10 Best Trees for Privacy

best trees for privacy

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Even if you have the nicest neighbors in the neighborhood, it’s still important to create a sense of privacy in your backyard. While you can always rely on wood or metal fencing to get the job done, planting tall, fast-growing trees is a much prettier way to fence off your space. When planted close to each other, evergreen trees, cypresses, flowering trees and other varieties create a lush green fence – a living wall, if you will – to separate your property from that. from your neighbor.

When selecting trees for privacy, determine which USDA hardiness zone you live in (find yours here) to ensure the one you select can survive local winters. Then consider the size of your space – small backyards may require a tall, narrow option like an Italian cypress, larger plots of land require trees with a wider span like a weeping willow. Keep in mind that all of the trees on this list grow fairly quickly, some even growing three feet per year until they reach full adult size. For this reason, you’ll want to make sure you prune the trees regularly and space them out to avoid overcrowding.

Now, here are some of the best trees for privacy, along with their growing demands and care instructions.

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Leyland cypress

A few seasons after planting, this bluish green tree will create an all-green fence. When mature and un-pruned, this pyramidal evergreen can reach 70 feet in height. Although they are quite tolerant and low maintenance, they grow best in zones 6 to 10 with partial sun to full sun and well-drained soil.



Italian cypress tree

Known for its long, lean figure, this popular cypress can fit into tight spaces while giving your garden plenty of height. Even though they don’t grow wide, most trees grow up to three feet per year, reaching between 35 and 40 feet in 10 years. They grow best in zones 7-11, so that they can endure drought conditions and thrive fully or partially in the sun (at least four to eight hours of sun per day).



Flowering dogwood tree

White flowers may only appear for a month or two, but the trees provide a beautiful backdrop all year round. Ideal for zones 5-8These low-maintenance beauties also boast bright green leaves in the summer and crimson berries in the fall. Try planting dogwoods in the spring when the soil is moist, so that it has enough time to grow. FYI, it thrives as long as it has partial shade and weekly watering.



Giant green thuja

Easily develop a lush dark green privacy screen. Once established, Thuja Green Giant grows three to five feet each year with just four hours of direct sunlight per day and regular watering for the first six months. It is resistant to most insects and diseases, and thrives best in zones 5-9.



Weeping willow tree

The arching branches of a weeping willow add drama and elegance to any yard, large or small. When they are regularly pruned in their younger years and planted in zones 6-8Weeping willows can grow to 50 feet tall. Plant them in full sun to partial shade and make sure they are watered weekly for the first year of planting, and then as needed in subsequent years of the tree.



Emerald green arborvitae

If your yard is on the smaller side zones 2 to 8, create a privacy screen with these bright greens. They work best in compact spaces as they grow tall, not outdoors, reaching a maximum of 15 feet tall. Just make sure you plant the trees at least three feet apart and in full sun or partial shade. Start by watering it twice a week before reducing to 1 ″ of water each week to about three months.



Cherry blossom tree

Cover your garden with a blanket of pink and white petals. This flowering tree is best suited in zones 5-9, reaching a height and spanning up to 20 feet. It needs at least six hours of direct sunlight a day and well-drained soil to grow and flower.



Nellie Stevens Holly

Technically, it’s a shrub, but the Nellie Stevens Holly peaks, reaching 25 feet as an adult. Unlike some of the other privacy trees on this list, this tolerant shrub stays green all year round, even in the heat of summer. If you live zones 6-9, plant each Nellie Stevens Holly at least five or six feet apart to create a living wall, eventually reaching 15 to 25 feet in height. You can keep their natural pyramid shape (pictured here) or prune them out of a large boxwood hedge.



Thundercloud Plum

Don’t be fooled by the name: this plum tree doesn’t always bear fruit, but has leaves in a similar purple hue. The medium-sized variety reaches a height and spread of around 20 feet as an adult, making it a colorful addition to any garden space. It grows best in zones 5-9 with full sun and regular watering during its first year in the soil.




Another great shrub makes the cut: this evergreen perennial tolerates most conditions, making it a great choice for zones 2 to 10. With full sun in shade and well-drained soil, some varieties can grow up to 20 feet tall and produce small red berries (similar to holly berries).


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