Add beauty and privacy to your property with a living fence! Want to cover up the view of an unsightly building, block utility boxes from sight, or distance yourself from your nosy neighbor? Read on for tips and suggestions for the best privacy trees and shrubs for Zones 5 & 6 …
Privacy trees tend to be trees that are dense, moderately tall, and fast growing. The best trees in this category provide the grower with a product that will prevent neighbors from viewing the yard and can assist in noise abatement.
Click to Discover a Large Selection of Privacy Trees For Zone 5 / 6
There are several choices of trees that will perform well in providing a living fence or screen. The first choice to make is whether the grower desires an evergreen tree or a deciduous tree. Evergreen trees tend to be denser and more long lived than some deciduous trees that are commonly used.
Most privacy trees like full sun (6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day) and well-drained soil. Other than that, fertilizing is unnecessary, and pruning isn’t required unless you want to shape your tree.
We generally recommend planting privacy trees in early spring or fall, before or after the threat of frost. As long as the ground is not frozen and temperature extremes are at bay, your trees should be just fine.
Tree Choice Considerations Should Include: * How tall do they need to be? * How thick or dense they need to be? * How long they need to live? * How fast do they grow? * How much space the tree will encompass? and * How much care they will need over their lifetime?
Best Privacy Trees and Shrubs for Zones 5 & 6:
Green Giant Arborvitae
The Green Giant Arborvitae has become one of the most desired landscape trees in the US, and for good reason. With a growth rate of 3-5 feet a year, this tree has one of the fastest growth rates of any Arborvitae available for sale. You can block an unsightly view in record time!
Its triangular shape provides a wonderfully strong accent in the landscape. The vibrant green coloring stays true all year on the Green Giant Arborvitae. Native to North America, this fast-growing evergreen tree features good form with beautiful fragrant foliage all along the entire length of the trunk.
Plant a row of these trees to create a magnificent backdrop that requires very little maintenance! Birds love them for nesting, but deer take a pass. Plus, they couldn’t be easier to grow since they’re drought tolerant and resistant to both pests and diseases.
Screen Hybrid Poplar
Why wait 10-15 years for regular trees to shade your home? These majestic Hybrid Screen Poplar trees will shade a 1-story house in just three years! It has a spread of 20-25′ and will reach a mature height of 50-60′ in only a few years.
Hardy and rugged — they grow almost anywhere. The Hybrid Screen Poplar normally lives 30-50 years and is drought / wind-resistant as well as insect and disease resistant. Also called a Seedless or Cottonless Cottonwood, this naturally occurring hybrid produces no cottony seed to make a mess in your yard. This elegant tree grows into a tall pyramidal form. It requires little – if any – pruning because it will mature naturally into a neat outline.
Perfect for screening … these beauties insure privacy between houses and also serves as a windbreak, or snow fence on farms. Plant 9′ apart and they grow into a solid green living wall in about 3 years.
Emerald Green Arborvitae
Emerald Green Arborvitae is a selection of native White Cedar with incredibly vibrant green foliage all year round. The color deepens into a lovely emerald shade of green as it gets older. The pretty foliage sprays are nice and soft to the touch!
Cold hardy, these are beautiful workhorses that provide a full, lush screen. Best of all? They are fast growers. They make a terrific backdrop to a showy shrub border, or to your annual flower and perennial gardens.
Arborvitae means the “Tree of Life” and this selection will act like a breath of fresh, clean air in your landscape. If Green Giant Arborvitae are too tall for your yard, try this variety on for size. It’s a great size and shape for today’s smaller yards.
They become the “bones” of your garden. They’ll give structure and definition year round. As an added bonus, these trees fit beautifully in tight spaces, such as along garage walls, along the driveway, in side yards and on the border of your property.
Liven up your landscape with masses of white flowers in spring; brilliant orange and red leaves in autumn; and great clusters of solid little red fruit (haws) in winter.
The Washington Hawthorn is an invitation for visits from the handsome grosbeak and woodpeckers. Its beauty makes this hedging neighbor-friendly. Washington Hawthorns have dense, twiggy growth and sharp thorns making it a reliable trespass-proof barrier.
They grow to 25-30′ tall, but can be sheared to any size you desire. Although it loses its leaves in the winter its dense branches still make it a desirable living fence. When I was growing up, we had these beautiful specimens on the side of our house for a privacy screen from the neighbors.
Interesting fact: Hawthorn berries are safe for you to eat in moderation. They are used in herbal medicine as a tonic for the heart. They are loaded with antioxidants and are reported to have anti-inflammatory properties.
This hardy and attractive evergreen is a hybrid of two U.S. trees. It grows thick and fairly fast to provide you with a solid, living wall. You’ll love it’s perfect shape when left to grow in its natural conical growth habit.
This amazing plant tolerates a wide range of conditions including pollution, salt spray, and poor soils. The soft feathery evergreen leaves can be left unpruned for an informal look or sheared and shaped for a formal look.
