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Last updated on January 21st, 2020
If you have a large property you are no doubt in need of something you can use to screen out your nearby homes and provide a bit of stunning backdrop. There are plenty of ways that you can create privacy screens or hedges using shrubs and trees. For larger gardens areas, trees can make for very secure privacy screens especially if they come with spikes or dense foliage. Moreover, there are many small trees that offer stunning visual displays and a range of colours beyond just the variety of greens you might get with most Hedges. That said the best trees to use as screening are listed below. You can choose one for a monochrome design or mix and match to add a bit more flourish to your home.
This showy hardy tree is one that spreads quite effectively and if not pruned it will reach heights and spreads of up to 8 meters so it’s something you want to plant in an area that can support a large tree. It blooms with stunning white flowers between May and June and thrives best with full sun or partial shade but does prefer a more sheltered position. It is a flowering tree that is very fragrant and showy and gives off a great deal of winter interest as it is one of the very few evergreen trees available. Moreover, it’s tolerant of air pollution which makes it an ideal tree to plant along a roadside especially as a large privacy screen for the outline of your property.
It’s known for the dark green leaves and the very fragrant flowers that look absolutely stunning. The tree produces a rounded crown and the white flowers give way to cone-like clusters that eventually manifest in the form of fruit. If you’re looking for an evergreen tree, this is well worth considering for all year round screening.
Malus Profusion (Crab apples)
Crab apples are trees that have gained popularity because of the abundance of rich flowers early in the season. It’s an upright deciduous tree and when it grows it takes on a rounded, spreading shape that eventually produces an onslaught of blooms which they are famous for. The blooms start out as redbuds and then as the fragrance around them increases they open to rose pink flowers in small clusters by the middle of spring. Eventually, they produce blood-red fruits that are tiny, approximately 1.5 cm in size by the Autumn which adds another showy feature. You can actually harvest these flowers and use them for jams or jellies. You will have to fight off the local birds though as they love to sit in the tree eat the fruit and remain all winter long.
In terms of foliage don’t think that the flowers are the only thing you have to look forward to. The foliage starts out as a reddish purple during the springtime and as the growing season commences it changes to a bronze green shade eventually assuming amber, orange, red, and yellow tones come autumn. Most people enjoy crab apple because of the fruit they can pick but also because it gives food for the wildlife in your area all season long. It’s also very disease-resistant so there is next to no work that you have to do to maintain this tree as part of your privacy screen making it a good low maintenance choice with minimal pruning.
Betula Utilis Jacquemontii (Silver birch)
Birch trees are award-winning and the Silver Birch even more so for the crisp, white bark that wraps around all of the branches and the trunk and starts to peel off revealing the pale orange colours below. This type of plant offers stunning contrast throughout the year because the leaves begin with rich green and eventually convert to a vibrant golden yellow before they fall off. No matter what time of year you take a look at your silver birch it will absolutely elicit oohs and aahs.
In spring you’ll notice small brown flowers appearing in the large catkins are approximately 15cm in size. The tree itself can span between 9 and 15 meters tall and reach about 10m wide near the top crown once established but we are talking 15 – 20 years. However, it grows very quickly and is a medium-sized deciduous tree. It produces an oval crown on top with branches that ascend which makes it a stunning specimen piece no matter the time of the season but of course can be combined with other trees on this list to create additional privacy throughout the springtime in the summer. Ideally, this tree requires full sun or partial shade and will grow in all manner of soil so long as it’s well drained. You don’t have to prune it but if you choose to you can prune when the plant is dormant to control the size and shape. Aside from that it’s incredibly low-maintenance and requires very little of you.
You can find this in the form of a deciduous or an evergreen tree meaning that its semi-evergreen depending on the location with very simple leaves and clusters of flowers that are white or pink. The flowers come around in the springtime and by summer they result in stunning red, black, or purple berries that are sure to add colour variety to your garden. The semi-evergreen foliage is very bushy and at full maturity can reach a height up to 8 metres and a spread of 8 metres but you can control this and keep it around 4 meters in height and spread if necessary.
It grows best in dryer situations with well-drained soil and exposure to full sunlight. It’s quite drought-resistant and requires very low maintenance once the plant is established which makes it great for any slopes or along the banks of your garden. It will thrive in all manner of soil be it acidic, alkaline, neutral, clay, chalky, sand, or loam-based sand, or loam-based. The berries produced will no doubt attract birds to your garden but the thickness of the tree itself will keep out any prying eyes or larger visitors. This is really a very large bush than a tree but still makes an excellent screen with all year round interest.
