17 Best Trees for Privacy Screen That Grow Fast (2023)

Looking for the best trees for privacy screen?

Let me just say, you’ve come to the right place. In today’s article, I’m going to share 17 of the very best trees for a privacy screen.

While there may be an overlap, I have focused largely on the fastest growing evergreen trees.

Whether you’re experienced in landscaping matters or a total newbie, there are several factors to consider when deciding the best trees for privacy.

The first consideration is the aesthetic and cultural conditions. Choose plants for a particular site based on those factors and you won’t go wrong.

The others include; US hardiness zones, soil types, sunlight requirements, and whether your house is a storey building or not.

Whatever your objectives, expectations, or approach, this list of the best trees for privacy screens will feature the perfect option for you: from the slow, medium, and fastest-growing to dwarf, and tall evergreens trees that you can plant today and instantly create a private environment for your family.

So you can be sure you’ll find exactly the right combination of trees for your landscape project.

Let’s get started:

Best Trees for Privacy that Grow Fast

1. Cryptomeria japonica ‘radicans’

Cryptomeria japonica ‘radicans,’ also commonly known as the Japanese cedar, is a fast-growing tree. The tree grows 2 to 3 feet per year and thrives well in zones 5-9.

The Japanese cedar is categorized as an evergreen conifer and has a columnar to pyramid growth habit.

The low maintenance tree has dense, blue-green, feathery foliage that retains its color in winter with less bronzing than other Japanese cedars. ‘Radicans’ grows 30 to 40 ft. tall and 15 to 20 ft. wide. It is less prone to tip blight and leaf spot but is more susceptible to root rot when young.

Dwarf Japanese cedar cultivars make good rock garden plants.

Best grown in moist, rich, fertile, acidic, well-drained soils in full sun but can tolerate some light shade.

2. Leyland Cypress (x Cupressocyparis leylandii)

Leyland Cypress makes an excellent screening plant so much to its detriment.

Here’s what I mean:

This tree is probably one of the most popular screening plants and as such, it is often planted in unsuitable areas increasing its susceptibility to pests.

(Video) Top 12 Best Fast Growing Shrubs for Privacy 🌿🌸

Other than that, the Leyland cypress is a fast-growing evergreen tree with feathery foliage and a pleasing slender profile.

Plant in mid-fall when the soil is still warm. For optimum and rapid growth, make sure you’re in zones 6-10. Besides, the tree requires full sunlight to partial shade and prefers well-draining soil.

Keep the plants well-watered since they have a relatively shallow root system and avoid sudden temperature fluctuations as much as possible,

If most of these conditions are met, the Leyland cypress will grow to an impressive height of 40-60 feet if not pruned down, with a spread of 15-20 feet.

3. Lawson Cypress (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ‘Ellwoodii’)

Lawson cypress is a highly decorative evergreen shrub tree. It’s also a winner of the prestigious Award of Garden Merit by RHS for its noteworthy qualities.

It’s relatively slow in comparison to Leyland cypress and grows up to 13 – 20 feet tall and 5-8 feet wide.

Lawson cypress performs best in zones 5 to 8 and requires full sun, partial shade, moist, well-draining, and slightly acidic soil

Generally, this tree requires low maintenance since no pruning is even required.

4. Emerald Green Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis ‘Emerald’)

One of the things I love about the Emerald green arborvitae is it does not discolor in winter due to sudden temperature fluctuations.

When you plant them within US zones 3 through to 8 you’ll get one the thickest lush screen of greenery to shield your home from the prying eyes of your neighbors.

The emerald arborvitae grows well in acidic, loamy, rich, sandy, silty loam and well-drained soils. Full sun and partial shade are best for this tree, meaning it prefers a minimum of four hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

The fully mature tree will attain the size of 12-14 feet and 3-4 feet wide. If you want to learn how to successfully grow this beautiful tree, you can get more information by reading this article by the spruce

5. ‘Nellie R. Stevens’ Holly

The Holly tree aka ‘Nellie R. Stevens,' has attractive broadleaf evergreen foliage that has a conical-like shape.

Besides, the leaves are oblong, glossy, dark green, and have spiny margins. Small greenish-white flowers appear in spring but are generally inconspicuous.

Flowers give way to abundant amounts of berry-like bright red fruits which ripen in fall and persist into winter giving your privacy screen an interesting splash of color.

This tree performs well in zones 6-9 and has a better heat tolerance than many of the hollies, and is, therefore, a good selection for hot southern areas.

When mature, the ‘Nellie Stevens tree will attain 15-25 feet in height and spreads 8-12 feet wide. You can prune in winter if necessary.

