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What are the Best Shrubs for Privacy?

Privacy is one of the many benefits that shrubs can provide. Not only are they aesthetically pleasing and increase property value, but they keep nosy Joe’s away from peeping into your yard, offering a beautiful surrounding for those willing to properly care for their shrubs.

Best Shrubs for Privacy

Today, we’re going to explore the world of the best shrubs for privacy and teach you a few things about maintenance along the way.

How Long Does It Take for Shrubs to Grow?

When you plant a new shrub, you can expect it to grow in one or two years. Once planted, the root system starts to grow up to a point where what’s under the ground is wider than the potion about the soil level. When the roots are being established, the shrubs will require consistent watering.  In the first weeks after planting, you’re going to have to water the shrubs every day. Between three and 12 weeks, you have to water them every other day.

Tips for Pruning Shrubs for Privacy

There is a right and a wrong way to prune your shrubs, and we do hope the following list of tips can prevent you from making some pretty common trimming mistakes:

  • Make sure you cut all the dead branches as soon as possible by performing the cut next to the main stem. This is also a good opportunity to inspect the root ball and remove any broken roots that may have transmitted illness to the rest of the plant. Remove any roots that are thicker than your little finger which may have developed around the root ball.
  • Spring-flowering plants produce buds that bloom the following year, at the end of summer and beginning of fall. Pruning in the fall or winter will remove these prospective flowers, leading to almost no growth as the next spring season approaches. What you want to do is to prune shortly after buds bloom if you need to maintain size or eliminate dead wood.
  • Regardless of the privacy shrubs you have on your property, avoid fall pruning. This can stimulate late-season growth and since hardening times are shorter, the plant will likely suffer damage come winter. You can wait for the plant to be dormant in order to trim it.
  • Removing a shrub’s top is an extreme measure that does not work. By shearing off the top to get a cube shape, you will encourage leggy vertical growth, and that will make the plant look terribly messy. The best practice is to cut back branches that are too tall individually. The guiding principle here is to prune slightly above an outwardly looking branch bud. It takes a little longer, but the outcomes will be better.

How to Care for Shrubs During WinterView in gallery

How to Care for Shrubs During Winter

Even if there are shrubs that go dormant during the cold season, the effects of shifting temperatures, harsh sun, windy or dry weather can still be felt. Evergreens, in particular, suffer because they are active throughout the season and frequently endure cold damage.

In order to prevent winter damage to plants, you have to adequately irrigate before the first hard freeze. Some experts suggest reducing the watering frequency during the autumn months to allow plants to harden off for the winter. It is critical for shrubs to enter the winter with appropriate soil moisture. After a few mild frosts in the fall, deeply irrigate plants and apply a layer of mulch to control soil temperature and moisture levels.

Even if much of the landscape appears to be inert, keep in mind that many plants are still actively consuming water.  You need to be on constant weather watch and track of the total amount of precipitation each month. Needled evergreen and broadleaf shrubs need to be watered on a regular basis throughout the winter because transpiration causes them to frequently use water.

Desiccation occurs when plant roots are slower to restore water compared to how fast the plants lose it. Irrigation on a regular basis ensures that moisture is available when the soil decreases in temperature and water is scarce. Throughout the season, check your plants for symptoms of desiccation.

Unexpected weather occurrences may inevitably occur, despite our best attempts to pick climate-appropriate plant material. If your weather forecast predicts extremely cold temperatures, you need to consider protecting your bushes as well as the rest of your property.

One of the best pieces of advice we can give you is to water your plants a few hours before the frost. During a brief cold spell, wrap entire plants in blankets or burlaps to provide proper insulation. You can turn to a frame to prevent plants from coming in contact with the cover. You can also put a light bulb beneath the covering to offer extra heat, but make sure it doesn’t come into touch with the covering or the greenery.

Damage is usually greatest on the side of the plant that faces the sun or wind. The harsh winter sun will cause the west and south-facing sides of the plant to burn. Keep that in mind when planting and make sure the most sensitive ones are protected from winter sun and wind.

Best Shrubs for Privacy

Canadian Hemlock

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Canadian or eastern hemlock trees belong to the family of pine trees. They are not the same plant, and no part of them is poisonous. The Canadian hemlock is known to have poisonous compounds in its bark. These trees can be grown to produce tannic compounds used in making clothing. Canadian hemlocks are among the most widely used evergreen trees in North America. Their pyramidal shape and their small green needles make them stand out. They are very tolerant of shade and will grow 12 to 24 inches tall.

  • Sun needs: partial shade to full sun
  • Soil needs: moist and rich
  • USDA growing zones: 3 – 7
  • Pruning & caring: only require pruning when limbs are damaged by weather/disease; best to prune in spring/early summer

Mock Orange

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This deciduous shrub has a rounded growth habit and oval, serrated, dark green leaves. This plant has showy, cup-shaped flowers that are 4 to 2 inches wide. It’s a great choice for those who like to grow vegetables. The flowers on this plant are white, and they have a prominent orange center. These fast growing mock orange shrubs can grow up to 2 feet tall. They are best planted in the fall but you can also plant them during spring.

