This article presents probably the most in-demand trees these days, namely arborvitae for privacy. And indeed, what could be better than a cozy backyard protected from prying eyes?
Emerald Green Arborvitae
Emerald Green Arborvitae is one of the best varieties for creating a privacy screen. With a fairly fast growth rate (about 1 foot per year), this tree will quickly grow to the desired height. This is especially true if you buy them with a height of at least 2 feet.
This variety grows over 15 feet tall and 3 wide. Plant them about 2 feet apart (center-center), this will provide a good density to the hedge and will speed up the growth rate a bit.
When the trees reach the proper height they can be shortened each year to give them a more regular look. Also, to get the best results, fertilize the thujas for the first few years with a slow-release granular fertilizer.
Green Giant Arborvitae
This variety is very fast growing because of its hybrid origin. One of its parents is Thuja plicata, which is known for its gigantic size.
The growth rate of this Thuja Green Giant can exceed 4 feet per year. This means that the tree will very quickly create a dense wall between you and your neighbors.
The crown shape is columnar and fairly regular, meaning you don’t have to worry about pruning. The needles are very bright and have a deep green color, which may turn a little pale in winter.
The planting distance should be at least 5 feet. At maturity, the tree can reach a height of over 30 feet, which is more than enough to create a dense screen of privacy.
American Pillar Arborvitae
American Pillar Arborvitae is an excellent tree for tall hedges because it has a very narrow crown. It grows up to 4 feet in width while it is over 30 feet tall.
The growth rate is fast (3 feet per year) so you can get a great green pole wall in a short period of time. This variety should be planted 4 feet from center to center to achieve good density.
The narrow crown and very bright needles make the tree look very delicate. This allows it to be grown as a specimen plant. But a hedge of these trees also looks great.
American Pillar Arborvitae requires very little care. After planting it needs to be watered for the first 1-2 years. It is also recommended to fertilize in the first 5-7 years to improve its growth.
Junior Giant Arborvitae
If you need a quick hedge but your yard is small, the Junior Giant Arborvitae is just what you need. Because of its compact size and relatively fast growth rate, it is well suited for small areas.
This variety is a hybrid and comes from Thuja plicata. As a consequence, it is quite a vigorous plant that grows 3 feet a year. The crown is dense, so it has a good level of privacy.
At the same time, it is a fairly compact tree that usually does not exceed 20 feet in height and 4 in width. It should be planted 4-5 feet apart.
Techny Arborvitae is an excellent cultivar for creating a dense screen around your yard. It grows about 2 feet a year which is enough to quickly produce a relatively tall fence.
What makes it special is that it has a wide-conical crown so you will need fewer plants for the hedge. Techny Arborvitae reaches more than 10 feet in width, so you need to plant them at that distance.
Another advantage is the excellent hardiness. This variety can be grown starting in zone 3. As for heat tolerance, it can be grown no further south than zone 7. Overall, it is not a demanding and beautiful tree.
American Arborvitae is probably one of the oldest trees to make a fence. It has both advantages and certain disadvantages.
The advantages are undoubtedly its very high vigor. The growth rate of this tree is very high and it can very quickly provide a green barrier between your yard and the outside world.
Also, this tree has excellent frost and heat resistance. In addition, it is almost disease-free and does not need nutrients or extra care.
Among the disadvantages is not a very dense crown. Compared to the Emerald Green Arborvitae, for example, it is loose. To achieve a good density you will need to prune it at least once a year.
The second disadvantage is that it is very large, as it can exceed 50 feet in height. If you leave it alone, it will quickly become a huge tree. This problem can be solved by trimming the height regularly.
North Pole Arborvitae
North Pole Arborvitae is a fairly compact tree that at maturity reaches 15 feet tall and 4 feet wide. In addition, the growth rate is relatively slow at about 1 foot per year.
It follows that this cultivar is best suited for a compact yard where there is no rush to create a hedge. Also, you will not get a high privacy screen with it.
But nevertheless, this tree has a number of advantages among which are its very bright green needles, the color of which lasts almost the whole year. In addition, the crown is narrow-conical and looks neat.
Among other things, the tree is easy to care for and you will hardly ever need to prune it.
Spring Grove Arborvitae
Spring Grove Arborvitae is a large tree that is ideal for creating a tall hedge. It can reach a height of about 30 feet and a width of about 10 feet.
Also, the fast growth rate will allow you to not have to wait forever for the tree to grow to the desired height. Plant these trees 10 feet apart, but if you want results faster, plant them 7 feet from center to center.
