En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
7 ratings

Wednesday - September 03, 2008

From: Eatonville, WA
Region: Select Region
Topic: Trees
Title: How fast do trees grow?
Answered by: Damon Waitt

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants I would like to know how to tell how much a tree will grow if the average of the trees are growing at the rate of approximately 3 to 3.5% annually. And how do they come up with that percentage. And how can we use that to keep an eye on the average growth on our trees. We thank you so very much for your time.

ANSWER:

As you might suspect, different species of tree grow at different rates. Some are fast growing like Arizona ash and are prized by developers and homeowners for their quick growth pace. Others, like many oaks, are known for their slow growth. In general, their is an inverse correlation between a trees growth rate and its longevity. Fast growing tress tend to have shorter lifespans and slow growing trees longer lifespans. IMr. SP doesn't know where you got the 3.5 percentage but its is pretty easy to tell how fast your tress are growing. Simply examine a twig on any tree and note the terminal bud covered by small scales at the end of the twig. This is the growing tip of the twig. Now work backward until you find a spot on the twig encircled by several scars. These scars are left by the scales that covered the terminal bud in the previous year. The distance between the terminal bud scale scars and the terminal bud equals one years growth (see illustration). You should examine several twigs on the same tree to get an overall idea of how much growth occurred on that tree in the previous year. Using this technique compare the growth on different species to get an idea of how fast your trees are growing.

 

 

More Trees Questions

Do leaves with tannins make good compost from Austin
November 04, 2010 - I have a couple of old native pecan trees in my (or neighbor's) yard that drop bushels and bushels of leaves every fall. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I have a recollection that pecan leaves have...
view the full question and answer

Floristic Quality Assessment program in Texas?
January 19, 2009 - Do you have knowledge of a Floristic Quality Assessment program for Texas such as the ones used in Indiana and Illinois?
view the full question and answer

Determination of native plants of North Carolina
April 24, 2006 - I am compiling lists of native plants to use in NC, and found that Dirr (Manual of Woody Landscape Plants) lists introduction dates (xxxx) for MANY of the trees you list as natives, e.g., Acer rubrum ...
view the full question and answer

Companion plants for Douglas fir in Federal Way, WA
May 11, 2009 - What are good companion plants for large Douglas Fir trees? we have 5 large trees in our cul-de-sac "island" and would like to plant something colorful around the trees. It's very dry, shady, and c...
view the full question and answer

Landscaping plant for Austin
September 01, 2011 - Great site! Have gotten lots of ideas. We're about to start construction on a fairly major landscaping project: raised beds/privacy screen. We're at the top of a hill in the Hill Country just wes...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center