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How can a tree be made to grow bigger and faster constantly over 100 years?
Could a full grown tree be given a constant trickle of water and a time-released nutrient pack, like huge miracle grow stick or tree steroids, would boost the tree into growing bigger?

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you can use a gene gun to insert growth speed genes & do lots (lots!) of experimenting until you get a viable product. then release your global warming reducing kudzu!

especially if you're going for maximum total tree biomass, rather than maximum individual tree biomass

i know a guy who's working on this

  • Could you get me some more info? This is very interesting and would like to know more. – Muze Dec 17 '18 at 18:57
  • i'm not actually sure he's going to succeed at it, but he's spent enough time working in bio labs that i bet he's right that it's possible – amara Dec 17 '18 at 21:43
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+50

Interesting question. There are definitely ways to speed up growth, like fine-tuning soil for optimal growth. For example taking the time to test soil and amend it with any deficient macro- or micro-nutrients would improve forest/tree growth.

There will probably be trade-offs in environmental benefits trees that are "rushed". The tree quality itself may or may not be "better" for the tree use you're looking for, and the production, transport, and use of soil amendments may have more negative impact on the environment overall than the sped-up growth of the tree. Also note that slower growing trees and less "craddled" (carefully cared for) trees tend to be more resilient (if they survive into maturity that is!) Faster trees tend to be weaker and more susceptible to damage or shorter lifespans, as we see in pioneer species who's fast growth lets them fill in disturbed areas first but also with short lifespans.

Beware that rushing to fertilize is not the same as optimizing soil. Trees and other plants can be "burned" by too much of a good thing, so more is not necessarily better. Optimize growth by site selection in the first place and soil amendments based on tree needs and you'll get the best growth possible.


Anectodally, at school we once had a contest to grow climbing bean plants the fastest. Some teams fed their beans things that are stimulants for humans, like coffee or energy drinks. Surprisingly those beans did begin to grow faster than other plants, but then all those beans died off. Not a great "soil amendment" apparently! But those teams who had good site selection in terms of light and optimized soil nutrition (not too much, not too little; the right drainage; the right pH) grew the best bean plants the fastest.

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    To your point, cr0 - in general, the faster a tree grows, the weaker the growth is. An oak may grow about one foot a year while an Autumn Blaze maple (a cross between silver and red maples) may reach five feet a year. After 10-15 years, it's a good bet that at least one major Autumn Blaze limb will be lost to wind damage while the oak may go decades (if not more than a century) before the same damage befalls it. – Jurp Dec 16 '18 at 21:03
  • Good point @Jurp, I edited to add info about that. Thanks! – cr0 Dec 16 '18 at 23:15
  • @Jurp the tree would need to be naturally dense and placed in a hospitable climate. – Muze Dec 17 '18 at 3:07
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Your question implies an existing tree. But have you considered getting a new tree?

Paulownia tomentosa (Empress Tree) is one of the fastest-growing trees on the planet, rivalling Normandy Poplar. It will reach over a dozen feet after just a couple years, and may reach 40' in a dozen years or so. It has wonderful purple flowers that come out in the spring before the leaves. This east-Asia native tolerates -20° winter temperatures. The wood is high in tannins, and is as rot-proof as cedar, and it splits easily for fences and such. It is also a great mulching tree, with leaves as big as a yard across.

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Legend is that when a Japanese farmer had a daughter born, he would plant a Paulownia seed, and on his daughter's 18th birthday, he would cut it down and make a set of furniture for her dowry.

In certain places, it is considered invasive, generally places like the US Southeast that lack hard winters. But if you mow or graze under it, the baby plants will be kept in check.

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    Good answer. GMO version of this tree if available will be a good candidate of a Miracle grown from a sprout tree. I still would like to know if there is any other then listed techniques taking a tree like the ones in the picture and make them grown faster? – Muze Dec 17 '18 at 3:04
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    That's one nice tree. Too bad I planted my swamp oak 10 year past. It's just now topping the second story. – Wayfaring Stranger Dec 17 '18 at 19:35
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    @Muze: the answer is still no....unless GMO techniques are applied, though heaven only knows why anyone would think that was a good idea... – Bamboo Dec 18 '18 at 0:46
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No, you can't make a tree grow in a turbo charged fashion - each type of tree has its own genetic code that dictates how fast it will grow. The only thing you can do is ensure the tree you grow has absolutely optimum conditions to allow it to grow at its fastest rate, so things like making sure the tree you choose is suitable for your climate, soil and local conditions, keeping the soil in good condition with the application of composted materials as a mulch, watering when necessary. Unfortunately, permanently optimal conditions aren't something you can always guarantee for various reasons beyond your control, such as the weather and infestation/infection. Whatever you do though, something like a Eucalyptus gunnii will always grow much faster than, say, a Ginkgo biloba.

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