Sometimes, you just want a little privacy and a little time and place to be on your own. At the same time, sometimes you want to spruce up your yard with some new trees or shrubs. You can do both at once, with traditional privacy trees. Privacy trees are fast-growing plants that grow tall and full.
The fastest-growing privacy tree is the hybrid poplar. It has a rate of growth of five feet per year. You can use them in the front yard, or any part of the yard, to make your house more secure and more beautiful at the same time.
Of course, there are many fast-growing trees you can use for privacy. The best tree for you mainly depends on the zone where you are. Read on to learn more about the fastest growing privacy trees in the United States, starting with the fastest of all: the hybrid poplar.
The Hybrid Poplar
This tree grows extremely fast—up to five feet per year or more. This makes it the fastest-growing privacy tree around. Its leaves show a silver-green color. As the name implies, these plants are hybrids of many kinds of poplar.
When planting hybrid poplar for use as a privacy tree, consider that it needs six hours of sunlight a day. This means full sun. Of course, this means the tree will also give you shade, not just privacy. As for soil preference, hybrid poplar grows best in acidic, alkaline, and wet soils.
As a privacy tree, this is a good one if you want to set it up quickly. In just a few years, a sapling will grow to be a large tree that will suit your needs. The hybrid poplar is also America’s most often used ornamental tree, making it one of the most popular trees in the United States.
With the hybrid poplar, you also get the added bonus of wildlife, like deer and rabbits, who love to visit these trees.
Other Fast-Growing Privacy Trees
Other popular fast growing privacy trees are:
- Leyland cypress
- Green giant arborvitae
- Silver Maple
- Eastern white pine
Each of these trees grows at a rate of two feet per year, putting these plants in a three-way tie for second place. If you prefer to stick with evergreens, then eastern white pine, which also grows at two feet per year, and green giant arborvitae are the best bets.
Like a cross between the Monterey cypress and the Nootka false cypress, this tree will grow to be about 70 feet tall with a spread of approximately 15 feet. With a reddish-brown bark and gray-green foliage, this makes a great privacy tree, or even hedge if you want to prune it short.
The Leyland cypress works well with the hybrid poplar. It has a wider range of soil preferences for growth. It is hardy in clay, loam, moist, sandy, acidic, and alkaline soils.
You will not find much wildlife in your Leyland cypress, but birds will love to spend winter in your trees.
Green Giant Arborvitae
Another tree that grows two or more feet per year, the green giant arborvitae, also works well with the Leyland cypress and the hybrid poplar. Growing to a final height of 50 to 60 feet, the tree will spread from 12 to 20 feet. This is a big tree which will give you incredible privacy.
The tree works best in full sun or partial shade. In other words, it needs at least four hours of direct sunlight at a minimum. As for soil, it will grow just about anywhere, except poorly drained and wet soil. Keep in mind the plant is sensitive to salt. However, it does withstand ice and snow, so it can be used throughout its range.
It is easy to maintain, so little pruning or cutting is needed. You can also grow it from cuttings, as it is a tree in the public domain.
The silver maple is a tree that will grow to 50 to 80 feet high when fully grown, with a spread of 35 to 50 feet. It will also grow two or more feet per year. This tree will grow nicely in most of the country, so people just about everywhere will be able to use silver maple as a privacy tree.
It needs at least four hours of direct sunlight, so it works best in full sun and partial shade. The tree can grow in almost any soil, but it grows best in deep, moist, acidic soil. It is also a good tree for areas that experience drought or flooding.
It should be noted that while the silver maple is a good privacy tree, it does tend to be prone to limb breakage. Because of its massive root system and trunk, you should not plant them too close to sidewalks, foundations, or sewer lines.
If you do grow silver maple, you will find ducks and other birds nesting in the tree’s domain. Watch out if you have beavers in the area, as they will eat your trees.
Eastern White Pine
Another two-feet-per-year tree, the eastern white pine will grow, at maturity, to be between 50 to 80 feet. It has a spread of 20 to 40 feet, keeping it right in line with the other privacy trees.
Similar to the other trees, the eastern white pine prefers full or partial sunlight for at least four hours a day. Soil preference is everything from rocky ridges or bogs to acidic soil. However, the best soil for this tree is moist, neutral soil.
Wildlife will range from black bears to beavers to mice. Eastern white pine is popular with all kinds of animals, so if you use it for a privacy tree, keep an eye out.
What Sets Privacy Trees Apart?
When considering whether to start planting a privacy tree, think about what a privacy tree is. They have certain characteristics that other trees will not have. The following are things to look out for. A privacy tree is a fast-growing tree. Privacy trees:
- Are tall and skinny
- Have dense branching
- Prevent neighbors from looking at your yard, block the outside view, and help cut down on noise
- Will make your yard look good for decades to come
Privacy trees will hinder the view from the neighbor’s window while making a good enhancement to your landscape. If your neighbors cannot see what you are doing, you can give them nice foliage to look at.
Sometimes a privacy tree is not a tree at all, but a hedge. A hedge is a dense row of shrubs or low trees. When thinking about a privacy hedge, look for fast-growing plants that grow to your preferred height.
Popular plants for this purpose are:
- Cherry laurel
If you want privacy but do not want full-grown trees or a fence, then a privacy hedge is a great alternative.
Privacy trees are great additions to any landscaping scheme. They will keep your home private, shady, and cool. There are many options for what trees to use for this purpose. While privacy trees take years to grow, trees like the hybrid poplar grow at a rapid rate of five feet per year.
Before you decide on a privacy tree for your home, take a look at the hardiness zone number for your area, as not all trees will thrive everywhere. Then, start planting, and you will have new privacy trees to enjoy in a matter of a few years.