Grow the trees in organically rich, slightly acidic, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade for the best results.

6. Green Giant Arborvitae

The green giant arborvitae is a great disease-free substitute for Leyland cypress. The tree performs well in zones 5-7 and is the fastest-growing evergreen screen tree attaining 3 feet per year until maturity.

Mature green giant arborvitae grows up to 40-60 feet high and 12-18 wide with size ranging from dwarf to large trees. For a perfect privacy screen, plant 5-6 feet apart.

This tree is best grown in moist, fertile, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade but can tolerate a somewhat wide range of soils and some dry conditions.

For the best results, plant in full sun, but generally appreciates some light afternoon shade in hot summer climates.

7. Goldspire Ginkgo

Ginkgo biloba ‘Goldspire’ is an attractive green, fan-shaped foliage that turns gorgeous golden yellow in fall, coupled with a dense columnar habit, make this variety an excellent tree for privacy screens.

The tree is an easy fit for smaller landscapes, especially those in zones 4-9, and can grow up to just 16 feet tall and only 5-6 feet wide.

Goldspire Ginkgo requires moist, well-drained soil for the best performance. You should prune lightly for the first 3-5 years to help develop its neat, tight form.

8. Flowering Dogwood Tree (Cornus florida)

Of all the best trees for privacy, the Dogwood tree is the most cold-hardy. When you grow it within zones 5-9, the tree produces an abundant display of extra-large, pure white flower bracts. Dogwood trees grow quickly, with a fast rate of over a foot a year.

Like other deciduous trees, the leaves of dogwood are green during summer and change to an attractive reddish-purple during the fall before dropping to the ground.

The flowering dogwood thrives in both sun and shade, making it a great understory tree. But they do best in moist, well-drained, slightly acidic soil that contains organic matter.

For the best performance, plant in spring when the soil is still moist and warm.

9. Weeping Podocarpus (Podocarpus gracilior)

The Weeping Podocarpus is an evergreen tree with a soft, graceful, billowy appearance of bright green new growth, dark green mature leaves, and weeping branch tips.

The tree is relatively slow in terms of growth but can be extremely dense, growing up to 30 to 50 feet in height and 25-35 feet spread especially in zones 9B through 11.

You need to plant these trees in full sun or partial shade. Additionally, this plant will tolerate a wide range of well-draining soils and should be protected from frost where possible.

It is considerably tolerant of dry soils, requiring no irrigation once established.

10. Ilex crenata ‘Sky Pencil’ Holly

Sky Pencil Holly is a popular, versatile evergreen tree. Especially since it can be planted as an accent on the corners of your exterior, or in rows for a narrow hedge, or alone as an ornamental.

You can achieve optimum performance with this tree if you are in USDA Hardiness Zones 5 to 9. A mature sky pencil grows to a height of 8-10-foot-long and 2-foot spread.

Furthermore, you must choose a planting location with ample sunlight and protection from harsh winds.

Although the partial sun is tolerable, we recommend full sun whenever possible. For best-growing results, make sure the soil drains well.

11. Hybrid poplar (Populus deltoides x Populus nigra)

Hybrid poplar is not only one of the best trees for privacy, but the fastest of them all – growing up 5-8 feet a year in zones 3-9.

(Video) 17 Fast-Growing Shrubs For Privacy 🛋️

The tree has silvery-green leaves and a broad shade-tree shape. Usually planted for very fast privacy screens and grows to 40 feet to 50 feet and 30 spread.

Plant the tree in acidic, alkaline, and wet soil ideally in fall. Make sure to provide unfiltered full sunlight each day in addition to mulching to conserve moisture.

12. Spartan Juniper (Juniperus chinensis ‘Spartan’)

Spartan juniper is an evergreen that grows extremely quick especially in zones 5-9 and creates an attractive hedge or screen.

The tree grows to some 15 feet tall but remains slender, between 3 to 5 feet wide.

Spartan trees grow best in full sun and require well-draining soil. If you plant them in wet soil, they will likely develop root rot and die.

13. Hybrid Willow Tree (Salix x matsudana x alba)

Hybrid Willow is one of the best trees for privacy growing in zones 4-9 and reaching a height of 35-45 feet tall when you grow them in a row, 50-75 feet tall when alone, and 5-10 feet wide.

The tree grows up to 6 feet each year, filling out to create a solid green wall. And it's an excellent, trouble-free green screen because it thrives across the country, no matter the climate or conditions.

For an instant privacy screen, plant these trees 5 feet apart. To give the trees a bit more room, plant them 20 to 30 feet apart. You can plant them in a straight line, or two staggered rows.

