If you’re dreaming of a gorgeous yard enclosed by greenery rather than vinyl, chainlink or wood fencing then you’ll want to consider planting privacy trees or shrubs. There are many privacy trees & shrubs that are fast growing plants for privacy.

When trees and shrubs make up your privacy fence then you can enjoy beautiful fresh green landscaping and if you choose a fast-growing tree or shrub then you can enjoy your private oasis sooner rather than later. Read on for suggestions of what to grow (by zone), the pros and cons of fast growing plants as well as the proper planting procedures to give your plants a healthy start.

Pro’s To Planting Fast Growing Plants for Privacy

Pro's To Planting Fast Growing Plants for Privacy

If you live in a newly constructed home and are starting your landscaping from scratch, or if you’re living in an older home and looking to update the yard, fast growing privacy trees can be a great choice. Fast growing trees mean enjoying shade and beauty years before a slower growing tree would mature, some trees can grow 5-8 feet each year. Fast growing shrubs can reach the same significant heights as trees in very little time, with the popular Arborvitae reaching 3 feet each year until maturity.  Planting fast growing trees and shrubs for privacy is a great way to add beauty, shade and a natural fence in a fraction of the time that you could expect from medium to slow growing trees and shrubs.

Cons to Fast Growing Plants for Privacy

Unfortunately fast growing privacy trees and shrubs do have some drawbacks. While your yard will look beautiful and fully grown very quickly, there is extra care and maintenance for these types of plants. Some fast growing trees will have weaker wood due to their rapid growth, meaning areas with heavy winds or summer storms will deal with broken limbs. Some fast-growing trees grow aggressive root systems that can spread and damage nearby structures and concrete. Fast growing trees and shrubs also require ongoing pruning because many self-seed and spread quickly. For many homeowners who love to garden and work in the yard, the benefit of a natural green privacy fence and the time saved in growth make up for any of the drawbacks.

Fast-Growing Privacy Shrubs (Zones 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10)

  1. North privet (Zones 4-8): A pyramid-shaped shrub with dark, glossy leaves that grows about three feet per year
  2. Forsythia (Zones 5-8): An early-blooming shrub with bright-yellow flowers that grows about two feet per year
  3. 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
  4. Nellie R. Stevens Holly (Zones 6-9): A tall evergreen shrub with vibrant green leaves that can grow up to three feet a year
  5. 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)

  1. Eastern white pine (Zones 3-7): Tall evergreen privacy trees with greenish-blue needles can increase its height by more than three feet each year
  2. Hybrid poplar (Zones 3-9): Shade privacy trees with silvery-green leaves that can grow an astonishing eight feet per year
  3. Silver maple (Zones 3-9): A large shade tree with shimmery silver leaves and wood that grows about two feet per year
  4. Green giant arborvitae (Zones 5-7): A pyramid-shaped evergreen with rich green needles that adds about three feet to its height per year
  5. Leyland cypress (Zones 6-10): A slender evergreen tree that can grow up to four feet per year
  6. Areca palm (Zones 10-11): A tropical palm that grows about two feet a year and tops out around 35 feet tall

How to Plant Privacy Trees or Shrubs from a Container

How to Plant a Tree or Shrub from a Container

If you’re going to spend the time and energy to grow an entire privacy wall or fence then you want to make sure to plant correctly, saving you money in the long-run because your plant will have a better chance of thriving if it’s planted correctly.

  1. Start by digging a whole 3-4 times wider than the container. Your hole should have sloping sides like a bowl to allow for root growth.
  2. Carefully remove the tree from the container without damaging or disturbing the soil around the roots.
  3. If your tree appears to be root-bound (the roots look like they’re about to circle the root ball) then cut an X across the bottom of the root ball with a sharp knife.
  4. Set the tree in the middle of the whole, with the root flare at the base of the trunk sitting slightly above ground level. Using soil, secure the tree in a straight position and fill the hole with the original soil. Gently tap the soil in place to avoid any air pockets and keep the root flare exposed above the soil.
  5. Give the tree a deep watering, building a water-holding basin of raised dirt around the filled-in hole if necessary. Add 2-4 inches of mulch around the tree but not right up against the trunk.
  6. During the first growing season of your newly planted tree keep the soil and mulch around the tree moist but not soggy. In dry hot summer generously water the tree every 7-10 days. Watering from a drip line is the best way to make sure the water goes where it needs to and the tree is watered deeply.

How to Plant a Tree or Shrub from Ball and Burlap

  1. Start by digging a whole 3-4 times wider than the container. Your hole should have sloping sides like a bowl to allow for root growth.
  2. Position the tree in the center of the hole, ensuring the root flare at the base of the trunk will sit slightly above ground level. Once tree is in position, use wire cutters to cut vertically up the side of the wire basket and peel it away. Remove all rope and twine from the ball and any nails that hold the burlap together. Pull the burlap back and cut away any loose material — some burlap left under the root ball is fine as long as it is regular burlap that is not treated.
  3. Using soil, secure the tree in a straight position and fill the hole with the original soil. Gently tap the soil in place to avoid any air pockets and keep the root flare exposed above the soil.
  4. Give the tree a deep watering, building a water-holding basin of raised dirt around the filled-in hole if necessary. Add 2-4 inches of mulch around the tree but not right up against the trunk.
  5. During the first growing season of your newly planted tree keep the soil and mulch around the tree moist but not soggy. In dry hot summer generously water the tree every 7-10 days. Watering from a drip line is the best way to make sure the water goes where it needs to and the tree is watered deeply.

Finally, don’t forget to pay attention to where your fast-growing privacy trees and shrubs will throw their shade. You don’t want to create a wall of shade over your full-sun garden so consider using a different kind of fencing around the garden depending on the sun and the location of your garden.

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