11 Privacy Trees with Pictures & Care Guide

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by Max - last update on November 7, 2020, 8:07 pm
Privacy Trees

If you're looking for solutions to create private space for your home, choosing trees that can block sights, noise is a great idea. These privacy trees have certain traits that make them ideally suited for creating privacy in the garden.

In the article, let's uncover some of the easy privacy trees that you can start planting right away.

1. Sweet Acacia

Sweet Acacia

 

Scientific Name: Acacia farnesiana

USDA Hardiness Zone: 9-11

Mature Size: Up to 20 feet tall

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Water: Average to low moisture needs

Soil: Well-draining

This plant can be grown as a shrub or tree and is native to the southern states of the US, through Central America, and down to South America. It is an evergreen in climates with warm summers, so long as the soil is kept moist. This plant works well as a privacy screen for several reasons.

First of all, it is fast-growing, gaining between two and three feet in height each year until it reaches its eventual height of between 15 and 20 feet. This is great if you have an exposed area of your garden that you'd like to make private because the sweet acacia will fill out a space in just a few years. It also works well for privacy because it has a naturally spreading habit, growing as wide as it is tall, and therefore giving the gardener a large screen. The tree can be grown as a shrub if the suckers are left to grow, and in this instance, it will create a dense thicket that works well for privacy.

The fact that the tree is evergreen also means that privacy will be maintained all year round. The stems are covered with tiny spikes, which also make it a good barrier against potential intruders or trespassers. The tree is very aesthetically appealing and has been cultivated for its ornamental value for centuries. It produces bright green feathery foliage that is reminiscent of a fern. It flowers heavily with clusters of orange-yellow flowers that look like fluffy pom poms. The flowers are very fragrant and are harvested to produce perfumes, especially in Europe.

This tree will adapt to a wide range of soils, including heavy or clay soils, though it performs best in loose, well-draining soils. When young, the tree's roots should not be allowed to dry out, but once mature, it becomes very tolerant of drought. It is low maintenance and easy to care for, though if grown as a hedge will need pruning.


2. Monterey Cypress

Monterey Cypress

 

Scientific Name: Cupressus macrocarpa

USDA Hardiness Zone: 7-11

Mature Size: Up to 70 feet tall

Light: Full sun

Water: Average to low moisture needs

Soil: Well-draining

This is a large, evergreen, coniferous tree, which is native to California. When young, it has a slender pyramid shape but becomes more wide-spreading as it ages. This tree is renowned for being tolerant of high winds, and it is often planted as a barrier against harsh winds and stormy weather. If you live in a coastal region, this tree is great for doing double duty as a privacy screen and a windshield.

This is a fast-growing tree, which makes it ideal for quickly creating a privacy barrier, and can reach eventual heights of around 70 feet. However, there are several cultivars of Monterey cypress that remain smaller in size and can be grown in rows to create privacy hedging. These include 'Goldcrest' and 'Wilma,' which have a more typical final height of between 20 and 40 feet. The tree produces attractive foliage that is a deep, dark green. The bar of the tree has an appealing red-brown color, which is accented by the spherical, shiny brown cones that measure around an inch across.

This is a plant that thrives in full sun and can adapt well to a range of soil conditions. It prefers its soil to be dry to average in terms of moisture. This tree grows easily and needs very little maintenance.


3. American Holly

American Holly

 

Scientific Name: Ilex opaca

USDA Hardiness Zone: 5-9

Mature Size: Up to 30 feet tall

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Water: Maintain moist soil

Soil: Well-draining, acidic

This evergreen tree is native to the central and eastern United States. It forms a naturally beautiful shape of a symmetrical, dense pyramid. As a single specimen, it can make a good privacy screen because it can reach up to 30 feet tall and 20 feet wide. The foliage is packed so densely that when used as a screen, nobody will be able to see through, and the plant all blocks out all light. American holly is popularly grown in rows to create hedging, either heavily pruned as a formal hedge or left to its own devices to form a more casual looking privacy hedge.

This attractive tree produces thick, leather-like leaves, which come to several points with sharp spines. Foliage is a deep, glossy green and contrasts nicely against the vivid red berries that are produced when the flowers from a male holly are cross-pollinated with a female holly. This tree thrives in full sun or partial shade and would prefer afternoon shade if grown in hot summer conditions. It performs best in acidic soil that drains well and is kept from drying out. It needs to be protected from harsh winds.


4. Bay Laurel

Bay Laurel

 

Scientific Name: Laurus nobilis

USDA Hardiness Zone: 8-11

Mature Size: Up to 40 feet tall

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Water: Average moisture needs

Soil: Well-draining, fertile

This evergreen shrub or tree is native to the Mediterranean region. It is prized for its aromatic foliage that can be used in cooking, as well as its attractive appeal that lends it well to many uses. Bay laurel can be grown as a single-stemmed tree by removing suckers and leaving the strongest looking stem to become the central trunk. Alternatively, you can allow the suckers to grow, and the plant will take the shape of a shrub. It naturally grows in a pyramid shape but is popularly used in topiary, as it tolerates pruning well and can be tamed into a variety of shapes. Its slow-growing nature also makes it perfect for topiary, as it holds its pruned shape well for a good amount of time.

