When you decide your home could use some additional privacy, the simple solution is a fence, but the result is an unattractive wall disrupting your yard that will quickly show wear and tear as the seasons change. But, there is a long-term solution to this problem that provides privacy and creates an attractive addition to your landscaping: fast growing trees.
We all know that trees can beautify your yard. The Northwest is filled with natural beauty, from majestic evergreens to colorful, spreading maple trees. Nothing adds to a beautiful home like beautiful trees. In addition, trees can serve practical purposes as well as aesthetic ones. Tree roots hold together the soil they are planted in, preventing erosion. Their fallen leaves provide valuable nutrients to the soil. Trees reduce dust and pollen in the air and they provide habitats for birds and other animals.
There are many trees that can both visually enhance and protect your property, but some varieties take many years to fully mature. Some kinds of oak trees won’t produce their first acorn until they are 20 to 30 years old!
Fast growing trees provide the kind of protection you want for your property without taking decades to reach their full height. These trees can provide an attractive complement to your home, as well as serving the practical function of a privacy screen.
Some homeowners’ associations place restrictions on the types of trees that you can plant in your yard so be sure to review these conditions and restrictions before planting. However, there are many varieties of fast-growing trees that can provide privacy so whatever your needs are, the professional arborists at Mr. Tree can help you choose the best trees for the job.
When preparing to plant trees to enhance your privacy, there are four main categories to consider: location, hardiness, size, and color.
The first thing to think about when choosing a location for your fast-growing trees is to decide what area seems most exposed and where you would like additional privacy. However, visibility is not the only consideration. Trees can provide a sound buffer between your home and a busy street.
Trees also provide energy-saving shade cover. Research forester Geoffrey Donovan found that “a tree planted on the west side of a house can reduce net carbon emissions from summertime electricity use by 30 percent over a 100-year period.” This shade can also protect soil from drying out, adding to the overall health of your yard.
Whenever you are preparing to dig to plant new trees, be sure you will not come into contact with any utility lines. Contact the Oregon Utility Notification Center at 503-246–6699, or in Washington, the Northwest Utility Notification Center at 1-800-424-5555 before planting any trees on your property to ensure that you that you won’t run into any unpleasant surprises when digging.
You also need to consider how close your trees are to existing structures. All trees should be planted 10-15 feet from your house, and 5 feet from any patios or fences.
Once you are sure you won’t have any problems with planting, it’s time to choose a kind of tree that will flourish in the local climate.
The Northwest climate can be punishing for some trees. It is important to choose trees that will thrive in cooler climates and ones that won’t suffer from the heavy rainfalls common in the Pacific Northwest. Both evergreen and deciduous trees can do well in these conditions, depending on the variety.
Evergreen trees lack the bright colors common to many deciduous trees, but they provide year-round coverage. Deciduous trees offer full, leafy coverage during the warmer months, but are bare during the winter.
Evergreens can be slow to grow, but there are varieties that will develop very quickly, like the Leyland Cypress, which grows up to 5 feet per year. These trees have a uniform, symmetrical shape and provide coverage all the way to the ground. Plant them 6 feet apart in well-drained soil and they will quickly fill in.
One of the most reliable deciduous trees in this climate, as well as one of the fastest growing, is the Hybrid Poplar. It can grow up to 8 feet per year and thrives even in the coldest portions of the Northwest. Its oval shape provides excellent coverage for shade and privacy. Other sturdy, fast-growing trees like the American Elm, American Sycamore, and Nuttall Oak provide excellent cover in the warmer months.
When planning a privacy screen, first ask yourself: how large do I want this screen to be? The Leyland Cypress reaches a height of 60-70 feet, which provides excellent privacy, but it may be too large for the size of your yard.
Some deciduous trees like sycamores and elms have average heights of 15-20 feet. There are also dwarf versions of many evergreen trees that will allow you to plant a modestly sized hedge to fit in smaller areas. Some trees respond well to pruning and can be kept trimmed to your desired size. Decide what is best for your yard and be sure to allot enough space for the fully grown version of the tree.
Fast-growing trees can provide privacy and shade, but they can also contribute to the attractiveness of your yard. Evergreen trees maintain year-round green foliage, while trees like the Red Sunset Maple provide rich, deep reds during the fall months.
The Royal Empress, which can grow up to 15 feet a year, displays fragrant purple blossoms in the spring.
The Thornless Honeylocust brings cream-colored flowers in spring and a beautiful gold color as the weather cools.
Whatever you have planned for your landscaping, at Mr. Tree, we can help you choose trees that match your vision.
One of the best parts of living in the Pacific Northwest is the natural beauty that surrounds us. Enhancing your privacy does not need to limit this. In fact, fast-growing trees can provide privacy while blocking noise, enrich the soil, save energy, and bring vibrant color into your space.