One of the most popular trees in the U.S. for use as a quick boundary, screen, shelter belt, or hedge due to their rapid growth. The Leyland Cypress sports a nice pyramidal shape and needs full sun. Reaches a height of 60-70′ if planted alone or 20-30′ if planted as a hedge. Plant 6′ apart for a privacy hedge.
If you choose to shear it to keep it at the height you want, it will happily accept you trimming it to almost any shape or size. This gives a formal look to the garden that brings to mind stately English manors. I prefer the natural shape … it’s one very good-looking tree alone or in a group.
With a slow growth rate of less than 1 foot per year, the yew is an easy hedge to maintain for long periods of time. When a plant is this classic and well-behaved, it winds up being grown in almost every community across growing Zones 4 – 8. We bet you have dozens all around your neighborhood! Keep your eyes out for these evergreen workhorses …
A real favorite with professional landscapers, the Hicks Yew may not turn heads as a specimen plant. Rather, with its dense, dark, and shiny green needles, these plants make a fantastic vertical screen or background. It’s a perfect “supporting actor” for showier plants.
Often called the “backbone” of landscape design, evergreens such as Hicks Yews work hard to provide year-round structure. They are easy care plants that work in sun, shade, and everything in between.
Hicks Yew can take just about anything you throw at it, from artistic topiary pruning to poor city environments. These dark green plants grow well in any drained soil.
Click here to explore the many options of beautiful, fast-growing “Living Fences”
These are some of the fastest growing trees we know of for shade, privacy, wind protection and soil conservation. Small, one foot cuttings planted at a university reached from 14-20 feet the first year!
Hybrid Willows are very hardy, disease resistant and can withstand extreme weather conditions. They survived in most areas of Canada (even in arctic weather) and grow as far south as Florida! Excellent where severe winds are prevalent … they help prevent wind and soil erosion.
The graceful, soft-looking Hybrid Willows thrive in dry soils and help dry out boggy land. Tall and upright growing without brittle wood. Often they can reach 35-45 feet tall with lateral branches from the ground up planted as a hedge. Planted alone they grow 50-75 feet tall …
Life span of 70 years under good conditions. Fastest growth is in the first five years. If you need a dense privacy screen YESTERDAY, this is a great solution. You’ll get a living green wall by the end of the first season!
Black Hills Spruce
The Black Hills Spruce Tree is a delightful, easy care evergreen native to some of the coldest regions of North America. Given well-drained soil and a spot in full sun, this pretty tree provides a low maintenance privacy screen. It works to give structure to your landscape design all year long.
You’ll never have to prune it. This spruce develops into a wonderful pyramidal accent for either front or back yard landscaping. Another benefit, birds love to roost in these trees for winter cover.
Decorate this living Christmas Tree for the holidays every year! It lends life to a drab, winter landscape. Black Hills Spruce trees are ideal for use as windbreaks, privacy screens and accent plantings in your yard.
A truly cold-adapted tree, Black Hills Spruce is resistant to winter injury and performs well, regardless of harsh winter conditions. Another plus, this tree is very long-lived. In fact, some Black Hills Spruce have lived 150 to 350 years!
Columnar Blue Spruce
Blue Spruce are some of the most beautiful evergreen trees around, with their gorgeous, steely-blue colored needles. Don’t have room for a traditional blue spruce due to space constraints? A Columnar Blue Spruce is the answer … it grows tall enough to create an impact, but stays narrow enough to fit just about anywhere.
They look great in any full sun garden setting and give you an instant hit of fabulous blue color all year long. It will work equally well with ornamental grasses, coneflowers and black-eyed susans as it would to give structure and form near groundcover roses or hydrangeas.
Need privacy, but don’t have any extra room? Plant 5 feet apart (measured from trunk to trunk) to create a tight grouping with the branches touching. Use several together to screen off a narrow space like a patio area or side yard.
The Columnar Blue Spruce has a fantastic look that fits into a myriad of different garden design styles from very formal, to rustic, and even contemporary. The final look will depend on the styling and the plants you partner it with.
Privacy trees and shrubs offer an all-natural way to frame your property … no traditional fencing required. Whether you’re blocking neighbors, noise, unsightly areas or all of the above, privacy trees are the way to go to enhance your landscape …
You can’t go wrong with any of the nine specimens listed above if you’re looking for the best privacy trees and shrubs for Zones 5 & 6 . They all make excellent living fences adding beauty and privacy screening to your yard!
Looking for Spring Flowering Trees to add color and fragrance? Check out these Zone 5 & 6 favorites …
Wonderful article! Are you available for consultations? Thank you!
Hello Alin, although we don’t presently offer one on one consultations, we’re happy to answer questions or offer recommendations. Happy planting!
Zone 5b/Milwaukee. Want to plant Black Hills Spruce and holly. Want to add a 3rd evergreen. Any suggestions?
Hi Carol, I’m sorry for the delay in responding! We were out of town and I just saw your message. Good for you for planting evergreens! Great seasonal interest. The first companion plants that came to my mind were ones with a yellowish – gold hue to complement the holly and spruce. Night Light Hinoki Cypress or a
Good Vibrations Juniper would look good and add a different color / shape element to your display. Happy planting!