One of the quickest and best ways to make a property feel more secluded and private – is to install the fastest growing evergreen shrubs for privacy – and today we’ll show you the 10 best privacy hedges you can install.
The challenge for many homeowners is they believe even the fastest-growing shrubs, can take many years to grow high and dense enough as a hedge to provide a real sense of privacy.
The truth is, however, that If you want the fastest growing hedge possible – one that doesn’t take years and years to mature – there are Many evergreen privacy hedges that can give you backyard privacy almost immediately.
Here are our best picks of the fastest growing evergreen shrubs for privacy you should consider.
Today, we’ll only be looking today at Evergreen’s – Because they stay “green” and provide privacy all-year-round.
We have also categorized each plant listed with its own particular plant hardiness zone. The zone we provide per plant quickly identifies the most suitable area for growing that particular plant – in the United States.
To find the hardiness zone where you live, visit the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone map page.
The Fastest Growing Evergreen Shrubs For Privacy
Wichita Blue Juniper Hedge
A dense, attractive bush, Wichita blue juniper grows at a rate of about one foot each year for the first several years of its life, then settles into a slower growth pattern with age. As a result, the bushes get large enough to provide adequate privacy fairly quickly without becoming unmanageable. This juniper variety is one of the best large bushes for privacy you’ll find, and it thrives in zones 3-7.
When it comes to evergreen shrubs for privacy, few options are better than the arborvitae. With an ability to grow three feet or more each year, all while producing dense foliage – the Arborvitae is considered one of the best plants for privacy you can buy.
This bush can produce amazing results in a very short time. If you don’t already have a wood privacy fence in place, these evergreen shrubs will reach a standard wood privacy fence height – of 6 ft. in about 2 years.
For many people, this arborvitae variety is the obvious answer when wondering what to plant for privacy.
Typically, the Arborvitae hedge does best in zones 3-7.
While technically a tree rather than a shrub, Italian cypress deserves a spot on this list of the best privacy plants – because of its spectacular appearance and fast growth rate.
The Italian Cypress tree can grow up to two feet each year while maintaining a narrow, neat appearance. Beware: If you’re looking for total privacy – you can let it reach its maximum natural height of 40-60 ft!
Plan accordingly – These privacy trees are beautiful (and narrow) so research the spacing requirements for privacy, and understand the maximum overall height before selecting this beautiful privacy hedge tree.
Alternatively, you can clip it when it reaches your desired height.
Italian cypress does best in zones 7-10.
English Holly Hedge
Another one of the best shrubs for privacy fence purposes – is English holly, a beautiful plant that can grow quite quickly under the right conditions. English holly tops out around 15 feet in height, but you can cut it shorter if desired.
The English Holly plant has a somewhat limited range in North America.
English Holly does best in zones 7-9, though it can also extend into zone 6b without much difficulty.
With broad leaves and attractive color patterns, Euonymus makes a great addition to an outdoor space and is one of the best large bushes for privacy.
Depending on the specific variety, Euonymus leaves can range from light green with hints of yellow to dark green – so make sure you select the variety with the color you hope to achieve.
The unique color variations in Euonymus Hedges will allow you some latitude – when it comes to matching these shrubs to the other plants in your yard.
Euonymus does best in zones 5-8.
Skip Laurel Hedge
One of the best plants for privacy from neighbors is the Skip Laurel, a lush bushing evergreen that can grow at rates of up to two feet per year.
Skip laurel can grow to more than 15 feet in height for maximum privacy, but can also be clipped at any height you prefer.
This plant thrives in zones 6-9 and is quite cold resistant.
A perennial favorite among fast-growing privacy shrubs is the Viburnum Tinus bush, sometimes colloquially known as the snowball bush for its spectacular white flowers.
Viburnum Tinus bushes grow between one and two feet each year until they reach a mature size of 6-12ft,
This reasonable but practical height makes them perfect for quickly establishing a manageable privacy screen in your yard.
The one downside of viburnum in America is that it doesn’t have an extensive range for growing in the U.S.
Typically, this plant is recommended for zones 8-10.
With the ability to grow up to two feet each year and produce spectacularly colorful fall berries – the Pyracantha is a rare fast-growing and very attractive privacy hedge plant.
One problem you may have with Pyracantha is that the bush is quite thorny, and cause deep scratches if not wearing protective gloves or clothing when trimming.
Pyrantatha berries are beautiful and have been claimed by some to be poisonous to humans and animals, but this is not a proven fact. However, the consumption of large dosages can cause mild stomach upset.
This plant does well in zones 6-8.
Leyland cypress is an impressively fast-growing tree that can add as much as four feet to its height each year. Leyland cypresses are full-size trees, but they can be trimmed when they reach the desired height.