Phyllostachys Nigra (Black Bamboo)
Black bamboo is a very exotic form of bamboo that as an Asian look to your garden. The bamboo is very fast growing and it produces upright stems just like any other bamboo. During the second season of growth, those upright stems will convert in colour to black which stands in stunning contrast to the otherwise green foliage. This bamboo uses underground runners to spread very quickly and it can be rather invasive if you don’t contain it. On the other end that quick spreading growth makes it an affordable way to create a privacy screen because you need only plant a few black bamboo plants and then after a few seasons your hedge or privacy screen will have naturally thickened. Animals or anyone else trying to sneak in between will find a very hard time squeezing their way amongst the dense upright stems. Black bamboo requires partial to full sun and needs regular watering so that the soil remains moist. This evergreen bamboo if left unpruned will produce thick clumps of foliage that can reach between 3 and 4 metres in height. Black bamboo is also excellent for growing in containers.
Hornbeam Tree (Carpinus Betulus)
This common hornbeam tree will reach a height between 10 and 12 meters and a spread between 7 and 10 metres so it is a slightly larger tree but nonetheless a stunning way to screen out your neighbours and enjoy a colourful array of privacy. This tree blooms in March and when that time comes you will enjoy yellow or green blooms depending on the male or female variety you have planted.
This tree is very easy to grow if you have well-drained soil and it will thrive in full sun or partial shade. As it starts to grow into the form of a tree it will require a little bit of pruning especially if you want to use it as a privacy screen but if you choose to use it as a hedge you can also do hard pruning here and there and it will return with stunning porosity.
This tree is medium in size and deciduous taking on either an oval rounded crown or a pyramidal crown. The leaves are dark green in colour and sharply tooth. In fact, the leaves can reach up to 12cm in size. One of the more attractive components to this characteristic is the fact that it’s not susceptible to most foliar diseases. After you are done with the dark green rest assured that the foliage will take on a yellow and orange shade, autumn. By Springtime as mentioned the flowering catkins appear followed by small fruit that drops in the summer.
Acer Platanoides ‘Crimson Sentry’
The Crimson Sentry is an upright tree that does quite well in residential areas, especially smaller gardens. If you want to plant a tree but you need a small tree, this is the perfect solution. It is one that grows with dents heavily branch structures. The canopy itself is very compact but very narrow inside of which you will see leaves that take on hues from deep purple all the way to maroon and then eventually to bronze colour, autumn.
It requires full sunlight and regular watering once for the year of planting. On average it will grow up to 6 meters tall and 3 meters wide with an arrow form that makes it ideal for narrow spaces in your garden.
Crataegus Pauls Scarlet (Hawthorn tree)
The Hawthorn tree is a broadleaf tree that is deciduous and grows between 4 and 6 meters. Each of the branches is covered in dense thorns that can reach up to 2.5cm in length. The leaves bring to the table a wonderful level of variety and can be simple and glossy, rounded with four lobes, serrated with different sizes. When the flowers appear the entire tree is covered in scarlet flowers that are small but beautiful converting the entire colour of the tree all at once.
It can also be very successfully cultivated as a hedge but we think it does better left as a tree as you cut the flowering branches off when planted as a hedge. Not only do the flowers and leaves provide a beautiful backdrop for your garden but the thorns make it very difficult for animals or people to sneak by if planted as a hedge. You will enjoy some fruits that attract birds and other animals to your garden which is truly just the icing on the cake.
Eucalyptus Gunnii (Cider Gum)
Referred to as the cider gum, this evergreen tree is one of the fastest growing eucalyptus trees out there and it takes on an upright, cone shape with a dense canopy of leaves. The bark itself is very smooth and it will flake off in large pieces that take on many different colours including brown, cream, and pink. It gives off a sweet fragrance and when it’s younger you’ll notice that it takes on a silver-blue tone but as it gets older it converts itself to a blue-green tone.
Come summertime you can enjoy clusters of small, fluffy, white flowers and the flowers combined with the foliage make it a dramatic specimen tree but it is also very well equipped to provide shade in your garden or to be used as a screen because it is quite fast-growing. At maturity, it can span between 9 and 21 meters with a width between 5 and 12 meters but most specimens we have seen are nowhere near this side. It is also deer resistant which means any garden that would otherwise require a great deal of fencing to protect against local deer can enjoy the eucalyptus with no issues.
Fagus Sylvatica Atropurpurea (Purple beech tree)
This is a deciduous tree that produces rounded, spreading crowns of dense foliage that naturally assumes a pyramid shape. The leaves are elliptical with a coppery shade that eventually turns deep purple. Even in the winter time, it brings forth grey bark which is a stunning addition to any garden but it also keeps its leaves that turn coppery brown before falling in spring as new leaves shoot. Around the middle of springtime, you will notice juxtapose the yellow-green flowers on display followed by the fruits that come fall ripen. This specimen is great for screens, hedges, and especially used in larger landscapes.
At maturity, it will reach up to 18 meters tall and 12 meters wide. It grows best in well-drained soil and thrives in partial shade or full sun and once it’s planted it will convert itself perfectly into a hedge, screen, or you can use it simply as a specimen plant. It’s not subject to any serious diseases or insect problems aside from things like caterpillars and aphids so it’s otherwise very low-maintenance. Perhaps most attractive is the fact that it is deer resistant so anyone with many deer roaming their property will benefit from the purple Beech tree.
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