If you live near your neighbors and don’t want to invest in a fence, a privacy shrub or tree may be the solution. Many varieties of shrubs and trees provide complete coverage for your yard or border. Use these fast growing evergreen trees for privacy in your yard.
1. Leyland Cypress Tree
The Leyland Cypress is known for its fast-growing rate and slim shape, as well as for its extremely fast growth rate. Leyland Cypress trees typically grow 3-4 feet taller every year while they are young. They are big plants, reaching 60-70 feet tall at maturity.
Use these privacy trees if you want something with low maintenance. These trees do just fine in full sun and create a privacy screen fit for any space. The branches remain intact during all 12 months of the year.
2. Green Giant Arborvitae
Green Giant Arborvitae (Thuja standishii x plicata ‘Green Giant’) is a very fast-growing evergreen tree. It makes a fantastic privacy screen in your space and provides habitat for birds. It grows 3-4 feet taller yearly and has a mature height of 20 – 40 feet.
Remove the limbs on the bottom third of the trunk to give it a tree form. This should also help with air circulation and disease resistance.
These fast-growing trees are commonly seen in public gardens or wedding venues. They make a great privacy hedge in any garden. They are drought-tolerant and grow in many different soils.
Green Giant Arborvitae can be grown in Zones 5-8. It grows the fastest when planted in full sun.
3. Norway Spruce
Norway Spruce is another classic conifer that grows quickly. They generally grow about 2-3 feet taller every year when they are young, eventually reaching a mature size of 50-70 feet tall.
The Norway spruce is a great windbreaker in a garden or along a yard. Plant this evergreen privacy screen for complete coverage in your yard. The Norway spruce enjoys acidic, loamy, moist, sandy, clay, and well-drained soil. It does well in any planting location. Find this fast-growing evergreen in growing zone 3 – 7.
4. Douglas Fir
Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) is a traditional evergreen tree that naturally has a fast rate of growth when young. In the forest, these trees need to sprout up quickly to establish their spot in the emerging canopy as they compete for light. This can work very well if you’re looking for a tree that will quickly fill in a space.
Douglas Fir trees can be grown in Zones 4-6, making them a great option for those in cooler climates. At maturity, they usually reach about 60 feet but can grow much taller than than if they have the space, sunlight, and moisture.
5. Emerald Green Arborvitae
Emerald Green Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis ‘Smaragd’) is a fabulous, resilient evergreen that is drought resistant and can tolerate all sorts of temperatures. It is kind of like a shorter version of ‘Green Giant’. This arborvitae cultivar grows 1-2 feet per year to reach a mature height of 10-15 feet.
While it’s not as quick-growing as ‘Green Giant’, its more manageable size makes it a better choice for planting in small spaces. You can also use it for formal topiaries, which, while they’re not the most low-maintenance evergreens, can certainly be showstopping at a front entrance.
Emerald Green Arborvitae can be grown in Zones 4-8. The growth rate will be the fastest when the plant receives 6-8 hours of direct sunlight each day.
6. Eastern White Pine
Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus) is a classic evergreen tree that grows fast. This species can grow 2-3 feet taller each year in good conditions. The growth rate typically slows as it reaches a mature size of 60-80 feet tall.
These trees have soft blue-green needles throughout the branches. These do a fantastic job of blocking wind and tie into any landscape very well. The blue-green foliage looks great year-round.
7. Eastern Red Cedar
These fast-growing evergreen trees for privacy are pyramid shaped and grow in hardiness zones 2-9. The deep green foliage is a lovely addition to the garden. Like arborvitae, these plants aren’t true cedars in the botanical sense (although they can fulfill many of the same purposes). Eastern Redcedar is actually a species of Juniper (Juniperus virginiana).
Eastern Red Cedars typically grow 1-2 feet per year. These trees grow to be about 40 to 50 feet tall. Once mature, they are also anywhere from 8 to 20 inches wide. Plant trees like this with plenty of space between them to allow them to grow over the years.
The leaves on this plant are a glossy-green and beautiful in any garden. It is also insect-resistant and serves as a very tall privacy tree. The plant requires little to no attention, making a wonderful evergreen tree for your property.
8. Lawson Cypress
This unique tree (or very large shrub) looks extremely fluffy when taken care of. Several of these create the perfect privacy screen for your yard or garden. This evergreen tree has blue-green foliage and is drought-tolerant.
These are some of the fastest-growing evergreen trees for privacy. They provide a screen that is up to 20 feet tall. Limb up the tree by removing the bottom branches to make it into a tree-form plant rather than a shrub.
9. Italian Cypress
These extremely skinny trees make a wonderful privacy screen along your driveway or backyard. Italian Cypress trees grow about 2-3 feet taller per year until they reach mature size.
The Italian cypress trees love moist soil and grow up to 50 feet tall. Their compact shape makes them perfect for tight spaces. Growing evergreen trees like this are simple and don’t require much attention. Use deciduous trees like this in your garden or yard for great privacy.
