The Q&A Archives: Fast growing trees

Question: My property has very few trees and therefore very little privacy from our closest neighbors. What are the fastest growing trees that I could plant for my region (Mid South)?

Answer: There are a range of considerations to take into account when planting trees or large shrubs. You need to select plants that will thrive in the growing conditions you have -- soil type, amount of sun, wind exposure, and the space available for them to grow and mature. There are aesthetic considerations, such as do you want evergreen or deciduous, flowering or good fall color, a heavy look or a light and airy effect? You would also want to take into account your overall landscape plan for the property. You may also want to consider that many of the very fast growing woody plants tend to be soft wooded or brittle and somewhat short lived, whereas a better quality of plant might take a bit longer to grow large but will last for decades. When trying to block a view, sometimes it is most effective to plant a shrub or tree island type bed closer to your viewing point, rather than plant a hedge at the property line. The carefully placed, closer planting will block more of the view faster than waiting for the hedge to grow -- this works similar to holding your hand in front of your eyes up close to your face as opposed to with your arm stretched out. I would suggest you work with your county extension and/or local professionally trained nursery staff to determine which plants would grow best where you want to plant these, and then make your selection from among those. Best of luck with your screening!

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