Pine Tree Growth Rates: How Fast do Pine Trees Grow?

Planting a tree in your yard is a long-term investment, but some trees grow faster than others. Pine trees are popular for their rapid, tall growth, valuable timber, and evergreen aesthetic, but how fast do they grow in a home landscape? Garden expert Logan Hailey has the answers.

Towering pine trees reach skyward, their verdant branches stretching gracefully towards the heavens, a sanctuary of green tranquility in nature's embrace.


Pines are the most iconic landscape and timber trees, with over 180 species in the Pinus genus that grow around the world, from North America to Europe to Asia. This classic evergreen conifer makes a beautiful specimen shade tree in a home landscape or forest garden. Reaching between 50 and over 100 feet tall, these fast-growing trees are easy to maintain in their native regions. But how fast do pine trees grow, and what can you do to make yours grow faster?

Here is everything you need to know about pine tree growth rates based on species, location, and environmental conditions.

The Short Answer

Pine trees are fairly fast-growing trees, averaging two to three feet of growth yearly. Young saplings may double in size during the first few years. For example, a two-foot-tall potted white pine may reach over 12 feet tall in five years as long as it has quality soil, nutrients, and adequate moisture. Older pines can grow three to four feet per year, depending on the species.

Mature pines can tower to 50 feet or taller in roughly 20 years, with some species like Radiata Pine reaching over 100 feet in 25 years. The fastest-growing pine species, like Eastern White Pine, Loblolly, and Canary Island Pine, require full sunlight, acidic soil, and ample water during establishment. Wide spacing is essential to give these conifers plenty of room to flourish to their greatest potential.

The Long Answer

A majestic pine tree reaches skyward amidst a backdrop of cloudy skies, surrounded by its brethren in a serene forest scene.
Choosing the appropriate fast-growing species native to your region optimizes their performance.

The growth rate of pines varies drastically across species and climates. Environmental conditions, such as soil, sunlight, temperature, and water, are key determining factors for how quickly a tree will grow. If you want to establish a pine quickly, light, species selection, and weed control are probably the most important factors. 

Pine trees require full sunlight and cannot tolerate shade. Choosing the right fast-growing species for your region ensures the plant can handle seasonal extremes. Unsurprisingly, native pines tend to perform the best in areas where they originate. Lastly, weed and grass control is very important during establishment to ensure the young saplings don’t face too much competition from neighboring plants.

Fastest-Growing Pine Species

With so much diversity in the pine family, it’s hard to generalize exactly how fast a tree will grow. Every pine is a little bit different and performs differently in a home landscape based on its native range and the conditions in the area. 

Still, patience is key. These are trees, after all! It can take several decades for a tree to reach its fullest potential, but you may be able to enjoy a five to ten-foot-tall pine within five years. Here are some popular species known for their rapid establishment and tall growth.

Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus)

A close-up of an Eastern White pine tree, emphasizing its slender needles and textured pine cones, capturing the intricate beauty of nature's design in this coniferous specimen.
The Eastern white pine is often found on upland slopes and rocky stream banks.

One of the fastest-growing pine trees, this evergreen conifer averages two to three feet or more of growth per year. This is one of the main reasons why Eastern white pine is a popular Christmas tree! There are several cultivated varieties with bluish hues and twisted, aesthetically pleasing needles, also coveted in landscaping. The needles are three to six inches long and bundled in groups of five. 

Pinus strobus is native to the East Coast, Midwest, and Northeastern United States. It is the most valued timber tree for construction and pulpwood. The trees reach a stately height of 75 to over 200 feet, but these heights can take several centuries of growth. In the wild, white pines are most commonly found on upland slopes and rocky stream banks in sandy, acidic, fertile soils with moderate moisture. 

White pine is a popular windbreak because it grows fairly quickly and adapts to a range of conditions. The young saplings are resilient and easy to find at nurseries or tree farms. The root system is very wide-spreading and quickly anchors the plants in place. A white pine can grow from a potted three-foot-tall specimen to an eight-foot-tall tree in just five years. Ensure at least 15 to 20 feet between every tree.

While the plant is an evergreen, the older needles still fall every year, making an amazing acidic mulch. However, white pine needles are very flammable, so they are not ideal for fire-prone areas. For a firewise landscape, pines must be planted at least 30 feet from structures, and the needles need to be raked up regularly.

Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda)

Slender Loblolly pines stand tall, reaching for the sky against a vibrant blue backdrop, their green foliage contrasting beautifully with the azure heavens.
Southern landscapers promote loblolly pine growth by planting in sandy loam soils with compost.

Native to the Southeastern United States, loblolly pine is the best option for southern homeowners seeking a fast-growing conifer. These trees respond quickly to extra moisture and rich soils, often growing two or more feet per year. The word loblolly means “mud puddle,” describing the moist, muddy conditions that this tree prefers.

This pine is ideal for an accent tree or privacy hedge, reaching an average of 60 to 70 feet tall. The dark green needles grow in bundles of three and average five to six inches in length. Young trees have dark, scaly bark, while mature trees develop dark brown bark with deep, wrinkled furrows. The evergreen foliage is resinous with a pleasant aroma.

