To prevent prying eyes from intruding on your solitude, nothing says “KEEP OUT” quite like a tall gaudy fence in your backyard.
But when you’re looking for privacy without intimidating bulk, design, or drawing too much ire from your neighbors, privacy trees can give you the cover you’re looking for with the added eye-pleasing beauty that both you and your neighbors can benefit from.
Using trees as a natural privacy shield is an excellent option for the yards of your home or business. Yet, many people see tree growth time as a significant drawback (unless they buy privacy trees at full size).
However, there’s a multitude of fast-growing options for those home and property owners that are willing to wait a short amount of time.
Not sure which trees will make for the best privacy screens? Don’t worry. We’ve done the research for you. We’ve found five super fast-growing trees that can give you privacy in the least amount of time.
Better yet, these are trees who’s looks can really complement your backyard.
You Won’t Be Waiting Long for Privacy with these Fast Growing Trees
Leyland Cypress trees land at the top of the list. If privacy is your primary goal, then the Leyland Cypress is the privacy tree for you.
Other than providing a screen against unwanted attention, these trees provide a great backdrop that’s pleasing to the eye.
The Leyland Cypress is an evergreen tree that grows quickly but is also quite hardy and sturdy. When grown in a row together, these trees do a great job blocking the wind, excess sun, and uninvited eyes. This tree has a conical yet feathery shape, excellent for blocking intrusions from above, as well as below.
Their speedy growth rate, allowing for quicker privacy protection, is why many choose this tree. Leyland’s will grow between 2 – 5 feet per year, depending on zone, reach between 40 – 70 feet tall and between 8 – 12 feet in diameter.
The Leyland Cypress does best in USDA hardiness zones 6 – 10. It can sustain freezing temperatures down to -10 degrees Fahrenheit, making it an ideal tree for many regions.
Leyland’s prefer at least 6 hours of full sun per day. When first planted, these trees need at least an inch of water per week. But the Leyland is drought-tolerant, allowing it to withstand harsher dryer conditions with minimal watering.
Nellie Stevens Holly
Most people associate holly trees with the holiday season, with their green leaves and bright red berries. Some might not know that hollies, especially Nellie Stevens Holly trees, are great privacy trees.
The stand-out feature of the Nellie Stevens Holly tree, besides its impressive growth rate, is its prickly leaves which deter hungry pests, such as deer. But apart from deterring unwanted animal and insect guests, these hollies add a lovely jolt of color to your outdoor space, as long as both a male and female tree are planted within the vicinity of each other.
The Nellie Stevens Holly was adapted from the holly shrub, making it ideal for small to mid-size yards alike.
Landscapers love using Nellies Stevens Hollies to line the perimeter of a backyard to create a natural privacy screen. And while other evergreen trees tend to turn brown in the summer, these hollies stay green year-round.
Living up to the “super-fast” growth category, these hollies gain about 5 feet each year, growing to heights between 15 – 25 feet and about 10 feet in diameter. This hardy tree grows best in zones 6 – 9. Though most can tolerate a little more shade, these hollies prefer full sun to partial shade.
Hollies should be planted in moist soil that drains well. At first, you’ll need to water your hollies every week for about six months. After that, these privacy trees can be watered sparingly.
Thuja Green Giant
Akin to the Leyland Cypress, the Thuja Green Giant (also referred to as Arborvitaes) is another coniferous evergreen option for your property’s privacy.
As opposed to the Leyland’s blue hues and scaly needles, Thuja’s have a similar feathery look but with softer bristles. This makes Thujas ideal for families, domestic animals, or any activity that’s likely to fill up your yard.
Though softer to the touch, Thuja’s grow up to 20 – 60 feet high and about 15 feet wide. However, they quickly sprout throughout the year with an average growth rate of 3 – 5 feet per year.
Thuja’s are loved for their vibrant colors and unique frond patterns. Their shape is similar to the Leyland’s pyramidal Christmas tree-like form. Thuja’s coniferous foliage is great for limiting wind and noisy neighbors.
Thanks to their low maintenance, Thuja’s are an excellent option for novice gardeners. They grow well in zones 5 – 9 and love the full sun–though they also tolerate shade. Watering often and regularly for the first few months is extremely important to establishing a Thuja.
Bamboo is, without a doubt, one of the fastest-growing privacy screen options.
When growing bamboo for your privacy, it’s important to make the distinction between bamboo’s two classifications: invasive and non-invasive.
Invasive bamboo is not recommended for privacy screens or any general planting. Though it grows quickly, it gets out of control fast and will take over your yard and, most likely, your neighbor’s yard.
Non-invasive bamboo is referred to as “clumping bamboo.” As the name suggests, this type of bamboo grows in clumps that can reach up to 5 feet in diameter. The height of this bamboo can vary, with some reaching 20 – 30 feet in the short span of 3 years.
Though classified as a grass, bamboo is also considered to be an excellent privacy tree option because of the coniferous foliage that sprouts on top.
If you’re looking for the best bamboo privacy option, “multiplex” bamboo might be right for you. It has a growth rate of 10+ feet per year, making it an ideal privacy option for your yard.
Bamboo is known for its unique, striking appearance. When lined up, it can easily add a natural, modern look to your house or property. Bamboo also comes in a variety of colors ranging from familiar greens to black and golden hues.
Grown in various lighting conditions, bamboo does best in an area that receives full to partial sunlight. If you want your bamboo to grow fast, plant it in full sun. This adaptable privacy tree option can acclimate to any soil. But other than light and location, bamboo only needs about an inch of water per week.
Like the Nellie Stevens Holly, the Silver Maple offers a more traditional tree look with long branches and leaves extending from the trunk. However, like most maple trees, the Silver Maple has large soft, five-pointed leaves. This tree is notorious for its rapid development, making it a viable option among fast-growing privacy trees.
Silver Maples are common in North America. The underside of a Silver Maple leaf gives off a silver hue, giving this variety of maple its “silver” distinction. These large lightweight leaves flutter in the breeze, adding a calming yet wind-reducing feature to your backyard.
These trees grow fast and adapt well to most environments, including urban areas and poorly drained soils.
Silver maples grow rapidly, adding about 2 – 3 feet per year. These trees can get up to 60 feet in height and around 50 feet in diameter, making this an excellent tree for large yards. Because of their speedy growth and volume, it’s best to plant these trees 10 – 20 feet apart.
Silver Maples love hot and dry climates. These trees will become drought tolerant after regular watering for a few years. Because Silver Maples grow fast and sometimes wildly, pruning can help tame the tree and maintain the desired shape for your yard. These Maples aren’t troubled by pests or diseases, which adds to their low maintenance character.
Things to Consider Before Choosing a Privacy Tree
If you’re on the lookout for super fast-growing trees that can give you almost instant privacy, the trees mentioned above offer a fantastic range of options in both look and feel.
If you plan on installing privacy trees, but you’re still unsure about which type of tree to choose, don’t rush. The last thing you want is to plant a tree, allow it to take root, and then change your mind. The wrong tree can cost you time and money.
When debating your options for privacy trees, go back to their purpose. Will they do anything else in your yard besides create a natural barrier? Some might want more out of their trees through color, design, or type.
Also, consider your yard. How big is it? What does your ideal layout look like? Be sure to choose a tree that can set up nicely when planted in a row or pattern. Your yard should be big enough to lay this out evenly and not bunch, or worse, create a noticeable gap.
Regardless of the tree or layout, make sure that whatever you plant, you’re willing to take care of off the bat until these adaptable trees can take over.