The foliage of the bay laurel is dark green with a hint of silver, and leaves have a narrow ovate shape, growing to around four inches in length. The foliage is dense, which makes the tree ideal for using as a privacy screen, both as a tree or as a hedge. The spreading nature of the bay laurel suits it well to use as a privacy screen because it can spread up to 40 feet wide. The fact that this tree grows slowly will mean it takes some time to reach a size that makes it effective at maintaining privacy in the garden, but it is so stunning when mature that it is worth the wait.

The bay laurel flowers in spring, with heavy clusters of tiny yellow blooms. On female plants, flowers are followed by juicy-looking shiny purple berries. The leaves can be picked at any time of year for culinary use, and they store well as dried herbs. This is a long-lived tree that is easy to care for. It thrives in full sun to partial shade and prefers rich soils that are kept moist.


5. Norway Spruce

Norway Spruce

 

Scientific Name: Picea abies

USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-8

Mature Size: Up to 150 feet tall

Light: Full sun

Water: Average moisture needs

Soil: Well-draining, acidic

This tree is an evergreen conifer that is native to Europe. It is sometimes also known by the name of European spruce. It is a fast-growing tree that typically gains around three feet in height each year until it reaches around 70 feet. After that point, its growth begins to slow down. It is not uncommon for this tree to reach eventual heights of over 100 feet, though there are many cultivars and varieties that are much smaller. 'Inversa,' 'Cupressina,' and 'Gold Drift' range in height from 12 to 25 feet, whereas dwarf varieties' Little Gem' and 'Pusch' do not exceed two feet in height. Many of the Norway spruce varieties that produce medium-sized trees are ideal for creating privacy screens.

The trees have very dense foliage and work well when grown in rows to create hedging. Their fast-growing nature means they can quickly add an element of privacy to a garden that is overlooked by neighbors. There are many types of Norway spruce that will grow as wide as they are tall, such as 'Pumila,' which will therefore make a good hedge-like screen.

These trees grow easily and need very little maintenance. They adapt well to a wide range of soil types, making them suitable for planting almost anywhere that drains well. If possible, they do prefer acidic soil that is kept moist, though they are drought tolerant once mature. They perform best in full sun but are not tolerant of heat.


6. American Plum

American Plum

 

Scientific Name: Prunus americana

USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-8

Mature Size: Up to 25 feet tall

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Water: Low to average moisture needs

Soil: Well-draining

This deciduous tree is native to central and eastern North America. It also goes by the common names of 'wild plum,' 'Canada plum,' 'goose plum,' and 'river plum.' It can be grown as a large shrub or a small tree and has a fast-growing nature. To use as a privacy hedge, allow suckers to grow, and the plant will naturally take the shape of a dense thicket. The stems can develop thorns, which also make it suitable for use as a deterrent against intruders.

To grow the American plum as a tree, remove suckers surrounding a central stem, and allow the strongest stem to grow as a trunk. As a tree, the American prune has a wide, spreading crown, growing as wide as it is tall. This makes it excellent for providing privacy in the garden from neighboring properties, blocking their views into your yard from tall windows.

Before the arrival of foliage in spring, dense clusters of tiny white flowers adorn the bare branches of the tree. These progress into red, globe-shaped plums, which are typically ready to harvest in the summer. These are attractive to wildlife as a source of food and can also be used in cooking to create jams and preserves. While the outer skin is quite bitter-tasting, the inner flesh is sweet and juicy.

The tree produces ovate leaves with fine teeth around the margins, in a dark green shade. The leaves develop into warm shades of red and orange in the fall before dropping to the ground. As a deciduous tree, the privacy qualities are reduced in winter when the branches are bare, but if kept as a hedge or thicket, the plant can be so densely branches that it still offers a good degree of privacy. This plant thrives in well-draining soils that are kept quite dry. The greatest abundance of blooms will be produced in full sun, but the tree also performs well in partial shade.


7. Chokecherry

Chokecherry

Scientific Name: Prunus virginiana

USDA Hardiness Zone: 2-7

Mature Size: Up to 30 feet tall

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Water: Low moisture needs

Soil: Well-draining

This deciduous tree is native through northeastern Canada down to the southeastern United States. It can be grown as either a small tree or a large shrub that spreads through suckers. It will typically reach heights of between 20 and 30 feet, with a spread of 20 feet across. This plant can be utilized as an attractive privacy screen as either a tree or a hedge. The flowers of the plant arrive before the foliage, in elongated, slightly drooping clusters of densely packed tiny white and yellow blooms. The leaves of the tree are oval-shaped, with a deep green color on the surface and silver-gray beneath.

