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Fast Growing Privacy Trees

If you’re looking for quick privacy and shade, check out this list of fast growing privacy trees. These trees will grow quickly and won’t take decades to provide shelter as well as keep the neighbors from spying on you. So what do you plant that’ll grow quickly to give you some privacy as well as shade?

There are so many types of beautiful trees that can make your landscaping amazing. But if you are particularly looking for shade or privacy, what you want are fast growing privacy trees. Some of these include varieties such as River Birch, Green Giant Arborvitae, and even Weeping Willows. Check out the whole list below.

Not all of these are evergreen, but you will get privacy in the spring/summer and even into fall when people tend to be outside more.

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Fast Growing Privacy Trees

River Birch

A tall River Birch tree lining the side of a backyard.

I am still in awe of how fast these grow. River birches are beautiful trees and they have the most interesting bark that looks like it’s shedding or peeling. We planted three river birch trees on the side of our yard and they were tiny.

Again – budget constraints were a big issue so we had to start small. They looked like three blueberry bushes when we put them in the ground. 

I doubted we would get much privacy quickly, but I was wrong. In about 3 years they’ve gone from bush size to around 15-18 feet tall. 

However, they aren’t evergreen. They lose all the leaves in the winter, but I love them anyway.

Tall River Birch trees create privacy along the side of a backyard.

As their name implies, they love wet areas. Ours are planted at the edge of a very gradual slope in our yard so they soak up all the runoff. Make sure to plant them at least 20 feet apart. They will spread to 20-25 feet and can grow to 40-70 feet tall.

Our trees are planted in an area that gets full morning sun and some afternoon shade which is helpful in the blazing Southern heat. Each summer when it gets super hot, we do notice a few leaves turning yellow and falling, but nothing that takes away from the beauty of the trees.

River Birch Facts

  • Deciduous (loses the leaves in the fall)
  • Can grow 40-70 feet tall
  • Beautiful peeling bark
  • Loves moist soil areas
  • Grows 1.5-3 feet per year
  • Zones 4-9

Green Giant Arborvitae

A Green Giant Arborvitae tree in a backyard in front of a wooden fence.

Another stunner and this one is evergreen – meaning you’ll have the beautiful green color year-round. This one can grow up to 3 feet per year.

We planted three of these that were around 2 feet tall and in 3 years they are about 12-15 feet tall. Give them room when you plant – it can spread out between 12 and 20 feet. They have a beautiful cone shape – like a pretty Christmas tree.

Green Giant Facts

  • Evergreen (stays green year-round)
  • Can grow 3 feet per year
  • Zones 3 through 7 or 8
  • Grows 30-40 feet
  • Drought tolerant
Tall evergreen shrubs line the side of a yard with hydrangea bushes.

Weeping Willow Tree

A large Weeping Willow tree in a grassy field.

One of my most favorite trees, the weeping willow tree is stunning. It’s drooping “weeping” limbs/leaves are gorgeous. Make sure you have plenty of room and beware you won’t get much grass growing under or around the willow.

Keep it away from your septic lines, because the roots can potentially damage your lines. It can get between 30-40 feet tall and wide. 

A willow tree hangs over the edge of a pond.

They aren’t evergreen, however,  they are one of the first to get their leaves in the spring and one of the last to lose them in the fall/winter.

Also – weeping willows are not ideal if planted next to sidewalks. It’s far too droopy and will block the path without constant trimming.

Weeping Willow Facts

  • Deciduous
  • Invasive shallow roots so don’t plant next to sidewalks or septic lines
  • Can grow 30-40 feet tall and wide so give them plenty of room
  • Grows up to 2 feet or more per year
  • Zones 6-8

Tulip Tree

A tulip poplar tree grows in a backyard next to a wooden fence.

This is another one that’s growing faster than I imagined. Tulip trees, also known as tulip poplars, can grow between 70-100 feet tall. They have a beautiful cone shape with dark green leaves and turn a beautiful golden-yellow color in the fall before they lose their leaves.

