Huge trees provide shade and scenery, but they don't reach such grand sizes overnight. Trees grow each year in height, diameter and below ground with their root systems. The amount a tree grows each year depends upon the tree's species and environmental factors.
Some trees, such as the empress tree, experience rapid growth, with 10 feet a year or more, while others, like southern magnolias, grow slowly, barely growing one foot annually. The growth also varies based on tree age; newer trees and very old trees grow much more slowly than adolescent trees.
In addition to growing taller each year, trees grow wider. Each year of a tree's life, it produces a new annual ring in the trunk. The ring size depends on whether a tree grew fast or slow, experienced disease, pests or natural disasters or had less food, sunlight or water than other years. Southern magnolias grow .09 inch rings every year under normal circumstances.
The roots of a tree usually form a taproot or fibrous root system. Roots have no fixed growth patterns annually, as environmental conditions affect this. For instance, a tree with plenty of space to grow and good soil will have more root growth each year than a tree in cramped conditions with dry soil.