Plant the willow tree in full sun to partial shade for the best growth performance.

14. Eastern Red cedar (Juniperus virginiana)

Eastern Redcedar is an evergreen tree that may grow 30 to 40 feet tall. The tree has scale-like, closely oppressed, glandular leaves. It makes a perfect privacy screen and is a great choice for shady areas.

This tree is considered the most drought-resistant conifer native to the US. It grows nicely in zones 3-9

You can easily grow in average, dry to moist, well-draining soils under the full sun. The Eastern redcedar will tolerate a wide range of soils and growing conditions, from swamps to dry rocky glades.

Caution:Juniperous virginiana has a high flammability rating and should not be planted within the defensible space of your home.

15. Concolor Fir (Abies concolor)

Concolor fir tree grows at a slow to medium rate, with height increases of anywhere from less than 12" to 24" per year. It grows to a height of 30–50 feet and a spread of about 20 feet at maturity.

The shape, color, and ability to thrive on harsh sites (growing zones 4-7) have made the tree a favorite for urban landscaping. It is also a major component of the Christmas tree industry.

The best growing conditions are full sun and partial shade with the white fir growing well in acidic, loamy, moist, sandy, and well-drained soils.

Lastly, the concolor fir prefers normal moisture but has moderate drought tolerance.

16. Japanese false cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera)

Native to Japan, false cypress is a medium to large evergreen shrub for U.S. zones 4-8 landscapes. In the wild, varieties of false cypress may grow 70 feet tall and 20-30 feet wide.

With a medium growth rate, these false cypress cultivars usually stay dwarf at about 5 feet tall or less.

The small thread-leaf varieties add bright evergreen color and unique texture as foundation plantings, privacy hedges.

(Video) Privacy Hedges: 12 Fast Growing Shrubs for Screening 🌿🌲

The false cypress grows best in full sun but can tolerate light shade. The gold varieties need more sun to develop their color. In cooler climates, they can be prone to winter burn.

The trees grow in most soil types but prefer it to be slightly acidic.

17. Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus)

Eastern White Pine is among the fastest-growing evergreen trees with a growth rate increase of more than 24 feet per year.

The tree is hardy with clustered soft blue-green needles making it an ideal screen or windbreak. Given the right growing conditions (zones 3-8) the tree grows 50-80 feet with 20-40 feet spread in the landscape.

The Eastern pine prefers full sun and partial shade and grows in acidic, moist, well-draining soils. While it does best in moist soil, the tree is known to tolerate everything from dry, rocky ridges to bogs.

<<Shop forhealthy privacy trees online from PlantingTree Garden Center>>

Conclusion

You’ve just gone through a list of the 17 best trees for privacy screen that grow fast.

Admittedly, some are a bit slower but it is always important to have a mixed privacy screen, where multiple species are grouped in small clusters of three or five, either in a single row where space is tight or in an alternately layered planting where possible.

Mixed-species screens help prevent the spread of problems from one plant to the next. Additionally, different growth rates will guarantee a great looking screen throughout the year.

An advantage of several rows of staggered plants is that they can be spaced more widely, allowing for better air circulation, while still achieving a full screen. Good air circulation helps reduce the incidence of disease problems.

Lastly, here are some great takeaways:

- Always plant during the fall (take care of them during winter).

- Plant in raised beds to give them a height head-start (for non-bulky trees).

- Choose the native trees from the list as much as possible

- Choose plants for a particular site based upon cultural conditions and aesthetic considerations.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments section and happy gardening!

(Video) Privacy Trees | Fast Growing Privacy Trees | PlantingTree™

FAQs

What is the fastest growing tree for privacy? ›

What are the fastest-growing trees for privacy? 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 because they add about two feet to their height each year.

What is the cheapest privacy tree to plant? ›

Try Some Inexpensive Evergreens

The Leyland cypress (× Cuprocyparis leylandii) is another fast-growing, inexpensive option that thrives in USDA zones 6 through 10. It is slightly smaller than Thuja 'Green Giant' and reaches up to 50 feet at full maturity with a growth rate of up to 3 feet per year.

What is a pretty fast growing tree? ›

Leyland cypress (Cupressus × leylandii) is a bright green conifer widely used for privacy screens because it's such a fast grower. This upwardly mobile tree can grow 3 to 4 feet per year when it's young, eventually topping out at 60 to 70 feet with a 15- to 25-foot spread.

What is the fastest growing screening plant? ›

Bamboo. Bamboo is one of the fastest-growing plants in the world, so it can create a lush and exotic privacy screen very quickly. Some varieties of bamboo are invasive, so consider picking a slow-spreading, clumping variety, or planting it in large raised planters to keep it under control.

