Trees – The Living Privacy Screen

Trees – The Ideal Privacy Screen

One requirement of landscaping is that it gives you some privacy from the outdoor world. Even if you have a six foot fence around your home, neighbors can still often see right into your yard. There are other issues that make planting a privacy screen desirable; for example, lights shining into your home at night from an outside lamp post. In any case, it’s important to know what trees to plant for that privacy screen.

Check to see how wide the plant grows before planting. In general, trees planted four feet apart make a tight screen. Consider how tightly you need the screen to be.

When planting, make sure the soil is well drained and always use micronutrients or plant starter and soil amendments (like Soil Pep) when planting.

Green Giant Arborvitae (Thuja standishii x plicata)

This is a hardy long lasting evergreen that grows 3-5 feet per year. They are a cedar plant and look somewhat like Junipers only lighter in color and texture.

These plants grow densely and round. They can grow up to fifty feet high. If you want a sturdy tall screen, this plant will do a great job for you.

Arborvitae like well drained soil and full sun.

Another similar option to the Green Giant is the Leyland Cypress.

Lombardy Poplar (Populus nigra ‘Italica’)

Poplar trees have a very different look than the arborvitae. Most people prefer the poplar look when comparing the two. In addition, they are extremely fast growing trees; up to six feet per year.

Why then don’t people always just plant Poplars for a privacy screen? The answer is that Poplars are prone to disease. They get cankers. In addition, they are a short lived tree. They only live around 20 years. Those that live to maturity are usually not looking very good towards the end of their life.

Poplars like well drained soil and full sun.


Bamboo is the fastest growing woody plant in the world. It can grow 3-4 feet in one day. Some Bamboo grows as tall as 75 feet. There are over 1000 varieties so choosing the right Bamboo seems overwhelming. The easy way to decide is to buy the kind that your nursery has at the time.

Clumping Bamboo is slower growing and easier to contain. Taller and more aggressive Bamboo is the running type. Running Bamboo needs to be contained by burying a plastic mechanical barrier into the ground.

Yellow Grove Bamboo is a Bamboo that many people like.

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