Our customers often ask for our advice with regards to fast growing conifers, which can be planted and used in various ways throughout out a garden, so we thought we’d share some snippets of info on our blog to.
Some conifer varieties like shrubs can grow quickly which can be very useful, for example if you are looking to create a natural private space in your garden. The most commonly planted conifer for hedging is the Leyland which has a reputation for growing fast, they can put on approx 1m of growth in a year. The Leyland which does make an excellent hedge or windbreak is brilliant for fast cover, however this reputation has come at a cost as the Leyland can be considered undesirable, but we feel this is ofen due to poor maintenance and being planted in the wrong place.
When buying a fast growing conifer it’s important to consider a maintenance plan to keep the trees in check. This does not have to be an onerous task but can involve a yearly cut, spring or mid-summer. This insures the hedge stays looking its best and doesn’t need topping at a later date which can look unsightly.
If however space is not an issue and you would like a conifer to grow fast and look beautiful for instant height and structure in the garden there are many to choose from. One of our favourites is in fact a deciduous conifer called Metasequoia gylptostroboides. This beautiful conifer has soft feathery foliage in the spring/summer and stunning red bark which looks equally glorious in the winter. Its common name is dawn redwood due to its redwood/bark and they have a reputation for amazing autumn colour before they drop their leaf. They also do very well and prefer a wet location along with Taxodiums (swamp cypress) which again would look ideal planted by an ornamental pond/lake. Some great examples of these trees can be found at Sheffield Park Garden.
A little tip to remember - sometimes conifers are misunderstood because of their reputation for growing tall quickly. But this is not true of all conifer varieties and its good to know that all conifers can be easily maintained and kept to your preferred height and size with regular pruning, they can become as big or small as you wish.
If you are not keen on the idea of planting a Leyland there are many other conifers that grow quickly and create an excellent hedge, windbreak or stand alone specimen. Here are some examples from our collection:
Cupressus 'Blue Ice' is a narrowly flame-shaped evergreen conifer with vivid whitish-blue foliage in dense sprays. Looks great in the garden at winter.
Metasequoia glyphostroboides is a vigorous deciduous conifer making a large, narrowly conical tree with flat sprays of narrow, pale green leaves that turn brownish-pink and yellow in autumn.
Thuja occidentalis 'Brabant' is an evergreen conifer with reddish-brown bark and a conical shape that can also form a dense hedge. The yellowish-green foliage turns slightly bronze in autumn.
Thuja plicata 'Aurea' foliage is a bright golden colour, so it can be used to add a luminous backdrop to larger borders. An invaluable plant for the winter garden, it adds a touch of warmth when the foliage takes on a richer orange hue as the temperatures drop.
Cupressus 'Gold Ryder' is a fast-growing coniferous evergreen tree much used in horticulture for hedges and screens.