In addition to its practical benefits, Spring Grove Arborvitae has a beautiful conical growth habit and excellent needle color.
A slight drawback is that you can only grow them in zones 5-7.
Polar Gold Arborvitae
Polar Gold Arborvitae is a very interesting variety despite its relatively small size. It is about 15 feet tall and 5 feet wide. This makes it suitable as a privacy tree for neighborhoods dominated by one-story houses.
Its strength, however, is its beautiful appearance. The outside of the crown is bright yellow, while the needles inside the crown are green. This contrast provides an indescribable spectacle to its owners throughout the year.
In addition, thanks to the fairly wide crown, you will need fewer trees to create a dense privacy screen.
The excellent hardiness of this variety allows it to be grown almost all over the United States.
Sting Arborvitae is a wonderful tree with a very narrow crown shape. It can reach a height of 20 feet while only being 1.5 feet wide.
This means that it grows quite fast upwards but expands very slowly. If you want a dense hedge, plant this variety a little over 1 foot apart.
The trees should be fertilized with a multi-purpose granular fertilizer to improve their growth rate. Also, when Sting Arborvitae reaches the desired height you should trim it at that height to prevent it from growing taller. This also encourages the tree to grow wider.
The strength of this variety is its excellent tolerance to both frost and heat. It can be grown in zones 3 to 8.
Degroot’s Spire Arborvitae
Degroot’s Spire Arborvitae is a very interesting tree that is good for privacy. It reaches a height of 20 feet and a width of about 4 feet. To get a dense hedge plant it 4 feet apart.
The crown shape is very narrow which makes this tree look like a spire. That means it can be used as a specimen tree or as a vertical accent in the garden.
Another advantage is the very bright color of the needles. It is deep green and looks especially nice in spring and early summer. In addition, the tips of the branches are slightly twisted, which certainly gives extra interest.
Excellent tolerance to climate allows growing Degroot’s Spire Arborvitae on a wide territory. It can withstand the frosts of zone 3-4 and the heat of zone 8.
Affinity American Arborvitae
This giant thuja is good for fencing large yards or even fields. It can exceed 50 feet in height at maturity and 10 feet wide. From its size, we can conclude that you will need far fewer trees to enclose your yard.
Affinity American Arborvitae, on the other hand, is not well suited for small areas because it grows very fast and it is difficult to control its size with pruning.
This variety has beautiful green needles that are not, however, the same as the Emerald Green Arborvitae. But the growth rate is more important than the color in order to have a long and tall hedge.
The Affinity American Arborvitae is an excellent privacy tree with minimum maintenance and good tolerance to different climates.
Sugar and Spice Arborvitae
Sugar and Spice Arborvitae is a dwarf version of Thuja plicata. It is, therefore, better suited for small gardens and relatively low hedges.
This variety grows up to 10 feet tall at maturity. It will be about 2 feet wide at the same time. It can be used to create a low privacy screen from neighbors who live in a one-story house.
This cultivar has received fairly broad needles from its parents, which provide a denser crown. But nevertheless, you need to plant these trees 2 feet apart.
Excellent frost tolerance allows Sugar and Spice Arborvitae to be grown in most states. Watering for the first 2 years after planting is mandatory.
Excelsa Giant Arborvitae
Excelsa Giant Arborvitae lives up to its name because at maturity it can exceed 30 feet in height and 15 feet wide. In addition, the growth rate is fast enough to produce a dense hedge in a few years.
An advantage of this variety is its wide crown. This reduces the number of trees used to achieve a dense hedge. You will need to plant them about 10 feet apart.
Also, this thuja has a beautiful dark green needle color that lasts well all year. At the same time, most arborvitaes lose their rich color in the colder months or even take on a brown hue.
Excelsa Giant Arborvitae grows best in mild climates without frosty draughts. It also tolerates almost all types of soil but does not like prolonged drought.
Thuja occidentalis ‘Brabant’
Thuja occidentalis ‘Brabant’ is a European selection and has both advantages and disadvantages.
Firstly, it can reach a height of 15 feet and a width of about 7 feet. This is quite enough for a medium-height hedge.
Secondly, a fairly wide growth habit allows you to save on the number of trees you need for planting.
Among the disadvantages is a rather loose crown in comparison with other varieties. To get a dense privacy screen you will need to do some pruning to improve the branching.
Thuja occidentalis ‘Brabant’ also grows at an average rate of about 1 foot per year. This will not allow you to get a very tall hedge very quickly.