Plant screening trees for privacy and beauty

If you’re looking around your yard this season and have decided it’s time to for a little more privacy, right now is the perfect time to plant some screening trees.

There are a few different options, the most common of which is the Emerald Green arborvitae. These trees grow to between 10 and 12 feet tall and three to four feet wide. They require full sun, which is 6 hours or more. Their tall, slender growth makes them great for tight property lines. Plant them on a 3-foot center and at their maturity, they’ll be a nice, solid wall.

The one thing to keep in mind about the Emerald Green is it is not at all deer resistant. If you have a deer issue, you should look at other alternatives, the most popular one being the Green Giant arborvitae. This variety grows much taller and wider than the Emerald Green, and also much faster.

These trees really are giants, growing to be as tall as 30 feet at maturity and 10 to 12 feet wide at their base. If you’re looking for looming trees that will gain height quickly, the Green Giants grow more than three feet a year. They can be side-sheered if you’re concerned about them getting wide, so you can control that growth and just let them get taller.

Evergreen options include the Blue Spruce, Fat Albert Blue Spruce or Baby Blue Spruce, which grow about 20 feet tall and 8 to 10 feet wide at the base. There is also the Vanderwolf Pine, which has a nice steel blue color, softer look, and grows about 15 to 20 feet tall and 8 to 10 feet wide.

You do still need full sun for these trees. If you have a shady area you’re looking to screen, you’ll want to look at evergreens like the Norway spruce. These large growing evergreens get up to 60 to 70 feet tall, so you need a large property for something like that.

There are also upright varieties of Boxwood, Japanese Holly, and a variety of larger growing rhododendron or Mountain Laurel that will offer an intermediate screen of six to eight feet tall and look more natural.

One other option is a Privet Hedge, which is an old-fashioned hedge plant that drops its leaves in the wintertime but can be manicured and hedged and grow as tall and wide as you let it. This one, in particular, is great for our area because it’s very tolerant of seashore conditions.

Make a few choices about the type of living fence you think will be right for your landscape, and you’ll have a beautiful view and a private space that thrives in your yard for years to come.