If you’re looking for a tall privacy hedge in just a couple of years, though, this cypress variety is a difficult one to beat.
Leyland cypresses are rated for zones 6-10.
Wax myrtle is one of the best tall shrubs for privacy, growing up to 12 feet high when mature. The plant also grows relatively quickly and offers dense foliage to keep neighbors and passersby from looking into your yard.
Wax myrtle is very much suited to warmer climates with a recommended range of zone 7b to zone 11.
How to Plant a Privacy Hedge
Now that we’ve highlighted the fastest-growing evergreen shrubs for privacy – Let’s talk about how to plant a privacy hedge.
Step 1 – Measure
Measure the total width of the Privacy hedge you plan to install, and pound stakes at each end. Equally, space the plants within those stakes for the equal distance between each plant.
Step 2 – Dig
Dig a hole at least 18″ deep x 24-28″ wide depending on your plant container size
Step 3 – Compost
Most soils lack proper nutrition and the ability to retain moisture. Add compost inside the hole to help roots spread and grow.
Step 4 – Install Privacy Plants
Place each plant with the ball just above (1-2″) above ground level. Cover with a mixture of fresh topsoil and the original native dirt, and gently tamp down to keep the plant in place, but not compact the roots unnecessarily.
Step 5 – Water the Plants
After your plants are all in the ground, adequately saturate the plant with water, being careful not to wash away any soil. Set up a drip line or other means of irrigation to keep roots moist for the next 7-10 days.
Step 5 – Mulch
Cover top of new privacy “row” with mulch to help retain moisture, and dress up your new privacy hedge. Mulch also provides a natural barrier between the privacy bed and lawn.
Step 6 – Fertilize
Carefully spread a slow-release fertilizer around, but not on, the ball of each privacy plant. This will ensure a steady delivery of nutrients to the plant’s roots.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – Plant Privacy Hedge
There are a few different factors that will impact your plantings, the most notable being the type of shrub you’re using and how quickly you would like to have full privacy.
How for Apart should I Plant Hedges
For something like arborvitae that will grow tall and narrow, you’ll want to plant these 2-3 feet apart to prevent gaps in your privacy screen. Even closer with our 3rd choice – the Italian Cypress which is a very narrow tree which should be planted 2 feet apart.
Bushier plants like laurel or wax myrtle, on the other hand, will expand outward to fill in gaps as they grow taller, allowing you to get away with wider plant spacings.
In almost all cases the recommended spacing for privacy hedges is 2 to 3 feet apart, however, if your less patient and want to see quicker privacy, a spacing of 2 feet apart is recommended.
How Often Should You Trim Privacy Hedges?
Most “leafy hedge” varieties should be trimmed once a year for height, and at least once or twice annually for width. Trimming leafy hedges for width or “on the face” will promote dense growth.
Narrow tall-growing hedges such as arborvitae and cypress, rarely require any trimming, except to remove a dead branch as a result of winter damage.
Use a good- sharp hedge trimmer, and be sure to trim the “face” of the hedges on both sides – This will promote the active growth and density the plant requires, giving you a thicker more private hedge.
How Much Does a Privacy Hedge Cost To Plant?
The other major factor that will determine how you plant your hedge is cost. If money isn’t a problem – buy and plant large evergreen shrubs that have already been allowed to reach 50% or full maturity in a nursery. This approach is excellent if you can afford it since it will give you instant privacy.
For most people, though, buying nearly mature plants will just be too expensive. If possible, try to get plants that have been allowed to grow to at least three or four feet in height. This will give you an excellent jump start on your privacy hedge.
Here’s a fun “How-To” video on how to plant a Privacy Hedge:
Follow these vital steps to establish the best privacy hedge possible, and prevent from having to fill in the gaps later – as you wait for new shrubs to grow.
By selecting the right privacy plant for your climate, these fantastic privacy bushes or shrubs planted correctly, will help you quickly establish a beautiful privacy hedge for your home.
Don’t forget that after selecting one of these recommended best plants for privacy, you’ll need to maintain it properly. Keep new plants lightly watered daily – for the first 2 weeks of growth. Trimming both faces will promote thick dense foliage. Be sure to keep the base of new plants free from debris or trimmed foliage, by using a good leaf blower.
If you don’t care for your plants as they grow, they can become stunted and fail to achieve their maximum potential growth rate. Be sure to check with your local nursery and know the best practices to grow privacy plants before you buy them.
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References & Further Reading
- Balcony Privacy Hedge Ideas – Balconygardenweb.com
- Selecting & Planting Best Hedges – IowaStateUniversity.edu
- 4 Tips for Growing Hedges – Nola.Com
- Top 5 Best Leaf Blowers – Cordless and Electric – Besthomegear.com
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