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How Long Does it Take to Grow a Tree?

When buying a new tree or plant, most people get excited about watching it grow. However, there’s no single answer about how long it takes to grow since it grows both ways.

People ignore the tree’s root growth and only focus on what’s above the ground. In this post, we’ll break down a tree’s growth and look into the average growth rates of each plant cycle.

Germination Phase: 1-3 Weeks

All trees produce seeds and naturally grow from them, while gardeners can reproduce trees artificially via budding. Seeds will germinate in a moist and favourable environment, allowing their roots to sprout and produce their first couple of leaves.

The germination process will usually take up to 3 weeks in a well-maintained environment.

Seedling-to-Sapling Phase: 6 Months to Several Years

As the seedling continues, it can grow and strengthen until it becomes a sapling. During this stage, the plant becomes extremely sensitive and will require adequate light, protection, humidity, and nutrition. 

Eventually, it will become a sapling as soon as it grows about 3 feet tall. At this point, the root system should have expanded to allow for stability and strength.

Saplings usually have smooth barks, flexible stems, and tiny branches but are still incapable of growing food. Different trees grow through the sapling stage differently. Oak trees, for instance, remain a sapling for up to six years, while popular poplars only take up to 5-7 years to fully mature.

Mature or Fruit-Bearing Stage: About 4 Years Onwards

When a tree grows taller than 10 feet, it is said to have fully matured. Some trees start blooming and bearing fruit as soon as they reach maturity. Trees with shorter lifespans usually take 2 to 10 years to fully mature, while some, like Oak trees, take as long as 30 years.

Fruit-bearing trees like berry bushes, however, bear fruit much sooner.

Centennial/Ancient Trees: Over 100 Years

Some trees live older than humans and are certainly taller than other plants. Trees that take more than 100 years to fully mature and continue growing even beyond the 100-year mark are called Ancient Trees

The oldest clonal colony of trees is known as Pando in the US and is more than 80,000 years old. The oldest tree species, such as Bristlecone Pines and Giant Sequoia, mostly exceed 3000 years old. 

Factors Affecting Tree Growth Time

  • Tree Location

Where you plant your trees will impact how long it takes to mature fully. Tropical trees usually take a while to mature and grow faster than most species in different climates.

Moreover, location is also crucial in determining adequate sunlight to reinforce tree growth. Trees less exposed to sunlight will grow slower than those in sunny areas.

  • Climate/Weather

Trees grow faster in certain seasons and will slow down during winter. In fact, we recommend planting your trees from mid-August to October. You can also probe a thermometer in the soil to monitor its temperature.

If it consistently exceeds 10°C, it should be perfect for planting a tree or seedling.

  • Soil Quality

The type of soil is crucial in determining how well it can facilitate growth by how well it holds water and nutrients.

Healthy soil should allow a seedling to set stable roots and let trees suck up enough water for growth. Harsh soil conditions such as mountain ranges and snowy locations provide difficult conditions that can slow down a tree’s growth.

  • Animal Species

Different tree species will grow at varying rates at the exact location and climate. Some species grow rapidly but wither sooner, while others have? very slow growth rates but will age more than 100 years.

  • Water & Nutrients

It’s a no-brainer that trees need enough water and nutrients to boost their growth. It’s estimated that trees lose 90% of water to the atmosphere, leaving the rest to facilitate circulation and biological processes. A tree will also require nutrients and enough nitrogen to accelerate growth, which gardeners and landscape arborists top up using fertilisers.

Average Growth Rates of Common Australian Trees

  • Golden Wattle

Australia’s floral emblem grows at around 1.5 metres per year and is significant for indigenous communities and a popular landscaping element in the suburbs.

  • Eucalypts/Gum Tree

Another popular tree choice is gum trees. They grow about 0.25 cm per year in a mature state, are great inspirations for paintings and photography, and are mostly native to Australia.

  • Conifers

Most conifers are evergreen and are a popular choice for Aussie gardens. They grow up to 20 metres at about 0.6 metres per year and will complement any type of landscape. 


Several interconnected factors influence a tree’s growth rate. Most importantly, ensuring fast and healthy growth requires proper soil preparation, tree care, and planning. 

Growing a single tree can be rewarding for everyone. But if you’re landscaping your entire front lawn, commercial space, or need a Sydney tree removal specialist, Trees Down Under has you covered. 

Call us now at 0475 463 597, and we’ll get back to you with a free estimate. We are the perfect solution for your garden.

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