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Protect Your Privacy With These Fast-growing Evergreen Trees

Fast-growing Evergreen Trees
If your prying neighbor has got onto your nerves, then one way to reduce the visibility of your house happenings is by planting some fast-growing evergreen trees. These trees are very beneficial because they retain their leaves all the year round. Some of the fast-growing trees are Norway Spruce, Leyland Cypress, etc.
Priya Johnson
Last Updated: Apr 2, 2018
Evergreen trees are those trees that do not shed all their leaves at once. This means they show the presence of leaves all through the year. These trees gradually replace their leaves throughout the year, with newer leaves replacing the older ones. They grow wide and thick and can be the best means of enhancing privacy in the neighborhood. The other kind of trees are deciduous trees, which shed their leaves seasonally. However, such trees fail to provide the much-needed privacy all the year round. This is why evergreen trees are favored when it comes to natural privacy fences.

Besides this, evergreen trees also muffle noises and provide ample amounts of shade, all through the year. Some evergreen trees are strong and able to withstand strong winds, which is why they are often used as windbreakers. Then again, some are chosen for tree-plantation projects. They are also used as Christmas trees.

However, there are quite a few evergreens that take a long time to grow, and waiting for such trees to grow can be quite cumbersome. This is why selecting the fast-growing ones will come in handy. Let's find out more about fast-growing evergreen trees.

Fast-growing Evergreen Trees

Norway Spruce (Picea abies)

  • Native to Europe, this tree is also referred to as the European spruce. However, it has been introduced to the United States and is widely used as an ornamental in Ohio.
  • Norway spruce is the fastest growing of all spruces and grows to a height of 100-140 feet and over 25-40 feet wide. The tallest Norway Spruce recorded as of date was that from Perucica Virgin Forest, Sutjeska National Park, Bosnia-Herzegovina, with a height of 207 feet.
  • On an average this tree grows to a height of 2 to 3 feet per year during the first 25 years of its life, provided the conditions are favorable. Unfavorable conditions curb the growth to a mere one feet a year. The growth slows down once the tree reaches 20 feet in height.
  • It is also highly disease-resistant. The barks of these trees are orange-brown and the leaves are dark green and needle-like. They are conical when young and grow columnar in shape, as they mature. The Norway Spruce looks most attractive during its youth and as the tree gets older, the symmetry in the upper portion of the tree is lost.
  • Since this species can withstand cold climate, it is a favorite fast-growing evergreen tree grown in cold regions. Moreover, their fibrous root system enables them to withstand strong winds, which is why they are often used as windbreakers in windy regions.
  • They are widely grown for timber and paper. They were also commonly used as Christmas trees, however, their inability to hold their needles once they are cut, plummeted their popularity as Christmas trees.
  • Norway Spruce is not meant for smaller yards, and need plenty of room to grow well.
  • Often this pure Norway Spruce is confused with the hybrid Norwegian Spruce (Siberian Spruce and Norway Spruce hybrid).

Leyland Cypress (Cupressus x leylandii)

  • Named after its discoverer, C.J. Leyland, the Leyland Cypress is a hybrid resulting from a cross between Monterey cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa) and Alaska Cedar (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis).
  • They are fast-growing evergreen conifers sought-after for their wood, aesthetic value and wind-breaking capacity. They are also used as Christmas trees.
  • Since these trees grow so thick, they are popularly grouped together and grown to build fences, hedges, screens, windbreakers and walls (best for privacy). They can grow to about 100 feet high and 25 feet wide, at the rate of 3 to 4 feet a year if allowed to grow wild.
  • However, if this tree is allowed to grow wild, structural defects are seen to occur, which eventually shortens its lifespan. Regular pruning is required for improved tree structure.
  • Having said this, excessive pruning can also destroy these trees. Pruning once between the months of May to August is more than sufficient.
  • Leyland Cypress requires adequate sunlight to grow in and lack of it thins its growth. However, it is drought-tolerant and can grow on less nutritious soil too.
  • Their lifespan is only about 20-25 years.
  • Leyland Cypress can be described as 'high maintenance'! Several people get Leyland Cypress for hedging, however, it's important to remember these plants grow really fast and require a lot of time to keep them trimmed. They can grow really fast and owners get overwhelmed. They are best-suited for large commercial establishments or parks.
  • Diseases like Seiridium canker, Botryosphaeria dieback, Cercosporidium needle blight, etc. affect this species, which makes maintenance even more important.

Scotch Pine (Pinus sylvestris L.)