What privacy tree lives the longest? ›

The go-to evergreen for lining a fence, American arborvitae, also known as eastern arborvitae, can live for several hundred years. Most popular varieties mature at 10 to 15 feet, much smaller than in the wild, making them perfect for year-round privacy in evergreen landscaping.

What is the fastest growing evergreen tree for privacy? ›

Thuja Green Giant is the number one choice in Fast-Growing privacy trees. At a rapid growth rate of 3 to 5 feet per year, that is no surprise. For tropical climates, zone 9 and zone 10, Leyland Cypress, Italian Cypress, and Wax Myrtle are the best choices for Fast-Growing privacy.

What evergreen tree grows the fastest? ›

4 Fast-Growing Evergreen Trees
  • Norway Spruce. Picea abies. Norway spruce is a familiar sight in much of the United States, but it's native to Europe. ...
  • Green Giant Arborvitae. Thuja standishii x plicata 'Green' ...
  • Leyland Cypress. x Cupressocyparis leylandii. ...
  • Eastern White Pine. Pinus strobus.
13 Feb 2019

What is the best time of year to plant a tree? ›

Planting in the fall gives trees an extra growing season before the stress of summer. The combination of cooler temperatures and fall rain allows trees to establish their roots, making it easier on them to adjust to extreme heat or drought in the summer.

What are the tall privacy trees called? ›

The most popular privacy trees are Leyland Cypress, Thuja Green Giant Arborvitae, and Italian Cypress but there are many more options to choose from that may be better suited to your region or your yard.

How many privacy trees do I need? ›

You can plant three to four privacy trees per hour, but you should consider the privacy benefit of each individual tree. One of the benefits of planting a row of privacy trees is that it protects your garden year-round. While many Evergreens are deciduous, some have leafy bark all year-round.

What are the top 10 most beautiful trees? ›

The Most Beautiful Trees In The World | Breathtaking Images
  • Rhododendron (Ericaceae) ...
  • Silk Cotton Trees (Ceiba pentandra) ...
  • Southern Live Oak (Quercus virginiana) ...
  • Strangler Fig (Ficus) ...
  • Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) ...
  • Tibetan Cherry Tree (Prunus serrula) ...
  • Wisteria (Fabaceae leguminosae) ...
  • Yucca (Asparagaceae)

What is the coolest looking tree? ›

Here are the 10 coolest trees in the world:
  • Baobab trees. These magical trees are found naturally in dry climates, including Madagascar, Africa, and Australia. ...
  • El Arbol de la Sabina. ...
  • Chapel Tree. ...
  • Socotra Island trees (Dragonblood trees) ...
  • Japanese purple Wisteria. ...
  • Rainbow Eucalyptus. ...
  • Boojum Tree. ...
  • Slope Point Trees.

What is the best tree or bush to plant for a privacy fence? ›

Green Giant Thuja (Arborvitae)

The Green Giant Thuja is widely considered one of the best trees for privacy, making it a fan favorite in many backyards. “Thujas are one of our most popular trees,” says Kantor. “They are extremely fast-growing, provide privacy quickly and are also cold hardy.

What plant grows extremely fast? ›

Bamboo is the fastest-growing plant on Earth. In fact, the Chinese moso bamboo can grow almost a metre in a single day. Bamboo grows in dense forests where little light reaches the ground and there is strong evolutionary pressure to reach the sunlight as quickly as possible.

What tree matures the fastest? ›

The Empress Splendor (botanical name Paulownia fortunei and P. elongata) is the one of the fastest-growing trees in the world. A hardwood, it can grow 10-20 feet in its first year and reaches maturity within 10 years.

What shade tree grows the fastest? ›

Of the 11 listed here, the one that grows the fastest is the weeping willow — it adds about 10 feet to its height each year, topping out at 40 feet. Next in line are the nuttall oak at 4 feet per year, the dawn redwood at 3.5 feet per year, and the tulip poplar at 3 feet per year.

What is the best evergreen for a privacy screen? ›

American Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis) is a fast-growing evergreen hedge with feathery foliage. It grows best in full sun and is very cold hardy. It's a great choice for a privacy hedge. American Arborvitae is hardy in USDA Zones 3-8.

What tree can live up to 1500 years? ›

The story: In eastern California, a Great Basin bristlecone pine known as Methuselah has long been considered Earth's oldest living thing.

What is the prettiest evergreen tree? ›

Magnolia grandiflora is the most beautiful evergreen tree. Erupting in a profusion of blooms in the spring adding beauty and scent, these trees are at their best at the start of spring, heralding the warmer days ahead.

