Land owners often want to block noise, light, and eye sores from affecting their property, and one of the best ways to accomplish this is with fast-growing privacy trees. There are many species of trees that both grow rapidly and develop a thick foliage capable of blocking out unwanted characteristics of a neighboring property. The most important thing to remember when choosing a fast-growing privacy trees is their cold and warm weather hardiness.
The hardiness of a specific species of fast-growing privacy trees is determined by the hottest and coldest environments in which it can survive. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has developed a detailed map of hardiness zones. These zones range from one to ten for cold weather hardiness, and from one to 12 for hot weather hardiness, with one being the least warm on both scales. A homeowner should always determine which zone he or she lives in prior to planning any yard improvements.
The best fast-growing privacy trees for zones one through four are generally hybrid willows. These trees grow an average of 6 feet (1.8 meters) per year, meaning you won't have to wait long for the “fence” to develop. The hybrid willow is able to thrive in all weather conditions, from zone one to 12 on both hardiness scales, although they are ideal for zones one through four.
A great choice for zones five through seven is the hybrid poplar. This fast-growing privacy tree grows up to 8 feet (2.4 meters) per year and will reach a mature height of 40 to 50 feet (12.2 to 15.24 meters), making it ideal for shading large areas. The hybrid poplar is a more traditional-looking tree with the majority of its foliage developing in the upper half.
For zones eight through 12, the leyland cypress is an exceptional choice due to its hot weather and drought resistance. This tree species will grow an average of 4 feet (1.22 meters) per year, and keeps a lush green foliage year round. The leyland cypress can grow to a mature height of 50 feet (15.24 meters), and is the most widely used privacy tree in the United States.
Fast-growing privacy trees are an excellent choice for blocking out unattractive sights, sounds, and lights. Many privacy tree species are capable of thriving in any climate while providing a solid wall of foliage or shading large areas such as houses and yard spaces. The most important thing to consider when choosing a privacy tree, other than your desired shade characteristics, is the weather hardiness of species, as this will determine the trees' success.