  • Scotch pine or Scots pine, again a native of Europe is an evergreen, fast-growing coniferous tree, whose natural range spreads across the whole of Northern Europe. Scotch pines are believed to be the first conifers to be introduced to North America by European colonists.
  • In Europe, it is commercially grown for its timber, and is also popularly known as 'European Redwood'. However, in the US, it is grown primarily as Christmas trees and for ornamental purposes.
  • Scotch pines grow at a rate of 2-3 feet every year. Under favorable conditions it grows to a height of 120 feet, however, the average height ranges from 60 to 90 feet, with the diameter ranging from 20-40 feet. The average height varies from country to country. In the US, the average height is about 60 feet.
  • These trees are highly adaptive and can even grow in dry soil, but the growth rate is much slower.
  • The lifespan of these trees range from 100 to 300 years. However, the oldest Scotch Pine (in Sweden) is recorded to be around 700 years old.
  • The distinctive feature of this tree is its bright orange, scaly bark that is found mostly on the upper trunk and branches. On the lower portion of the trunk, the bark features a more brownish, dark and hard appearance. The leaves are needle-like, grouped into pairs and blue-green in color. The cones of these trees are hard and dry with scales that feature end wings. Shape is pyramidal when young, but gets irregular as the tree ages.
  • They form ideal windbreakers in areas without Pine Wilt disease.

Argyle Apple Eucalyptus Tree (Eucalyptus cinerea)

  • There are so many species of Eucalyptus trees, which vary in terms of height and width. Almost all species are evergreen, however, a few are also deciduous.
  • The Argyle Apple Eucalyptus tree is a fast-growing evergreen tree that grows well in well-drained soil and full sun. This tree type is native to Australia, but grows very well in the United States.
  • It reaches a height of 15 to 60 feet, with a diameter of about 10 to 35 feet. These trees are drought-tolerant and can even tolerate water-logged areas. They can be pruned and shaped accordingly.
  • These fast-growing trees are mainly grown for their attractive blue-green foliage. The young leaves resemble silver coins, which is why they are also referred to as the silver dollar trees. These leaves are aromatic and emanate a menthol smell. Often florists are seen using these leaves for decorative purposes.

Thuja, the 'Green Giant'

  • Introduced by the US National Arboretum, Thuja, the Green Giant (Arborvitae) is known to be the fastest of all coniferous evergreen trees.
  • It is popularly known for its natural, uniform, pyramidal shape and thick, green foliage.
  • Rare hybrid between the Western Red Cedar and the Thuja Standishii Cedar, these fast-growing evergreen trees are known to adapt to a wide range of soil types. They do well in full as well as partial sunlight and in well-drained soil.
  • Under favorable conditions, they attain a growth of 3-4 feet every year. The Thuja, Green Giant grows to a height of about 25 to 60 feet, with a diameter of 10 to 16 feet. However, it can be pruned and maintained at any height and width. These trees are naturally pyramid-shaped, with thick, green foliage.
  • These trees are popularly used for privacy hedges and even used as ornamental trees. Since they can withstand strong, cold winds, they are also used as windbreakers. Certain parts of this tree have medicinal properties as well.
  • Their foliage experience only slight color change during the winter months.
  • Since these trees are disease-resistant, they can be used in place of the Leyland Cypress.

Cryptomeria Radicans (Cryptomeria japonica 'Radicans')

  • Also referred to as the Japanese Cedar, this tree is known for its thick, dark green foliage, that turns bronze-purple during the cold, winter months.
  • This evergreen conifer is best-suited for privacy hedges, fences and landscaping.
  • Grows well in full sun and well-drained soil, however, is also drought-tolerant. Grows to a height of 40 to 50 feet, with a width of 8 to 15 feet. It grows at the rate of 3 to 5 inches per year. Within the first year of planting itself, it attains a height of 15 feet.
  • They require very little maintenance and pruning, as they have a natural conical or pyramidal shape.
Spartan Juniper (Juniperus chinensis 'Spartan' )

  • A cultivar of Juniperus chinensis, these Spartan Junipers are the most popular of all junipers.
  • Grows to a height of 15 to 20 feet, with a diameter of 5 to 10 feet, and can be even trimmed into a tight spiral, which is great for gardens.
  • Leaves retain their emerald-green color even during the winter months.
  • Its natural pyramidal or columnar shape makes it easier to maintain, without much pruning. However, if a certain shape is desired, it should be pruned annually.
  • Hardiest of all Junipers, with great tolerance towards heat, drought, cold and saline environment. They can also grow along the coast.
  • They are great for privacy hedges, landscaping and can even be used as windbreakers.

Murray x Cypress

  • A variant of the Leyland Cypress, this fast-growing evergreen tree has dark green foliage and is better-suited for wetter soil as compared to the Leyland Cypress.
  • Growing at a rate of three inches per year, this tree reaches a height of about 30 to 50 feet and spreads to about 6 to 12 feet in diameter.
  • Popularly used as Christmas trees and for building privacy hedges.

