Trees with a vigorous growth rate can help create a makeshift screen in your landscape in a short period of time. Grown in a wide range of shapes and sizes, evergreens are often the best trees to use for screening because they have the ability to retain their foliage year-round for non-stop privacy. As winter arrives and most plants die down for the season, evergreen trees remain vibrant and keep the landscape screening intact.
Leyland cypress (x Cupressocyparis leylandii) is an evergreen with a rapid growth rate. It has an upright, pyramidal shape that makes it an ideal screening plant along the landscape like a back or side yard. Leyland cypress grows 60 to 90 feet tall and has a width of 12 to 15 feet. The finely textured foliage is blue to green and remains with color year-round. Leyland cypress is salt tolerant and easy to transplant. It grows best in full sun and well-drained soil. Plant it in USDA zones 6 to 10.
Eastern Red Cedar
Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana) is a rapidly growing evergreen tree that retains its needles all year long to provide a year-round screen in your landscape. It grows 30 to 40 feet tall and 10 to 20 feet wide. Eastern red cedar has an upright, densely pyramidal shape that becomes irregular with age. The 1/16-inch-long scale-like foliage is medium green in summer to turn gray green in winter. Hardy, it is tolerant of both heat and drought and is also a bird attractant. It's easy to transplant and makes a dramatic screening plant. Eastern red cedar grows best in full sun and tolerates a wide range of soil varieties. It grows in USDA zones 2 to 9.
Giant arborvitae (Thuja plicata) has a vigorous growth rate and conical form that is narrow to pyramidal in shape. It grows 50 to 80 feet tall and 15 to 20 feet wide, creating an ideal screening plant. When young, giant arborvitae has a cinnamon to red bark. The finely textured deep green foliage on has white markings underneath. Giant arborvitae is a long-lived evergreen tree that does not tolerate salt spray. It grows best in full sun to part shade and moist, well-drained soil but tolerates clay. Plant giant arborvitae in USDA zones 5 to 8.