  • Sun needs: partial to full sun
  • Soil needs: well-drained, moist, loamy
  • USDA growing zones: 4 – 8
  • Pruning & caring: prune once they’re done blooming

Cotoneaster

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The rock cotoneaster is a member of the rose family that produces light-pink flowers in the spring before they turn red in the fall. It has a branching pattern that appears green in the summer. This plant has a horizontally spreading growth habit. It has dense branching and stiff stems. The leaves are round and roundish. The early pink blooms of rock cotoneaster produce bright red berries in late spring. These berries remain attractive into early winter. These shrubs can be planted in spring or fall. They require a shallow root system to establish themselves before the winter months. Once they reach their full height, they will start to spread out horizontally.

  • Sun needs: full sun
  • Soil needs: well-drained, evenly-moist
  • USDA growing zones: 5 – 7
  • Pruning & caring: only prune to contain the spread, avoid trimming the stem tips

Pussy Willow

Pussy WillowView in gallery

Pussy willow is a name given to a group of lesser known Salix genus species that appear in early spring. The catkins of pussy willows are very early in the season and can be grown in your yard. The dioecious nature of pussy willows means that the male trees produce catkins earlier than the females. These tiny flowers are often full of pollen and are not considered to be decorative. Pussy willows are very fast growing and will spread quickly. Just stick a branch into the soil and watch the plant develop.

  • Sun needs: partial shade to full sun
  • Soil needs: rich, loamy
  • USDA growing zones: 2 – 7
  • Pruning & caring: responds well to drastic pruning, best to prune in winter when plant is dormant

Yew

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There are many varieties of yew trees and shrubs that can be grown for landscaping. They are very versatile and can tolerate a wide variety of conditions. These plants are conifers, and they produce cone-shaped flowers instead of flowers. They’re best planted in the fall and spring. In Europe, yew is often associated with Christmas and is used to make natural Christmas decorations.

  • Sun needs: shade, partial to full sun
  • Soil needs: well-drained, moist, loamy
  • USDA growing zones: 2 – 10
  • Pruning & caring: doesn’t require annual pruning; prune in early spring

Red Twig Dogwood

Red Twig DogwoodView in gallery

Red twig dogwood can be used as a winter accent or year-round interest. Different dogwood species have the “red-twig” label as part of their common name. These shrubs have variegated leaves and white flowers. These plants are usually grown as container plants or ball-and–burlap specimens. They can grow to 2 feet long each year. Ideally, red twig dogwood shrubs should be placed against a wall that receives adequate sunlight in winter. They can also be used with yellow twig dogwoods to create a stunning winter display.

  • Sun needs: partial shade to full sun
  • Soil needs: moist, fertile
  • USDA growing zones: 3 – 8
  • Pruning & caring: prune ⅓ of old branches every three years for maximum color; prune during late winter/early spring

Loropetalum

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Not many people know that the Loropetalum is a type of bush that originated in Asia. The loropetalum is often confused with the Chinese fringe flower, which is also known as Chionanthus retusus. Chinese loropetalum is a multi-stemmed evergreen shrub that’s part of the witch hazel family. It has a white flower with a fringe-like bloom. This evergreen shrub has attractive white flowers in spring. It’s also known for its green leaves and purple or pink flowers. Although it has green or off-white flowers, these varieties are often used for landscape design.

  • Sun needs: partial shade to full sun
  • Soil needs: acidic, well-drained, rich, loamy
  • USDA growing zones: 7 – 10
  • Pruning & caring: prune during spring; remove dead branches, cut after blooming to reduce size

Privet

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A privet hedge runs along a property border. Its name and its common name imply privacy. Privets are either evergreen or deciduous and have thick, lance-shaped leaves. They produce small, tubular flowers in the early summer. Privets can tolerate a wide variety of conditions, but they require good drainage to thrive. To plant a new hedge, divide the privets into two groups and position them about a foot apart.

  • Sun needs: partial to full sun
  • Soil needs: well-drained
  • USDA growing zones: 3 – 8
  • Pruning & caring: easy to shape, bounce back fast from heavy pruning; you can prune immediately after flowering stops

Amur Maple

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The Amur maple is known for its stunning fall colors. The flaming red leaves and red samaras make this tree a must-have for any autumn. Green leaves are 1 to 4 inches long. They have three lobes and are characterized by short side lobes. Fall colors are red, orange, or green. These trees can be used to control soil erosion and windbreaks. They are also useful for minimizing the impact of harsh winter conditions.

  • Sun needs: partial shade to full sun
  • Soil needs: well-drained, sandy, loamy, clay
  • USDA growing zones: 3 – 8
  • Pruning & caring: can be pruned in the winter for a single-trunk leader

Burning Bush

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Burning bush is a native bush that has become popular in North America. It has a dense, multi-stemmed, and rounded shape. This plant has tiny yellow-green flowers in the spring, and the red-orange berries in the fall. It’s a great choice for a border or a focal point in your landscape. It provides a striking visual interest each fall. Burning bush can tolerate most soil conditions. It can also spread by wildlife or get buried in the ground.

