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fast growing hedges

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fast growing hedges2019-05-17T06:23:41+00:00

Fast-growing hedges are always in high demand! The main uses are:

  • Privacy
  • Peace and Quiet
  • Hiding eyesores (fences, sheds, AC units, etc.)
  • Shade

Regardless of the reason for wanting a rapidly-growing tall hedge or privacy screen, we have excellent options for any space. These varieties will grow more than 1 foot per year (some can grow up to 4 feet per year in ideal conditions). They are all well-suited to hedging, so they can also be pruned to remain tight and kept at any desired height. Some are fast growing evergreen trees for privacy, some are deciduous. We’ve included detailed information on each with the best ways to use and maintain them.

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7 Varieties of Fast Growing Hedges

Accr ginnala ‘Flame’

Prunus laurocerasus

Prunus L. 'Schipkaensis'

Prunus Lusitanica

Thuja Occidentalis 'Smaragd'

Thuja Plicata 'Virescens'

Thuja Occidentalis

Encouraging Fast Growth

It is important to note that, although these varieties do grow fast when compared with some other types, a big factor in the growth rate is the environment. Trees and shrubs that are stressed from lack of water, extreme temperatures, or the wrong exposure (i.e. too much sun or too much shade), will grow much slower than the typical growth rates.

If getting a tall hedge fast is important to you, you will need to make sure to do the following 5 things:

1. Choose the right hedge for the right space.

If you don’t plant your hedge in the right site, it will never thrive. Full sun plants need to be planted in full sun. Plants that are borderline hardiness will be damaged each winter by frost. Water-loving varieties can’t be planted in deserts. Do your research before planting, choose a plant that suits your site, and you will be just fine. Keep in mind that a plant that tolerates both shade and sun will generally grow faster in more sun.

Fast growing hedges
Planting hedges

2. Plant your hedge at the right time.

Planting an Amur Maple hedge in the middle of July in full sun with limited supplemental water is going to set the plants back significantly. The ideal time to plant is fall, after the hedges are dormant. You can also safely plant fast growing hedge through the winter in areas where the ground does not freeze hard, and spring is also a good time. Doing this saves you work and worry and saves the plants a lot of stress.

3. Water for the first 1-2 years

Once your hedge has been in the ground for several years and has had a chance to send roots deep into the soil, it will need very little supplemental water, if any. However, it is important to provide ample water during the first 1-2 growing seasons after planting. The best way to do this is to lay drip line along the length of your hedge and run for an hour at a time every few days to water deeply.

Watering hedges
Fast growing hedges

4. Fertilize

Hedges are very low-maintenance, but if you want optimum growth, applying a high-nitrogen, slow-release fertilizer will help. It is best to apply in the spring right before growth begins.

5. Prune at the right times

Spring is generally the best time to prune, as this stimulates new growth and ensures that no tender new shoots will be frozen if they emerge too close to winter. Yearly pruning, although it seems counterintuitive for a fast-growing hedge, really helps create a nice, dense hedge. You’ll be glad you did it!

trim the hedges

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Flame Amur Maple

Acer ginnala ‘Flame’

fast growing evergreen shrubs for privacy
fast growing privacy plants

Flame Amur Maple is our favorite deciduous fast-growing hedge. It has outstanding fall color in fiery reds, oranges, and yellows. It is very cold-hardy (down to -40ºF!) and can be grown in most parts of the US.

It can easily be grown as a hedge thanks to its multi-stemmed natural habit and can be maintained by pruning once per year.
It thrives in full sun to part shade, and it is quite drought-tolerant once established.

Flame Amur Maple makes a beautiful fast-growing screen that provides shade in the summer and still allows light through in the winter.

NAME Acer ginnala ‘Flame’ (Flame Amur Maple)

EVERGREEN/DECIDUOUS Deciduous (Fiery fall color)

HARDINESS ZONE Zones 3-8

GROWTH RATE Fast (Up to 2 feet per year)

GROWTH HABIT Multi-Stemmed

LIGHT REQUIREMENTS Sun to Part Shade

DEER/PESTS Deer

MAINTENANCE Prune 1 time per year

BEST FOR Screening (Shade in summer, light in winter)

English Laurel (Cherry Laurel)

Prunus laurocerasus

privacy plants
privacy hedges for sale

English laurel (or Cherry Laurel) can make an enormous fast-growing hedge. Under the right conditions, it can grow up to 3 feet per year! It does very well in heat.
It has glossy evergreen foliage and makes a very attractive large hedge with regular pruning 1-2 times per year.
English laurel grows in full sun to partial shade. It tolerates a wide variety of soil types and is very drought-tolerant once established. It is smog and salt tolerant, and deer will not touch it.
English laurel makes a tough-as-nails, versatile, and seriously fast-growing hedge. It’s perfect for large spaces where privacy is needed.

NAME Prunus laurocerasus (English or Cherry laurel)

EVERGREEN/DECIDUOUS Broadleaf Evergreen Glossy green leaves

HARDINESS ZONE Zones 6-9

GROWTH RATE FAST Up to 3 feet per year

GROWTH HABIT Large, Rounded

LIGHT REQUIREMENTS Sun to Part Shade

DEER/PESTS None

MAINTENANCE Prune 1 time per year

BEST FOR Privacy Thick, evergreen hedge

Schip Laurel

Prunus laurocerasus ‘Schipkaensis’

instant privacy
privacy hedge plants

Schip laurels (or Skip laurels) are a very popular shrub to use for an evergreen fast-growing hedge.
They can easily make a tall and narrow hedge with pruning once per year and occasional shaping.
It has the advantage over most other fast-growing hedge types of tolerating full sun to full shade. It also grows well in a wide variety of soil types, is drought-tolerant once established, and is not bothered by smog or salt. It does well in heat and is cold hardy to zone 6 or even warmer parts of zone 5.
Schip laurel makes a durable fast-growing hedge that is ideal for privacy and for hiding fences.

