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Create Privacy with Just-Right Trees & Shrubs

Trees
do a lot of great things for us: They shade our homes, provide habitat
and food for wildlife, plus help control soil erosion and flooding. Oh,
and then there is all that air we breathe! Without trees, we’d have a hard time surviving.

Trees also serve another very important function in tight urban spaces: Privacy.
Trees improve our vistas, block unsightly views, reduce noise between
neighbors, and help screen our neighbor’s view of our home and property.

There
are a variety of trees and large shrubs you can plant to create privacy
screens. Varieties with dense or evergreen foliage work best. The key
is to make sure that the space your planting can accommodate the mature
size of your trees and shrubs. Obviously, dwarf shrubs won’t give you
the height you need to block the view of your neighbors…but some large
trees can be overkill. While live oak trees are perfect for creating a
massive evergreen privacy screen, they get BIG! All too often, these
large trees are planted in urban spaces that are just too small for them
in the long run.

If
you don’t have a large lot, then consider using some of these
“just-right” sized shrubs and trees to create privacy. Here are a few of
our favorites:

Cherry Laurel, also called Carolina cherry trees (Prunus caroliniana),
are members of the rose family. They produce lush, dense evergreen
foliage on plants that grow naturally in a pyramidal shape. Plants grow
up to about 40-feet tall reach about 20-feet wide at maturity, so
they are good for planting near property lines to create a secluded back
yard. Plants are fast growing and will produce small white flowers in
spring. The small black berries that follow are popular with local
birds. Plants do best with plenty of direct sun, but can tolerate some
cast shade from surrounding structures or trees.


Texas Mountain Laurel is a beautiful Texas native that can be used as a shrub or a small tree. Plants produce lustrous, oval leaves that are evergreen. The glossy foliage is complemented by clusters of highly fragrant purple blooms in spring. While this is a slow growing plant, they eventually can grow up to 35-feet tall; however, you typically find them in the 15-foot range in urban environments. Get a head start by planting as large of a specimen as you can find. Plant in a sunny location with good soil drainage, in USDA Zones 8 or warmer

grape

Southern Wax Myrtle, another
Texas native, is a small tree or large shrub that produces grayish, green
leaves that have a nice fragrance. Plants also produce clusters of
attractive blue-to-gray colored fruits on female plants. As plants are
evergreen, they make a very nice privacy screen in small urban landscapes. While it does prefer moist, slightly acidic soils, it is
adaptable to varying conditions, including areas with poor drainage.
Plants thrive in full sun, but will tolerate some light shade.

waxmyrtle

Juniper ‘Sky Rocket’
is a tall, narrow evergreen small tree or large shrub, with lovely
blue-gray foliage. They grow 15 – 20 feet tall but spread to only 2 – 3 feet wide, so they are perfect for narrow spaces along fence lines.
All junipers need full sun conditions in order to thrive, so keep them
out of shady locations. Feed in spring and fall, and prune off unwieldy
branches to keep the perfect columnar shape. Other than that, this is a
low-maintenance privacy plant for North Texas.

juniper

Right tree, right place.

Choosing a tree for your space
is an important decision. Keeping mature height and root spread in mind
before you plant can mean the difference between a healthy, long-lived
tree and one that has to be prematurely removed.

If you have questions about choosing a tree for your space, ask us on Twitter or Facebook, or give us a call.

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