How Fast do Pine Trees Grow?

Pine trees are an excellent choice for someone looking for an attractive addition to their garden that generally grows quickly. The pine tree is evergreen – meaning it will retain its green foliage throughout the year. This makes it a beautiful addition to a garden for the winter, and also adds to the festive atmosphere around the holiday season. It also makes it a good option for those looking for fast-growing trees for either privacy or wind protection, along the perimeter of their garden. There are about 100 species of pine to choose from, with variable growth rates.

How fast do pine trees grow?

Pine trees grow at an average rate of just under 1ft to 2ft per year. Pine trees are divided into three subcategories in terms of growth: fast-growing, medium-fast growing, and slow-growing. Slow growing pines will grow a maximum of 1ft annually. Medium-fast will have growth rates of 1ft to 2ft. Fast-growing species can achieve growth rates of over 3 feet per year.

Read Pine tree trimming cost guide here.

What are the longest living trees?

The longest living trees on Earth are the slow-growing Bristlecone pine or Pinus aristata. These trees can live for thousands of years. The Bristlecone can retain its needles for over 30 years before renewing them, unlike the average 2-year cycle of most pine species. In the White Mountains, New Hampshire, The Tree-Ring Research group has discovered a Bristlecone with a confirmed age of 5,062 years.

There are three sub-types of Bristlecone. Pinus longaeva, the most long-lived of the three, and what makes up most of the famous examples of ancient Bristlecones. There are also the Rocky Mountain Bristlecone, which has the largest population, and the Foxtail pine, which forms the thickest groves.

How long do pines take to reach maturity?

Pine trees can vary significantly by species in how long they take to reach full size and maturity. Their life stages can be indicated by the leaves. In the first stage of life, young seedlings will produce seed leaves for about a year. Then they will produce juvenile leaves from six months up to 5 years, which are indicated by their spiral arrangement. These will then change to scale leaves in the same arrangement, but small and brown. Finally, the adult ‘leaves,’ i.e. the needles, will grow out from the scale leaves on the mature tree.

In terms of when they reach full height, this is usually between 50 and 145 feet, though dwarf species, such as the Siberian Dwarf, only reach a maximum of 10ft.

Pine is considered mature enough for wood harvest at around 25 to 30 years, and there are various techniques on how to kill a pine tree when they reach a certain age.  Sometimes they are left to grow for up to 50 years as the value of the wood will increase with age.

What’s the tallest species of pine?

The Sugar Pine, or Pinus lambertiana, is the tallest known species of pine tree. The sugar pine can exceed heights of 200ft and lives for around 500 years. This species is native to North America, and can commonly be found in the mountainous regions of Oregon and California, and also northwestern Mexico.

Can I make my pine tree grow slower?

The best way to slow down the growth of your pine tree is to trim periodically. You should first wait until the tree has already grown as high as you want it. Then use a suitable tree saw to cut off between 6 and 12 inches from the central stem at the top. Make your cut at a 45-degree angle, so that the moisture doesn’t settle on top of the cut and cause rot.

When that’s done, you can use loppers to cut the branches below the top down a few inches, making sure it’s even around each side of the tree. Cut the rest of the limbs in proportion to maintain the cone shape. Repeat this process on the top and sides of your tree annually to maintain the height that you want.

Types of Fast-Growing Pines:

Monterey Pine (Pinus radiata): Can grow up to 3 feet per year, and up to 160ft tall. The widespread, cultivated version is desirable for its wood and pulp. It’s the most planted pine on the planet. Despite this, it’s only native to some small areas in California and Mexico, and the natural species are endangered and not suitable for harvesting. Its needles have a dark green hue, and bark can be red-brown or gray. They tolerate many soil conditions and its rapidly spreading roots can be used to stabilize erosion.

Eastern White Pine (Pinus Strobus): It tree can grow over three feet per year and reach up to 80ft tall. Commonly used in colonial times as British ship masts, it’s native to the Eastern US, and can commonly be found growing along the Appalachian mountains. These can easily be cut back and shaped into hedges, making them a great option as a wind barrier.

Lobolly Pine (Pinus taeda): The second most common species in the USA, it can grow over 3 feet per year and up to 100ft tall. Used widely for its timber and naturally native to the southeast US. Its bark has a red-brown color with light green needles. This species is suitable for shade or ornamental use.