NAME P. laurocerasus ‘Schipkaensis’ (Schip laurel)

EVERGREEN/DECIDUOUS Broadleaf Evergreen Glossy green leaves

HARDINESS ZONE Zones 6-9

GROWTH RATE Fast Up to 2 feet per year

GROWTH HABIT Wide Vase

LIGHT REQUIREMENTS Full Sun to Full Shade

DEER/PESTS None

MAINTENANCE Prune 1 time per year

BEST FOR Privacy, Hiding Fences Tall, narrow evergreen hedge

Portuguese Laurel

Prunus lusitanica

fast growing evergreen trees for privacy

Portuguese laurel is a stunning fast-growing evergreen hedge that works well for warm, coastal regions.
It grows quickly but is easy to maintain due to its mostly spreading habit. With pruning once per year, it quickly makes a very dense hedge.
Portuguese laurel thrives in warm climates and does well in drought, smog, and salt. It grows in a wide range of soils, including poor soils. It is deer-resistant. It can take full sun and partial shade.
Though a little slower-growing than the English laurel or Schip laurel, Portuguese laurel makes an excellent fast-growing hedge with less maintenance required. Its thickness makes it a great privacy hedge, wind-block, and noise-block. It is also perfect for hiding fences.

NAME Prunus lusitanica (Portuguese laurel)

EVERGREEN/DECIDUOUS Broadleaf Evergreen Glossy green leaves

HARDINESS ZONE Zones 7-9

GROWTH RATE Fast Up to 1.5 feet per year

GROWTH HABIT Broad Column

LIGHT REQUIREMENTS Sun to Part Shade

DEER/PESTS None

MAINTENANCE Prune 1 time per year

BEST FOR Privacy, Hiding Fences Thick, dense hedge

American Arborvitae

Thuja occidentalis

best privacy hedge
fast growing privacy plants

American Arborvitae is a popular plant for evergreen fast-growing hedges. It is extremely cold-hardy so it is especially useful in the Northern US.
It is a quick grower but easy to maintain as a clipped hedge with one pruning per year.
It is low-maintenance and fairly drought-tolerant once established. It does well in urban environments. Unfortunately, deer can be a problem.
American Arborvitae make a wonderful, low-maintenance, evergreen, fast-growing hedge. It works especially well as a privacy hedge.

NAME Thuja occidentalis (American Arborvitae)

EVERGREEN/DECIDUOUS Evergreen Dark green, thread-like foliage

HARDINESS ZONE Zones 2-8

GROWTH RATE Fast Up to 1-2 feet per year

GROWTH HABIT Upright

LIGHT REQUIREMENTS Sun to Part Shade

DEER/PESTS Deer

MAINTENANCE Prune 1 time per year

BEST FOR Privacy Low-maintenance privacy

Green Giant Arborvitae

Thuja x ‘Green Giant’

Fast growing hedges
green giant arborvitae growing conditions

Green Giant Arborvitae is the big exception to the rule that Arborvitae grow slowly. This hybrid Thuja typically grows 3 feet per year, with some reports circulating of it growing 5 feet in one year!
If you need a fast-growing, large, evergreen Arborvitae hedge, Green Giant is a perfect choice. It will take some work to maintain if you want to keep it as a medium-sized hedge, but one pruning per year will suffice for a large hedge.
Green Giant grows in full sun to partial shade and is resistant to many diseases and pests, including deer. It tolerates many soils, but consistently damp and poor-draining sites should be avoided. It grows well in the humidity of the Southeastern US.
Green Giant Arborvitae is a classic fast-growing hedge. It is a popular choice for privacy and wind-breaks, and will remain healthy in many areas where other Arborvitae would struggle.

NAME Thuja x ‘Green Giant’ (Green Giant Arborvitae)

EVERGREEN/DECIDUOUS Evergreen Dark green, thread-like foliage

HARDINESS ZONE Zones 5-8

GROWTH RATE FAST Up to 3-5 feet per year

GROWTH HABIT Pyramidal

LIGHT REQUIREMENTS Sun to Part Shade

DEER/PESTS None

MAINTENANCE Prune 1 time per year

BEST FOR Privacy, Wind-break

Virescens Western Red Cedar

Thuja plicata ‘Virescens’

hedge privacy screen

Virescens Western Red Cedar is a wonderful fast-growing hedge for warmer regions where other Arborvitae might not thrive. It has a unique upright-branching habit and responds well to hedging.
Virescens naturally grows tall and narrow, so it lends itself well to a tall privacy hedge. One pruning per year is sufficient to maintain a nice hedge.
Native to the Pacific Northwest, Virescens does well everywhere that isn’t too hot or too cold. It tolerates partial shade as well as full sun, and it holds its green color all year. Deer leave it alone.
Virescens Western Red Cedar is so well-suited to forming a fast-growing hedge that it requires very little maintenance. It makes a very handsome privacy hedge and hides fences well.

NAME Thuja plicata ‘Virescens’ (Virescens Western Red Cedar)

EVERGREEN/DECIDUOUS Evergreen Bright green, thread-like foliage

HARDINESS ZONE Zones 5-8

GROWTH RATE Fast Up to 2 feet per year

GROWTH HABIT Upright, Pyramidal

LIGHT REQUIREMENTS Sun to Part Shade

DEER/PESTS None

MAINTENANCE Prune 1 time per year

BEST FOR Privacy, Hiding Fences

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