The Best Trees for Hedges

Many home gardeners use hedges as integral parts of the landscape. Hedges are commonly used as defining borders, privacy screens, walkway liners or to create a barrier between the yard and street. While evergreen shrubs such as boxwoods are well-known hedge plants, evergreen trees are just as commonly used and are, in some cases, better choices than shrubs.

Eastern White Pine

The eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) is a fast-growing tree that has a spread of up to 40 feet. This pine, which has bluish-green needles, grows very tall in the wild, up to 80 feet, so it needs to be pruned on a regular basis when planted as a hedge. The eastern white pine grows best in full sunlight and moist, well-draining soil that is rich in nutrients. Known to be quite hardy, this tree thrives in United States Department of Agriculture growing zones 3 through 8.

Eastern Red Cedar

The eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana) is native to the United States. This tough, medium-size tree has an average height of 30 feet and an average width of 15 feet. The eastern red cedar thrives in full sunlight and will grow in any type of soil, making it an excellent choice for rocky or otherwise challenging landscapes. In addition, this species has a wide variety of cultivars with different shapes and foliage colors. The eastern red cedar is cold-hardy and grows best in USDA zones 2 through 9.

American Holly

There are more than 1,000 cultivars of American holly (Ilex opaca), according to Donna C. Fare and Wayne K. Clatterbuck, assistant professors in the horticulture department at the University of Tennessee. The wide variety of choices offered by this native tree make American holly an excellent for anyone's landscape. American holly also is resistant to most serious insect pests and diseases. The tree prefers a location that offers some protection from the afternoon sun and must have well-draining soil or it can suffer from root rot. American holly is hardy through USDA growing zone 5.

Leyland Cypress

Leyland cypress (x cupressocyparis leylandii) is a slender and very fast-growing tree that is popularly used as a screening hedge. Some varieties offer variegated foliage. The tree is known to be fairly fragile and can suffer from fungal diseases and other problems, especially if it becomes stressed because of extremely dry conditions, wind or other environmental concerns. Leyland cypress grows in all types of soil as long as it is well-drained and can be planted in USDA zones 6 though 10a. This tree will thrive in full sun or partial shade.

Keywords: best trees for hedges, evergreen screening trees, trees for a privacy barrier

About this Author

April Sanders has been a professional writer since 1998. Previously, she worked as an educator and currently writes academic research content for EBSCO publishing and elementary reading curriculum for Compass Publishing. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in social psychology from the University of Washington and a master's degree in information sciences and technology in education from Mansfield University.