Southern landscapers can make loblolly pines grow extra fast by planting them in sandy loam soils with plenty of drainage yet lots of moisture. Amending with compost and coniferous needles can enhance the growth of young saplings. Extra irrigation provides a big boost to these fast-growing evergreens. It’s best to wrap soaker hoses or drip lines around the base of young trees and mulch them with pine needles to conserve moisture.

Canary Island Pine (Pinus canariensis

A petite Canary Island pine boasting feather-like leaves that sway gently in the breeze, creating a picturesque natural scene.
The Canary Island pine is smaller in California but invasive elsewhere.

One of the most popular pines for park and residential landscapes, Canary Island pine has a very large mature size, requiring 30 to 40 feet of space. The trees are extremely fast-growing and can gain three to four feet each year. They are also more fire-resistant than other pines and readily resprout after fires. 

You can only grow Canary Island pines reliably in acidic soils in zones nine and warmer. This pine originates in the Canary Islands off the coast of Northwest Africa, making it a uniquely subtropical pine. It thrives along the coast of California, where it boasts a smaller stature and blue-green needles that gracefully arch downward. Unfortunately, the tree is invasive in Australia and South America. Be sure to check your local extension office resources before planting this pine.

Red Pine (Pinus resinosa

A close-up of sun-drenched brown pine and needle-like leaves adorning the branches of a majestic Red pine tree, illuminated by the golden rays of sunlight filtering through the forest canopy.
The red pine typically grows 50 to 80 feet tall.

Sometimes called Norway pine, this attractive evergreen is native to the Northern United States and Canada, predominantly in areas with cool summers and cold winters. The trees don’t do as well with urban pollution but can thrive in a suburban or semi-rural landscape. 

Red pines have an attractive cone-shaped growth with a rounded crown. The trees usually reach 50 to 80 feet at maturity, and established saplings reliably grow two to two-and-a-half feet per year. However, red pines are very intolerant of shade and may grow at half this rate if they do not have sufficient sunlight.

Sugar Pine (Pinus lambertiana)

Verdant leaves of a Sugar pine tree rustling in the breeze, while a cluster of pine cones nestles amongst its branches, offering a glimpse of nature's autumnal splendor.
This pine is perfect for creating future woodland havens.

Known for their massive cones, up to 22 inches long, sugar pines are sometimes called “the king of pines” because they grow so epically large. Mature plants can have trunk diameters up to eight feet around! The tallest sugar pine recorded was over 240 feet tall. The trees are aesthetically pleasing, with narrow crowns during the juvenile stage, eventually spreading to widely spaced branches and a flat top at maturity

While this pine is slower-growing than its cousins, it still can add 12 to 24 inches of growth per year. It is ideal for growing in groves that you want to plant for your grandchildren to enjoy. As the old quote from Richard Smith says, “A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit.”

Planting a Pine for Fast Growth

Like most plants, the key to faster tree growth is providing optimal conditions. Site preparation and planting are the most important steps to set the stage for decades of prolific growth. A tree can only grow as tall as its roots go deep. If you don’t take the time to properly prepare the soil and carefully plant the sapling, you may be disappointed by slow or stunted growth. Here are the key factors to consider before planting a conifer:

Native Range

Sunlight streams through the lush canopy of pine trees, casting dappled shadows on the forest floor, under the vast expanse of a clear blue sky.
Selecting the right tree species for your climate ensures optimal growth.

First, look at the native range and growing zone of the pine species you wish to plant. Better yet, head to a local forest and see what grows naturally in your area. Native tree species often outperform non-native plants and require less maintenance. There are pines native to all parts of the United States and most temperate areas of the world. 

Matching the tree species to your landscape is the first step to ensuring fast growth. For example, a far northern white pine is not adapted to the hot and humid southeast. The native loblolly is a more suitable selection. While perusing tree nurseries, check the USDA plant hardiness zone to ensure the tree can survive your winter extremes. 


Hands coated in earth, fingers gripping dark soil, bathed in sunlight's golden glow, connecting with nature's richness and vitality through tactile engagement with the land.
Adjust soil pH for tree growth by using elemental sulfur.

Most pine trees prefer acidic soil with a pH between 4.0 and 6.5. Pine needles naturally acidify the soil as they decompose, but it can take a very long time for the needles to cause a noticeable shift in soil acidity. While acidic soil is very common in native coniferous forests, the soil in your home landscape may be closer to neutral. Use a soil test to determine the pH of the area where you wish to plant the coniferous tree.

If your soil is too alkaline, you can add elemental sulfur and gypsum. These organic mineral products lower the pH, making it easier for your young pine to establish. Follow the package instructions to apply the proper amount in the planting hole. Ideally, you can amend the soil in the summer before planting the tree in the fall.

Keep in mind that turfgrass typically struggles to grow under pine trees because grass needs neutral or alkaline soil, while pine trees need acidic conditions. If you’re searching for a groundcover to grow under pines, consider native vining species like wild ginger, ferns, creeping phlox, or sweet woodruff. These plants will add a pleasant forest garden vibe with very low maintenance. 

