Rapid Canopy Growth: Best Options for Fastest Growing Shade Trees

Rapid Canopy Growth: Best Options for Fastest Growing Shade Trees

Agroforestry has held significant value in many Kenyan communities for various reasons.

One crucial aspect is the traditional belief that trees carry a sacred significance, often serving as places of worship.

However, the challenge arises as many indigenous trees tend to have a prolonged maturation period.

Consequently, the fastest-growing trees in Kenya predominantly consist of exotic varieties or enhanced versions of native species.

An image of Shade growing tree: photo courtesy:freepik


Fastest-growing trees in Kenya

In the contemporary era, tree planting has evolved into a commercial venture in Kenya, leading to the predominance of softwood over hardwood trees.

The shift towards faster-growing varieties has become prominent. To explore the types of trees that thrive and grow rapidly in the country.

1. Acacia (Wattles/acacias)


This extensive genus comprises trees and shrubs native to Africa and Australasia, thriving in diverse environments such as rainforests, alpine settings, grasslands, woodlands, deserts, and coastal dunes.

These trees are prevalent in various forested areas. Notably, the wood from these trees serves multiple purposes, including construction, crafting musical instruments, creating weapons, and as a source of firewood.

Additionally, the wood finds applications in tanning processes and as fodder.

While these trees exhibit rapid growth in warm climates, their lifespan is relatively short, typically lasting about 20 to 30 years.

2. Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus encompasses a genus featuring over 700 species of flowering trees and shrubs.

Their bark varies from fibrous, smooth, and hard to stringy. Notably, the leaves possess oil glands, and their sepals and petals are fused, forming a cap over the stamens.

The woody capsule fruit of eucalyptus, commonly referred to as a gum nut, is a distinctive feature.

While the majority of eucalyptus trees originated in Australia, they are now cultivated worldwide in plantations.

Valued for their timber, these trees serve various purposes, including essential oil extraction, pulpwood for paper production, and honey production.

3. African cypress (Widdringtonia)

The African cypress, belonging to the cypress family, is a genus of coniferous trees with four species originating from South Africa.

Growing up to 20 meters in height, these evergreen trees have scale-like leaves, while the seedlings feature needle-like leaves.

The wood derived from African cypress is soft, light, and possesses a pleasant aroma. Known for its resistance to decay, this wood is easily splittable.

It finds versatile applications, including furniture making, outdoor and indoor paneling, fencing posts, and as a source of firewood.

In Kenya, African cypress trees are commonly utilized as live fences. Planted closely together and trimmed uniformly, they create neat and consistent fences.

Additionally, these trees can be grown along the edges of farmlands with minimal impact on other crops.

4. Pine

Pine trees are known for their relatively fast growth, reaching two to three feet per year.

Belonging to the Pinaceae family and the Pinus genus, pines trace their origins to the Indo-European base.

A widely-used lumber source, pine species are evergreen, maintaining their foliage regardless of climatic conditions.

These coniferous trees produce resin, a highly viscous substance convertible into polymers. While they can grow up to 80 meters in height, most species range from 15 to 45 meters tall.

Notably long-lived, some pine trees can reach ages of 100 to 1000 years, with examples like the ‘Methuselah’ pine, estimated to be around 4,600 years old, among the oldest living organisms.

Pine branches, needles, and cone scales grow spirally and often exhibit arrangements in Fibonacci number ratios.

The bark varies between thick and scaly or thin and flaky, depending on the species.

Adaptability is a key feature, enabling pines to thrive in diverse environments such as rainforests and semi-arid deserts.

If impressive follow for more on our blog page as sampled below:


What is the fastest-growing tree to provide shade?

The weeping willow takes the lead as the fastest-growing shade tree, boasting a remarkable growth rate of about 10 feet per year.

Following closely behind are Nuttall oaks at 4 feet per year, dawn redwoods at 3.5 feet per year, and tulip poplars at 3 feet per year.

How can I make my tree grow faster?

Here are six essential tips to foster rapid tree growth:

  1. Species Selection: Opt for tree species known for their fast growth rates when starting from scratch.
  2. Soil Testing: Assess the soil’s composition and nutrient levels to ensure optimal conditions for growth.
  3. Adequate Space: Provide sufficient space for the trees to expand their roots and canopy without competition.
  4. Proper Watering: Maintain consistent and adequate watering to support healthy root development and hydration.
  5. Mulching: Apply a layer of mulch around the base of the trees to retain moisture, regulate soil temperature, and suppress weed growth.
  6. Pruning: Regularly prune trees to remove dead or overgrown branches, promoting better air circulation and directing growth energy towards healthy areas.

What is the fastest-growing evergreen shade tree?

The fastest-growing evergreen tree for privacy is the Thuja Green Giant. With an impressive growth rate of 3 to 5 feet per year, it’s the top choice for quickly establishing privacy in outdoor spaces.



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