DEHome to 70,000 residents, Wilmington is a warm community situated at the confluence of the Christina River and Brandywine Creek. Despite its modest size, Wilmington places importance on its urban forestry program, with more than 136,000 trees throughout the city and 16% tree canopy coverage.

Wilmington has a fair ethnic population, contributing to its cultural diversity. You can attend a number of cultural festivals in the summer including Italian, Greek, Polish, or African and enjoy traditional music, food, and activities.  While roaming downtown you’ll appreciate that Wilmington’s urban forest removes 45 tons of air pollutants a year, saving the city $291,000 in air filtration costs. In addition, the city’s trees reduce energy costs by $183,000 annually.

Wilmington’s urban forest has a structural value of $166 million.

Is your city worthy of Arbor Day Foundation #TreeCityUSATuesday recognition?  If so, please tell us about it!

RonDell Pooler, Washington, District of Columbia

Rondell PoolerRonDell Pooler, a resident of the Tree City USA recognized community of Washington, D.C., leveraged a valuable training opportunity when he registered with DC Green Corps, a green jobs program that provides career training and guidance for underemployed Washington residents. DC Green Corps training focuses on new tree planting and maintenance, park management, and volunteer supervision.

As part of the program, RonDell participated in a 12-week training course supported by the District of Columbia Department of Transportation’s Urban Forest Administration and the U.S. Forest Service.

DC CorpsNow a proud graduate of DC Green Corps, RonDell works for a nonprofit organization leading volunteer projects, monitoring trees and park conditions, and supervising trainees.

“Forestry programs have had a great impact, not only by giving me a job but real skills,” said RonDell. “It has also helped me become more conscious of the community and my neighborhood.”

The generous support from the D.C. Urban Forest Administration and the U.S. Forest Service helped to make this successful program possible, and provided the valuable opportunity to encourage local community forestry leaders like RonDell Pooler to engage in the active stewardship of Washington’s trees now and into the future.

Do you have an Arbor Day Foundation story that you’d like to share?  Please tell us all about it in the comments section below.  We’d love to hear it!

###

Linda Jark, Chapman, Kansas, Tree Board Chair

On the night of June 11, 2008, a deadly tornado struck Chapman, Kansas, leaving behind a trail of devastation. Much of the tree canopy in the heart of this farming community was destroyed.

KS plantingTo exacerbate the difficult situation, Chapman had no organized community forestry program. That’s when the Kansas Forest Service got involved. A community forester at Kansas State University took initiative, promptly contacted Chapman city officials, and generously offered technical assistance to help the community address the storm’s aftermath.

During the next several years, the Kansas Forest Service helped start a tree board and guided an inventory of the community’s trees. Information from the inventory helped leverage Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance to remove irreparably damaged and destroyed trees and to guide a new tree planting strategy.

Linda JarkLinda Jark was eventually appointed chair of the new tree board. She is quick to praise the assistance that Chapman received after the tornado. For her, this made all the difference.

“Thanks to the Kansas Forest Service, we got the right information and recommendations,” said Linda. Chapman’s community forestry program is now thriving and continues to grow.  In addition, Chapman is now a proud Tree City USA recognized community.

“Now it’s starting to show,” said Linda. “We have growth. The community forestry program is in the public eye.”

Do you have an Arbor Day Foundation story that you’d like to share?  Please tell us all about it in the comments section below.  We’d love to hear it!

Jo An Street, Portland, Maine, Parent

Jo AnJo An Street is the mother of an elementary student at Reiche School near downtown Portland, Maine, a recognized Tree City USA community for nearly four decades, so she understands the importance of exposing city-raised children to trees and green space. She was pleased when a collaborative effort was initiated between Portland’s Forestry Department, local businesses and educational groups to create apple orchards on school grounds.

“This is the only green space many of these children may have access to,” says Jo An. With support from the Maine Forest Service‘s ‘Project Canopy,’ four apple orchards were established at Portland schools during the first three years, and the project continues to grow. Jo An kids

The trees in the school orchard are connecting children with nature. The orchards are planted and cared for by students and staff during the school year and by community and parent groups during the summer. In addition to providing outdoor play space, the orchards also serve an educational purpose.

“This has become a community effort and trees are an important way to bring science education to these kids,” Jo An adds. She has already noticed the difference the trees have made to her own children.

Joan Tree

Were it not for grant dollars, professional advice and volunteer assistance from state and local forestry officials, children in Portland would not have these educational and invigorating orchards in which to learn and play.

Do you have an Arbor Day Foundation story that you’d like to share?  Please tell us all about it in the comments section below.  We’d love to hear it!

#TreeCityUSATuesday

Albuquerque, NM

Albuquerque has been designated a Tree City USA community for 16 years and awarded the  Growth Award twice.

Albuquerque NMHome to 550,000 residents, Albuquerque is a city fused with western flare and modern culture.  Despite its arid desert climate, Albuquerque manages to stay green, encompassing more than 1.5 million trees with 13% tree canopy coverage. The city also fosters a healthy lifestyle; a 2007 March issue of Men’s Fitness listed Albuquerque as the fittest city in the United States. Residents are certainly making the most of the city’s 361 parks.

In addition to healthy people, Albuquerque also produces healthy air, removing 366 tons of air pollutants annually, saving $1.1 million in air filtration costs. Contrary to desert stereotypes, the city receives rainfall; in fact the urban forest intercepts 11.1 million gallons of stormwater runoff annually, saving $3.42 million in stormwater management costs. On top of that, the city saves as much as $3.76 million in energy costs.

Albuquerque’s urban forest is an asset valued at $1.93 billion.

Is your city worthy of Arbor Day Foundation #TreeCityUSATuesday recognition?  If so, please tell us about it!

James Settle, Roanoke, Virginia, Neighborhood Leader and Former Parks Advisory Board Member

James Settle“This stretch of road was a racetrack,” said Roanoke, Virginia, resident James Settle, recalling how speeding cars used to pour across a nearby bridge, down his street and past his family’s home.

Walking in James’ neighborhood was truly a dangerous proposition – until the City of Roanoke, a long-time Tree City USA recognized community, planted 26 ornamental and shade trees at the foot of the bridge. The trees grew into an effective entryway to the neighborhood and a buffer between busy traffic and single-family homes. The constancy of speeding cars subsided.

The new trees slowed traffic and made the neighborhood safer. In fact, James says he has never felt safer, and that the 26 trees made all the difference.

“If we could do only one thing as a neighborhood, we’d plant trees,” he said.

roanoke james sWhile other local neighborhoods hoped to realize the same safety benefits, a challenging budget situation reduced the overall number of trees that the city would be able to plant. Undeterred, James inspired a local volunteer group of tree stewards with the goal of giving every resident the same sense of comfort he now experiences.

Do you have an Arbor Day Foundation story that you’d like to share?  Please tell us all about it in the comments section below.  We’d love to hear it!