Although many of your clients might be looking for privacy, not everyone is keen on fences. Some people feel as though a fence really boxes them in or detracts from the overall look of the landscape. For these clients, privacy trees can be a great choice.
According to The Davey Institute, the research and development division of The Davey Tree Expert Company privacy trees give you the best of both worlds. Your clients can have fresh, green landscaping but still create some screening so that they don’t feel on view every time they’re outside.
Of course, trees won’t give instant screening power like fences. They'll need some time to grow. That’s why your clients are likely to be interested in fast-growing varieties.
What trees make a good choice for privacy?
Evergreens are one of the most common privacy tree choices due to their dense foliage and ability to grow quickly. But they’re not your only option. In terms of which trees tend to grow the fastest, The Davey Institute says that the Hybrid Poplar tops the list. It can grow upwards of five feet per year.
The Leyland cypress, green giant arborvitae, and silver maple are all close seconds. These trees add around two feet of height each year.
But according to The Davey Institute, it’s important to know that fast-growing trees and shrubs do tend to have weaker wood that is more prone to breakage and can be attacked by insects and diseases. They will also require more frequent pruning to keep them under control and help them grow stronger.
The Davey Institute put together the following guide on privacy choices based on hardiness zones.
FAST-GROWING PRIVACY SHRUBS (ZONES 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, AND 10)
- North privet (Zones 4-8): A pyramid-shaped shrub with dark, glossy leaves that grows about three feet per year
- Forsythia (Zones 5-8): An early-blooming shrub with bright yellow flowers that grows about two feet per year
- Glossy Abelia (Zones 6-9): A rounded shrub with white spring flowers and purple fall leaves that can grow up to two feet a year
- Nellie R. Stevens Holly (Zones 6-9): A tall evergreen shrub with vibrant green leaves that can grow up to three feet a year
- Wax myrtle (Zones 7-11): An olive-green bush that usually adds about a foot each year in height and can reach a mature height of 20 feet
FAST-GROWING PRIVACY TREES (ZONES 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, AND 11)
- Eastern white pine (Zones 3-7): A tall evergreen tree with greenish-blue needles that can increase its height by more than three feet each year
- Hybrid poplar (Zones 3-9): A shade tree with silvery-green leaves that can grow an astonishing eight feet per year
- Silver maple (Zones 3-9): A large shade tree with shimmery silver leaves and wood that grows about two feet per year
- Green giant arborvitae (Zones 5-7): A pyramid-shaped evergreen with rich green needles that adds about three feet to its height per year
- Dawn redwood (Zones 5-8): A low-maintenance shade tree that's good for large landscapes and grows more than two feet each year
- Leyland cypress (Zones 6-10): A slender evergreen tree that can grow up to four feet per year
- Areca palm (Zones 10-11): A tropical palm that grows about two feet a year and tops out around 35 feet tall