Gold Medallion Tree (Cassia leptophylla)

  • These fast-growing, semi-evergreen Brazilian trees, are loved for their bright yellow flowers that appear in clusters during the summer months. They are found to adapt well in subtropical areas of the United States.
  • These trees have low water requirement and are heat and drought-tolerant. They grow best under the complete sunlight and need well-drained soil.
  • They attain a height of 20 to 25 feet and spread to 15 to 25 feet in width, making them suitable background trees. Their medium size makes them perfect street trees as well.
  • Often planted as shade trees or ornamental trees because of their bright yellow flower clusters, that make them wonderful to look at.
  • Low, freezing temperatures can damage the tree, however, the tree revives itself when the warmth is back.
  • When young, the tree needs to be pruned, or else their branches will grow wild and droop. The tree can be easily pruned and maintained in a nice umbrella shape. Annual pruning is sufficient during early fall. However, clearing the poisonous seeds of this tree can be a cumbersome task.

Western White Pine (Pinus monticola)

  • Being the state tree of Idaho, the Western White Pine is also referred to as Idaho White Pine.
  • These trees are mostly found at lower elevations, mostly on the drier parts of Vancouver Island.
  • Western White Pines thrive in all sorts of environment and can even grow on nutritionally deficient soil. However, they grow best on well-drained soil and require sunlight for growth.
  • The western white pine is a huge tree which grows in closed groups. It's a tree with open crown and can reach a height of 150 to 190 feet and 6 to 8 feet in diameter. The needle-like slender, straight leaves occur in bunches of five and are soft to touch.
  • A fact to remember is that these trees are susceptible to white pine blister rust, which is a disease that causes various portions of the bark to turn orange and die.
  • Since it has a long trunk, that is free from branches for two-thirds its length, the Western White Pine is treasured for its commercial value. The wood of this tree has fine, straight grain and is perfect for carving, which is why it is widely used to make furniture.
  • The young, tender cones of this tree are often roasted and eaten. Various parts of this tree also have medicinal properties.

Australian Pine (Casuarina equisetifolia L.)

  • Native to Australia and Southeast Asia, Australian pines are not pines, nor are they related to pines.
  •  These fast-growing evergreen trees are huge, vase-shaped trees that attain a height of about 60 to 180 feet, with a diameter ranging from 20 to 40 feet. 
  • These trees do well in any kind of soil, be it sandy, saline, volcanic or even nutritionally deficient soil. They form great windbreakers and help in erosion control. They are also used as firewood.
  • Australian pines are commonly found in Florida and their fast-growing nature has enabled them to establish themselves well, however, this has caused problems in the natural ecosystem. These trees release a herbicide that kills any plant growing close to it. This is not healthy for the ecosystem on the whole. This is why they are listed amongst the 'most invasive plants', by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council.

Arizona Carolina Sapphire Cypress (Arizonica 'Carolina Sapphire' )

  • Cultivar of the Arizona Cypress, this variety was developed by Clemson University.
  • Compared to the Leyland Cypress, these trees grow well on marginal soil.
  • Known to grow really fast, at the rate of 3 to 5 inches every year, till it attains maturity.
  • Grows to a height of 20 to 40 feet, with a diameter of about 10 to 15 feet.
  • Symmetrical, bluish-gray foliage that emanates a lovely fragrance.
  • Widely used as Christmas trees due to their conical shape and thick foliage.
  • Also used for privacy hedges, windbreakers, landscaping, etc.
  • Good drought-tolerance.

Arborvitae Steeplechase (Thuja x 'Steeplechase)

  • This variant is a superior variety of the Thuja, Green Giant and is known to be the best hedging tree available today.
  • Grows to a height of 20 to 30 feet, with a diameter of about 6 to 8 feet.
  • Denser foliage as compared to the Thuja, Green Giant. Foliage color does not change during winter.
  • Grows well under full sun and partial shade.
  • Not only are these trees drought-resistant, but they can also withstand snowy weather. Moreover, they are also deer resistant.
  • Minimum maintenance, due to their natural pyramidal shape.

Irish Mint Cypress (Cupressocyparis leylandii Irish Mint)

  • Known for its feathery branches, thick, mint-green foliage and superior root system, that is strong and well spread out.
  • Maintains its natural pyramidal shape with minimum pruning and shearing.
  • Grows to a height of about 25 to 35 feet, with a width of about 15 to 25 feet.
  • Grows well under full sun, however, can tolerate salt spray and nutritionally deficient soil.
  • Used as Christmas trees and also used for privacy hedges, landscaping and windbreakers.
Some of these evergreen trees make great privacy hedges and will grow in no time, giving you all the privacy you require. Moreover, they will also beautify your yard! Since these trees are fast-growing, you wouldn't have to wait for ages to enjoy their scenic beauty! Some on the other hand are more suitable for tree-plantation projects and landscaping.