  • Sun needs: partial shade to full sun
  • Soil needs: acidic, well-drained, moist
  • USDA growing zones: 4 – 8
  • Pruning & caring: cut the branches all the way down to remove it; prune suckers coming from the ground to keep it in check

Diablo Ninebark

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Common ninebark is a versatile flowering shrub that can be used in landscape. It gets its name from its exfoliating bark. Ninebark is a coarse-textured plant that has green, yellow, or red leaves. It flowers in late spring and autumn and is known for attracting birds. Ninebark is used for landscaping and makes a great choice for creating borders, hedges, and foundations. It’s also used for erosion control. Dwarf varieties can grow to 3 to 4 feet tall. Like many shrubs, ninebark should be planted in the early spring to allow the plant to develop dormant root systems. It can be quickly grown from a 1-gallon nursery pot.

  • Sun needs: partial shade to full sun
  • Soil needs: loam/clay
  • USDA growing zones: 2 – 8
  • Pruning & caring: prune after flowering (until mid-August); cut ⅓ of branches during a pruning session

Arborvitae

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The arborvitae genus includes a large number of evergreen trees and shrubs. Their popularity is due to their quick-growing nature and their ability to provide year-round interest. Emerald Green is a popular cultivar for use as a screen plant and hedge. This tree has beautiful green foliage with rounded edges. It’s best planted in fall when it experiences minimal heat stress. This plant can grow to about 15 feet high. It can also reach up to 20 feet wide.

  • Sun needs: partial shade to full sun
  • Soil needs: well-drained, moist
  • USDA growing zones: 2 – 7
  • Pruning & caring: light prune in early spring; trim the leafy parts of the branch

Forsythia

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These fast-growing shrubs have long branches that turn yellow in the spring. Their attractive yellow flowers appear before their leaves. Forsythia are wonderful for creating borders, and they are also great for hanging from trees. They can grow almost anywhere. These fast-growing shrubs can grow up to 24 inches in a year. They are best used for planting in late fall or early spring. Forsythia bushes can be used to create a living privacy wall or used for erosion control. They can also be trained to grow as a vine. They can grow even in poor soil conditions and, once established, can tolerate drought pretty well.

  • Sun needs: partial shade to full sun
  • Soil needs: well-drained, loose
  • USDA growing zones: 5 – 8
  • Pruning & caring: doesn’t require annual pruning; best to prune once they’re done blooming in spring

Beautyberry

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Beautyberry is a shrub that can grow up to 6 feet tall. It has a slow growing rate of about 1 to 2 feet per year. The beautyberry has a light purple flower head and medium green leaves. Its bright purple berries, which are around the plant’s stems, are one of its most notable features. The beautiful berries appear in late summer or early fall. They can last into the winter, providing wildlife with a visual interest in the landscape. Beautyberry shrubs are very attractive to look at. They can be used individually or as a border. Beautyberry requires little maintenance to establish and grows really well in containers.

  • Sun needs: partial shade to full sun
  • Soil needs: rich, moist
  • USDA growing zones: 5 – 7
  • Pruning & caring: prune in late winter prior to new growth

More Privacy Options for Your Yard

DearHouse Artificial Ivy Privacy Fence Screen

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You can create privacy in your home while still looking out to the world with this artificial leaf privacy fence. Consisting of natural-looking leaves that are ideal for any space, this privacy screen is available in many different size options, with a durable polyester construction. They are drought-tolerant and can provide a beautiful green feel without the need for water. Ivy leaf privacy panels are designed to enclose the mesh back of the fence, which allows air flow through the mesh. They are also very durable and can withstand harsh sunlight.

Expandable Garden Trellis Plant Support

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Made from willow wood, this privacy screen offers the support needed for vertical plants to grow, whether we’re talking about a natural privacy option or synthetic plants made from plastic and polyester. You can get really creative with this support and create a gorgeous privacy screen that’s very easy to install.

Sunnyglade Privacy Screen Fence

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The Sunnyglade privacy screen is available in three size options and five colors that allow visual flexibility and makes it easy for you to find a product that matches your yard’s style. This fabric is made of polyethylene, which has a long lifespan and is strong enough to endure the sun for years to come. Made of durable and strong materials, this is a product that can withstand the harsh weather conditions. These mesh panels are easy to install and are equipped with 80 mm straps and grommets to keep the fence closer to the ground.

Conclusion

Privacy hedges can provide some protection from harsh weather conditions, such as snow and wind. They can also help keep your home from getting cluttered with unwanted guests.

Unfortunately, getting the perfect line of identical trees can be very challenging and often not practical. Instead, try using different species and heights to create a cohesive wall of foliage. You can also choose to plant various species or cluster patterns in the space to create a more natural look. These plants and trees can be used to create functional garden clusters or add privacy to your home.