As the saying goes, great fences make great neighbors. But, few people want to put a 20 foot fence in their yard. That’s where a good tree privacy screen comes in. And when the new nosy neighbor moves in next door, the faster you can get them grown the better.
The Dangers of Fast Growers. Not all fast-growing trees are created equal. A common risk in fast-growers is that they lack the strength to endure bad weather and winds. The wood is weak, they are prone to disease, and they tend to have a short life span. For this reason, one must be cautious in their choice of trees.
Consider an Evergreen for a Privacy Screen. In the Harford/Baltimore counties, we are in the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 7a or 6b, depending on how far north you are. So be sure to select a tree that grows in your zone while having the look you like.
These are a very popular choice for privacy screens for obvious reasons. For one their thick needle foliage is hard to see through. And secondly, they stay green all year round. Two popular evergreens are the Eastern white pine, Green giant arborvitae, and the Leyland cypress.
Eastern white pine. These trees reach 30-40 feet in height and can be as wide as 12 feet in spread. These are relatively easy to grow, particularly in more rural areas. They have susceptibility to salt spray, ice damage, winter burn and white pine decline (discoloration and browning of needles). But overall they are a good choice for privacy screens.
Green giant arborvitae. These trees are an excellent, easy to grown and maintain tree. The arborvitae does not need to be pruned unless you want to shape them. They grow 3-5 feet per year and can reach to 60 feet tall and 15 feet wide. The best way to plant these trees is in a single or double row, staggering the rows to fill in gaps between the trees. This tree is the leading choice for privacy screens.
Leyland cypress. These are very popular trees for privacy screens because they grow extraordinarily fast. They can reach heights above 60 feet and grow to a width of 20 feet. They are very low maintenance and tolerant of a variety of weather conditions. The problem with Leyland cypress is that they are very prone to disease and bag worms. They also have relatively short life spans of as little as ten years. So if you need an instant screen, this is a good choice for you, but don’t expect it to survive into the long term.
Have more questions about establishing privacy screens, or managing other trees on your property?
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