10. Bald Cypress
Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum) is medium-fast growing evergreen that can be grown as far south as Zone 10 and as far north as Zone 4. As natural swamp trees, these plants are also adaptable to intermittent flooding, making them excellent evergreens to plant in wet soil.
This evergreen tree is commonly seen in swamps but makes a great privacy screen in the yard as long as it gets enough water. Plant this tree in rich, slightly acidic soil and use it for privacy in large yards.
They grow about 1-2 feet each year. These tall privacy trees grow to about 70 feet tall. Planting this type of tree will provide tons of shade in your space once its been in the ground for a few years.
11. Nellie Stevens Holly
The thick branches of the holly trees and shrubs are perfect for privacy screens in your yard. While they typically grow into a large shrubs, these plants can be trained into a small tree shape.
While some holly plants are slow-growing, this particular cultivar (‘Nellie Stevens’) can grow 2-3 feet taller yearly in good conditions. Mature plants are usually 15-20 feet tall with a canopy width of 8-12 feet.
The dark green foliage blocks out anything beyond. This fast-growing tree is perfect for any yard or garden. You can plant them every 5 feet to create a dense prickly hedge.
12. Murray Cypress
Plant the Murray cypress (Cupressus x leylandii ‘Murray’) in your garden for full coverage along a back border. It’s great for any outdoor space and is extremely fast-growing. They can grow 3-4 feet taller each year while they are young.
This tree loves well-drained soil and full sun (and will grow much faster in these conditions). It grows to a mature height of 30 to 50 feet tall. It is one of the fastest-growing trees on this list. The needles are emerald green in color and love full sun or partial shade.
13. Japanese Cedar
Japanese Cedar (Cryptomeria japonica) is a specialty evergreen with a medium to fast rate of growth. Most cultivars reach 30-50 feet tall, but there are smaller dwarf varieties like ‘Chapel View’ that usually top out at under 10 feet tall. The dwarf varieties grow about a foot a year, but the larger ones can grow 3 feet yearly.
The pyramid or cone shape of this tree provides great coverage in your yard. It has dense branching and reaches heights up to 60 feet tall. This plant enjoys full sun or partial sunlight and prefers well-drained soil that is on the acidic side. Find these trees in hardiness zones 6-8.
14. Blue spruce
Full sized blue spruce trees are medium-fast growers when young and are also very popular in large scale landscapes. They grow about 1-3 feet per year while young, reaching a mature height of 50-I 70 feet tall (and can grow much taller in the wild).
These cold-hardy trees thrive in Zones 2-7, making them perfect for areas with harsh, chilly winters. Just be sure to plant them in a spot where they receive a minimum of 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily. Planting them in the shade will lead to much slower growth.
Beware that compact and dwarf cultivars tend to grow under a foot per year, so only choose those if you need a plant that is small when it is fully grown.
15. Taylor Juniper
Taylor Juniper (Juniperus virginiana ‘Taylor’) is a specialty skinny juniper tree. These unique plants grow to reach 20-24 feet tall but only 2-3 feet wide. They grow about 1-2 feet taller every year. These plants are of the same species as Eastern Red Cedars (hence a similar growth rate).
The juniper tree has dark green foliage year-round and does well to hide an unsightly view. They thrive in full sun and can grow in many types of soil. A juniper bush or shrub is drought tolerant and doesn’t require much attention once planted.
Taylor Juniper can be grown in Zones 3-9.
16. Spartan Juniper
Spartan Juniper (Juniperus chinensis ‘Spartan’) is a quick-growing landscaping shrub that grows large enough to be used as a small tree. By removing the branches off the bottom third of the trunk, this quick-grower can fill out a space quite nicely in very little time.
Spartan Junipers typically grow 1-2 feet per year. They reach a mature height of 15-18 feet tall and only about 4-5 feet wide at the base. This plant can be grown in Zones 4-9.
17. False Cypress
The false cypress is a fast-growing evergreen tree that nicely blocks your neighbor’s house from view. Planted close together, you won’t be able to see anything beyond them. This plant prefers full sun or partial sun. They grow up to 10 feet tall and 6 feet wide, typically putting on about 1-2 feet of height each year.
Use these fast-growing privacy trees in your yard to block unwanted sights from view or to keep nosy neighbors out. These large trees do well in well-drained soil and full sun, giving you plenty of options. They are all simple to care for and require little to no maintenance. Get back to enjoying your privacy!
More options for fast-growing evergreen trees for privacy
- Euonymus: Low-Maintenance Evergreen Plants For Ornamental Landscaping
- Emerald Green Arborvitae spacing for vigorous growth
- Choosing evergreens for your landscape, University of Minnesota Extension
- Growth Rates of Common Tree Species in Westminster, Colorado, Colorado State Forest Service