just reading up on the Kentucky coffee tree and ordered some seeds. I'm finding some conflicting info on growth rate. anything from slow to fast... hard to say there's info that agrees with eachother
I have one, I planted because everyone says how they are underused and a native and should be planted. Let's just say I put one in, and uhm.........it's a tree. LOL. I can only tell you about mine and its rate of growth. Our arboretum has scads of them, but I don't know their age. I have lost track of when mine was planted, but it's a pretty good size now, and I'd estimate it's been in around fifteen years perhaps a couple more. It has easily put out a foot and a half a year, but I think we hit it spot on with site selection, although it gets wet feet when our spring house overflows a couple times a year. It has tolerated it respectfully. I'd call its growth rate moderate and depended on siting it well.
The good thing is most of the info on it is pretty sound. The only thing I am having problems finding is reliable info on growth rate.
The only info I can find is close to what you say: "roughly a foot a year", but there are some people saying its reached over twenty feet tall in ten years..... At the same time I have read that site conditions really can make or break growth. On shallow dry soils it apparently grows shorter wider and slower. On its prefered habitat (floodplains, which is why it can take wet feet in your yard) they grow taller more narrow and faster..... Maybe I just answered my own question? lol
I also found a picture online showing an 8 week old seedling roughly 2 feet tall. Some sources state that it grows really fast when young then slows down with age (sortve like hickory).... As you can see, I am a bit confused by sources which are pretty legit and reliable.... usually...
Growth rates are, at best, some average expected rate, given average to good conditions in some typical climate in which a tree grows. One would expect different figures from sources with different conditions, or in different parts of the country, etc. You might compare the location of different sources to their growth rate estimates, but even that would be tricky since their data might or might not be local. This species will grow in a relatively wide range of climates and conditions.
I have three specimens of this species, as well as three Gymnocladus chinensis. So far, the G. dioicus seem to grow a little faster. I would call their growth rate moderate, for whatever that's worth.
==>>> yes.. you did ...
how any given plant does ... in your little slice of heaven .. in your soil .. in your climate.. in your sun ... in your microclimate ..... with your winter... is frankly.. unanswerable ... except by your experience.. after the fact ....
i would sum up your info ... to think it will grow at least one foot ... with potential of two ...
what more specificity could there be.. with all the unknown variables???
grow the seeds.. have fun .. and if things dont work out in say.. a decade or two.. cut the tree down and get on with life ... just as you would with any underperforming annual or perennial ... too many peeps think that just because its a tree .. its not disposable if things dont work out.. the only real difference is the time scale ...
are you really not going to have fun with a few seeds.. just because in 20 years it might not all work out .... ??? .. i think not.. go for it .. damn the facts and reality .. lol ... eh???
ps: you do know.. that canada is NOT kentucky.. right???? ,,,, lol ... and that most likely.. you wont get coffee off the tree ... NO little cups of tim hortons lattes hanging off the branches in fall .. lol
This post was edited by ken_adrian on Thu, Apr 3, 14 at 11:55
Slow here -- maybe 1.5 ft in a good yr. Still, even small they are handsome foliage plants.
The problem I am having is that usually most sources state a trees growth rate somewhat consistantly. Of course there would be diviations depending on the reasons listed above. I have seen the coffee tree listed as slow, moderate and fast growing.
A foot or two a year does seem relatively consistent with what I have read though, so you can see the confusion. Especially with the pictures showing growth at 8 weeks, showing 18 inches of growth
"...usually most sources state a trees growth rate somewhat consist(e)ntly."
That has not been my experience, especially in regards to trees with a broad range like this one. Some types of trees, that are on one extreme or the other, may have consistent growth rate descriptions, but the majority can vary a lot.
OK.........just checked with my mate, who is a better judge than I on the height of our trees. He says closer to thirty feet tall, and estimates we installed it a little over fifteen years ago. It would have been approximately four to six feet tall when planted, and likely containered. I also didn't give you our geographic location and that would be south eastern Ohio. Brandon has hit on something important and how trees with very broad ranges will show a wider variance in their growth rates. Add to that what you stated in rates also being tied to juvenile vs. mature and site selection. I surely dislike terms for growth rate like moderate, quick etc. it's so subjectively used.
A foot a year is quite slow for a tree. I would say this species is often slow - at least at first - but can sometimes take off, as described above.
So many questions like this end up with "Your mileage may vary". That is why trees and other plants are often cloned in commercial practice, to try and impose some of the predictability and uniformity people hope for.
Tree species do have general, comparative tendencies including growth rates - that is why it is possible for authors to place different species in categories such as slow, moderate, fast and very fast. Individual specimens here and there ending up in tough spots or really good ones, having their annual rates of increase being affected does not change the dominant situation.
My seed-grown Kentucky coffee tree is approaching 12 feet in height after nine years or so. It gets half day sun.
Nice tree but not a speed demon for growth.