The Q&A Archives: Choice Of Tree For A Privacy Screen

Question: I want to make a private garden. I have a retainer wall on the south side and want a growing screen to the west and north. The garden will be about 25' x 35'. Is a Dwarf Alberta Spruce a good choice? I want the screen about 6' to 10' high. Is there something that grows to that height that would be faster growing? Due to limited space I don't want the base area to be real large. Also, the area is sunny in the afternoon.

Answer: The dwarf Alberta spruce is very slow growing and eventually becomes a bit wide at the base, although it is a lovely tree. For a narrow evergreen screen you might consider a shrubby Euonymus such as Manhattan which can be clipped and trained (it is a classic-looking broad leafed plant and easy to grow), or possibly a fence softened with a vine such as English ivy. These would be much faster growing than the spruces.

Alternatively, for a needled look, there are numerous upright and narrow junipers (some as narrow as a foot or so at maturity) that would fit the bill and would also enjoy that hot afternoon sun. Junipers also do well in wind and in a well drained soil -- they are relatively easy to grow. Some also have that same blue tone as the dwarf Alberta spruce.

Your county extension and your local professionally trained nursery staff might have some additional suggestions based on a more detailed knowledge of the site. Good luck with your garden!

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