Soil drainage is also important, as these trees need their roots to breathe. Loosen the soil several feet beyond the planting hole and amend it with compost to enrich the soil for a faster establishment. While some species are adapted to the clay soils of the Northwest, many pines prefer sandier or loamier soil. In the United States, you can check the National Forest Service Tree Atlas to learn about tree species native to your area and what soil they prefer.

Weed Control

A gardener in black gloves carefully spreads bark mulch around a young pine sapling, illuminated by the warm rays of the sun, nurturing the growth of the delicate plant.
Mulch around young saplings to suppress weeds and conserve moisture.

Young saplings struggle to compete with aggressive weeds like grass, thistles, and goosefoot. Taller weeds can outpace the young trees, shading them out and slowing their growth. If your sapling is only a couple of feet tall when you plant it in the ground, it will need all the sunlight and water it can get. Weeds are a major source of competition for young trees, but they become less of an issue as the sapling matures.

Mulch is the best way to keep weeds suppressed around young saplings. Gather branches and pine needles from nearby trees and mulch at least two to three feet in circumference around the new pine. This will help conserve moisture and prevent weeds from germinating too close to the sapling. You will also need to check and manually remove weeds every few weeks to ensure the baby pine doesn’t get shaded out. 

Remember, pines absolutely demand full sunlight. Tall weeds can cast big shadows over short saplings, and shade is the biggest inhibitor of fast growth. Ensure your sapling has continuous access to full sun, and it will mature more rapidly.


A pine tree with vibrant green needle-like leaves cascading from its branches, adorned with clusters of robust, brown pine cones.
Plant saplings in a sunny, open area away from mature trees.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make while growing pines is planting them in the shade of another tree. These conifers are the pinnacle species of native forests. They prefer to grow the tallest and widest, accessing as much abundant sunlight as possible. Pines have virtually no shade tolerance. If you plant them in the shade, the tree will grow slowly and possibly be stunted for life.

Plant saplings in an area with at least eight to ten hours of direct sunlight every day. A south-facing orientation far from neighboring mature trees ensures that the pine consistently receives full sun. When people complain about slow-growing pines, a lack of sunlight is usually the culprit. You also don’t want your tree to grow at a tilt toward the sun. Instead, plant them in the most exposed area of your yard, at least 10-20 feet from neighboring shrubs and trees that could potentially cast shadows.


Branches of a pine tree adorned with lush green foliage, a verdant sanctuary for birds and critters, nature's tranquil embrace amidst the wilderness.
Choose a locally native pine species suited to your climate.

With 180+ species in the Pinus genus, it’s no surprise that these trees have a huge range of temperature tolerance. Generally, however, they are more suited to cool temperate climates. You don’t see natural pine forests in tropical areas, yet they cover the mountainsides of all northern states. Cool winters and warm summers are perfect for these trees

Most species experience the fastest growth when temperatures are between 40°F and 70°F (4-21°C). But, of course, they can withstand the harshest winters of Minnesota and New England, where temperatures dip into the negatives. Once again, it’s very important to select a pine native to your area. Your local university extension office is a great place to start.


A gardener carefully pours water from a bucket onto the soil surrounding a young pine sapling, nurturing its growth with a gentle stream of moisture on a sunny day.
Refrain from excessively watering pine trees to prevent root rot.

Contrary to popular belief, not all pines are drought-tolerant. Baby saplings are particularly thirsty if you want them to grow quickly. A consistent supply of water will ensure your tree adds an extra two to three feet of growth every year. If the sapling is drought-stressed, it will grow slower and may become more susceptible to insects or diseases.

In the first weeks after planting, water your pine everyday or every other day. Check the soil moisture by sticking your finger in the dirt. It should feel as moist as a wrung-out sponge, or even wetter if you are growing a variety like loblolly that enjoys wet soil. After the initial planting phase, you can gradually reduce watering to once or twice per week. 

However, be careful not to over-soak your sapling. If the pine needles start turning yellow, it is a sign you are overwatering. Cut back on irrigation and let the tree dry out so it doesn’t succumb to root rot.

Mulch will help conserve moisture. Once established after the first year, most conifers do not need supplemental irrigation and can survive on only rainfall.


A line of pine saplings stretches out amidst tangled weeds and brittle twigs, their verdant promise contrasting with the desolation of their surroundings.
Ensure proper spacing of at least 5-20 feet, depending on the species size.

Ensure that your conifer grows as quickly as possible by properly spacing the trees. Remember, these are some of the tallest trees in the world. They need plenty of space to reach their fullest potential! Larger species require at least 10-20 feet, while smaller pines can be spaced 5-15 feet apart. For a windbreak or privacy hedge, you can slightly reduce the spacing, but the pines will grow more densely and may require pruning.  

Final Thoughts

Under the right conditions, like full sun and well-drained acidic soil, most pine species will grow about one to three feet per year. Saplings can establish more quickly when they have richer soil and regular moisture. Be sure to choose a pine native to your region to enjoy the fastest, most attractive growth with less maintenance. 

conifer types. The Cedrus libani, or Cedar of Lebanon, presents dense branches adorned with evergreen needle-like leaves, which are dark green and spirally arranged, culminating in large, barrel-shaped cones.


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