By summer, the clusters of flowers have developed to heavy clusters of bright red, glossy berries. These will develop into a dark shade of purple, verging on black, by the end of summer. These berries are popular with wildlife, and though they are not recommended for eating raw because they have a very sour taste, they work well when cooked in jams or pies. These plants are easy to grow, and they will thrive in a wide range of soils, including clay soils. They prefer dry soils and are drought tolerant. The tree will grow well in full sun or partial shade, but best flowering is achieved with more hours of direct sun.


8. Sugar Sumac

Sugar Sumac

Credit to Eugene Zelenko

Scientific Name: Rhus ovata

USDA Hardiness Zone: 7-11

Mature Size: Up to 10 feet tall

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Water: Low moisture needs

Soil: Well-draining

This is an evergreen small tree or shrub that is native to Arizona and California. Also known as 'sugar bush,' this is an attractive plant that is popularly grown as a specimen tree or as a privacy hedge. It takes a naturally rounded shape, maintaining a neat appearance with no pruning necessary. The plant produces red-colored stems that are contrasted by the bright green, ovate leaves, which are curved inwards.

The foliage has a glossy finish, and each leaf typically measures around three inches long. This attractive foliage is reason enough to grow the plant, but female plants will also produce gorgeous clusters of tiny pink flowers at the tips of the branches in spring. These are followed by berries in a dark red color, which is popular with birds and other wildlife.

This spreading plant has a strong root system that makes it well suited for use as erosion control. It grows well in a variety of soil types but cannot tolerate moist or wet soils. Once mature, this plant is extremely tolerant of drought, and it will not need watering at all, instead surviving on rainwater alone.


9. Shiny Xylosma

Shiny Xylosma

Credit to Miwasatoshi

Scientific Name: Xylosma congesta

USDA Hardiness Zone: 9-11

Mature Size: Up to 10 feet tall

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Water: Average moisture needs

Soil: Well-draining, alkaline

This is a beautiful evergreen plant that is native to China and thrives in hot climates. It can be grown as a small tree or a large shrub and works well as a privacy screen when grown as either. This plant has a natural spreading habit that typically sees it grow wider than it is tall, making it great for creating privacy in wide open areas. It will generally reach a maximum height of ten feet, but it can spread as wide as 15 feet. It tolerates pruning well, so it can be shaped into a neat hedge, but it also has a very attractive natural shape if you are fond of more informal privacy screens.

The foliage of this plant is a pretty shade of bronze when it first emerges and develops to bright green with age. This can give the plant an attractive two-tone look with new growth set against old growth. The stems of the plant are purple-red, and sometimes the edges of the leaves are also tinged with the same color. The flowers of the tree are tiny and yellow. They are not considered to be showy, and instead, the plant is grown for its foliage. The flowers may sometimes be followed by berries. Shiny xylosma should be grown in full sun or partial shade and prefers moist and well-draining soils that are alkaline.


10. Red Buckeye

Red Buckeye

 

Scientific Name: Aesculus pavia

USDA Hardiness Zone: 5-9

Mature Size: Up to 15 feet tall

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Water: Average moisture needs

Soil: Well-draining, fertile

This is a deciduous plant native to North America. It can be grown as a shrub or tree and works well as a privacy screen, hedge, or individual specimen. The dense canopy of foliage makes the tree ideal for blocking out neighbors, though it is slow-growing, so it can take some time to become an effective privacy tree.

The flowers of this plant are quite special, arriving in long, erect panicles in spring. The panicles measure around six inches long and are covered in bright red tubular-shaped flowers. These blooms emerging out from the dense foliage give a joyful feel to the plant, making it a very decorative and colorful privacy screen. The plant is deciduous, so it will be bare-branched in the fall, which you may want to consider if you need year-round privacy in the garden.

The foliage, unlike many deciduous plants, does not change color before dropping. All parts of this plant are poisonous, so keep it away from curious pets or young children. It grows well in moist soils, in full sun or partial shade.


11. Big Sagebrush

Big Sagebrush

 

Scientific Name: Artemisia tridentata

USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-9

Mature Size: Up to 15 feet tall

Light: Full sun

Water: Low moisture needs

Soil: Well-draining, rocky, sandy

Also known as common sagebrush, this is an evergreen tree or shrub that is native to western Canada and the United States. It is a densely branched plant that is covered in silky, silver foliage. The foliage is very aromatic, especially when crushed, and can create a very pleasant scent in the garden. The plant can be trained into a hedge, or if allowed to grow as a tree, will have an irregular shaped, somewhat gnarled trunk. It adds texture to the garden, and its dense and spreading habit lends it perfectly to use as a privacy tree or hedge.

It ranges in size from between three and 15 feet tall to a maximum of ten feet wide. It can be pruned to create a neat hedge but works very well in its natural shape. As well as being used for privacy screening, this plant is also commonly used as a form of erosion control and ground cover. It is ideal for growing in rock gardens or dry climates, as it thrives in dry soil and is extremely tolerant of drought.

This plant relies on having a very well-draining soil because it is easily susceptible to root rot in soils that are too moist. Once established, it will not need to be watered, even during summer, and will survive purely on rainfall.

 

11 Privacy Trees with Pictures & Care Guide

 

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