How do I get instant privacy from my Neighbours? ›

13 Ways To Block A Neighbors View
  1. Install A Fence. By erecting a fence around your patio or backyard, you may increase the sense of privacy. ...
  2. Make A Garden Slat Wall. ...
  3. Grow Trees And Shrubs. ...
  4. Add Vines. ...
  5. Use Lattice Screens. ...
  6. Hang Outdoor Curtains.
22 Mar 2022

How can I make my backyard Private cheap? ›

Cheap Backyard Privacy Fence Ideas
  1. Use Super-Sized Planters. Buy several large planters and fill them with tall, decorative grasses or flowers. ...
  2. Plant Trees Along Your Property. ...
  3. Build a Living Wall. ...
  4. Hang Outdoor Curtains Around Your Patio. ...
  5. Buy a Retractable Backyard Screen. ...
  6. Build a Privacy Screen. ...
  7. Put Up a Simple Lattice Fence.
17 Apr 2018

How do you hide unsightly neighbors? ›

Plant trees and shrubs to hide the major view points of a neighbor's ugly house. Trees can grow from under 25 feet tall to well over 50 feet. Shrubs are useful for lower vantage points and can grow up to 8 feet tall. Buy from a nursery to get trees and shrubs that are already well established, as trees grow slowly.

What shrub grows the fastest for privacy? ›

32 Fastest Growing Shrubs and Trees to Grow as Privacy Hedges
  • Skip Laurel Shrub.
  • Waxleaf Privet Hedge.
  • Common Purple Lilac.
  • Lemon Lights Azalea Shrub.
  • Oakleaf Hydrangea Shrub.
  • Gulf Stream Heavenly Bamboo.
  • Lavender Rhododendron Shrub.
  • Arctic Willow.
18 Jul 2022

How long do privacy trees take to grow? ›

Some people are content to wait for 10 years, while others are in a hurry to plant privacy trees. You should choose a tree that will mature quickly and will not take more than three years to reach its full height.

What trees go well together? ›

Trees are often features in gardens & companion planting guilds are usually arranged around trees.
NameGood Companions
HazelnutComfrey, flowers and herbs such as coriander.
MacadamiaClover, chives, nasturtium, comfrey, marigold and other flowers.
OakChantarella mushrooms, blueberries.
OliveHerbs, lavender.
19 more rows

What small trees keep their leaves all year? ›

Small evergreen trees hold their leaves all year, with a few varieties bringing seasonal interest with flowers or berries. Consider Arbutus or Cotoneaster for evergreen foliage with berries and Ceanothus or Magnolia grandiflora for evergreen foliage with flowers.

What tree can be planted close to House? ›

These include willow trees, poplars, cottonwoods, aspens, silver maples, Norway maples, and American elm trees, among others. Smaller trees with shallow roots, however, pose little risk to your home. Japanese maple trees, for instance, are safe to plant relatively close to your house.

What trees roots grow straight down? ›

Sinker roots are much smaller roots which grow straight down from the lateral root system to find nutrients. Some species of trees, like weeping willows, eastern cottonwood, and golden bamboo, have very aggressive lateral root systems.

What is the fastest way to cover a fence with plants? ›

Simply fix wires or trellis to the fence, which climbing plants can use for support, and which you can tie stems into as they grow. Choose fast-growing climbers like Clematis montana, rambling roses and honeysuckle. Annual climbers like morning glory and sweet peas can be grown to fill gaps while the perennials grow.

What is the fastest growing plant to cover a fence? ›

Top 10 Fast Growing Climbers :
  • Clematis Montana – Long Garden Walls.
  • Humulus Lupulus – For Fences (Away from Winds)
  • Lonicera Periclymenum (Honeysuckle) – For Gardens and Walls.
  • Clematis Armandii – Best for Large Walls.
  • Trachelospermum Jasminoides (Star Jasmine) – For Balcony and terrace.
19 Feb 2020

Videos

1. Top 5 Most Popular Privacy Trees | NatureHills.com
(Nature Hills Nursery)
2. How fast do Arborvitae Green Giant fast growing trees grow - 3 month Update
(Backyard Chatter)
3. How To Create A Privacy Hedge
(Urban Farmstead)
4. Nellie Stevens Holly Tree
(FastGrowingTrees.com)
5. *Plant Pine Trees* +Fast Growing Shade Tree Privacy Screen+2017+
(Ty Ty Plant Nursery, LLC)
6. *Red Cedar Tree* +Fast Growing Tree+Grow a Privacy Screen/Fence+
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