It’s not evergreen, but definitely worth planting if you’re looking for some fast shade. Give it plenty of room because it’s one of the fastest-growing and largest trees in North America.

Closeup of the leaves of a Tulip Poplar tree growing outside.

Tulip Poplar Facts

  • Mature height of 70-100 feet
  • Is actually a member of the Magnolia family of trees
  • Zones 4-9
  • Deciduous


A tall Holly bush grows by the side of a house in a landscaping plot.

Holly trees are beautiful and evergreen with pretty little red berries. Beware of the prickly leaves though. You can shape them into cones,  or prune them into square/rectangle hedges.

They can grow up to 3 feet per year and can reach 15-25 feet. An ideal privacy hedge or place them at the corners of your landscaping. There are several varieties – one of the most popular for hedges is the Nellie Stevens Holly.

Norway Spruce

Closeup of the branches of a Norway spruce tree with the sky in the background.

Make sure you have a large yard and plenty of room for the Norway Spruce to grow. It can grow up to 2 feet per year and can reach heights upwards of 50+ feet. It’s fairly self-sufficient after planting – it can tolerate heat, cold, dry conditions, and wet soil. A gorgeous evergreen that will give you years of shade.

Norway Spruce Facts

  • Can grow up to 2 feet per year
  • Mature height of 40-60 feet
  • Evergreen
  • Tolerates shade, sun, or partial sun
  • Zones 3-7
  • Can live over 100 years

Crape Myrtle

Closeup of the branch and flowers of a Crape Myrtle tree with a blurred background.

Depending on your zone, crape myrtle trees come in a wide variety of colors from white, purple, red, pink, lavender, and more. Some species like the Muskogee Crape Myrtle can potentially grow up to 5 feet per year reaching 15-25 feet tall, and you’ll have showy lavender flowers for months.

They are messy though – we have two in our front yard and when the wind blows it looks like lavender snow on the yard. 

A Crape Myrtle tree with pink blooms grows in a front yard by the sidewalk.

But they are stunning and fast growing. You can plant these close to driveways without fear. They need little care once established and provide beautiful somewhat droopy branches with beautiful bark.

Crape Myrtle Facts

  • Fast growing – can grow up to 5 feet per year
  • Can be planted next to driveways and sidewalks
  • Variety of colors including white, lavender, red, purple, and pink
  • Easy care once established
  • Ideal for zones 7-9 

Red Maple

Close-up of the branches and leaves of a red maple tree with blue sky peeking through.

Red Maples are stunning trees with fiery red leaves in the spring. They can grow up to 3 feet per year, so not quite as fast growing as some of the other trees on the list, but still impressive.

And what a visual show these are! Give them plenty of room to grow and they can live for over 50 years.

Red Maple Facts

  • Zones 3-10
  • Can grow up to 3 feet per year
  • Averages 40-50 feet tall
  • Deciduous
  • Can tolerate moist or dry soils
  • Don’t plant next to sidewalks or driveways due to a shallow root system
Close-up of the leaves of a red maple tree with a blurred background.

Blue Point Juniper

A blue point juniper tree grows outside with other trees in the background.

Blue Point Junipers are an excellent choice to add to your yard for privacy trees. They offer evergreen foliage and are easy to maintain and grow.

Blue Point Juniper Facts

  • Zones 4-9
  • Fast-growing and can reach a mature height of 12 feet tall and a width of 8 feet
  • Evergreen
  • Hardy and will thrive in well-drained soil
  • For best results, plant in full sun to partial shade

Shopping for Fast Growing Privacy Trees

If you don’t have a nursery close to you, there are tons of options to purchase fast growing privacy trees online.

Check out Planting Tree for Privacy Trees – they even have a coupon to use on your first visit.

Whatever you choose for fast growing privacy trees, check to make sure it’s appropriate for your planting zone. Farmers Almanac has terrific resources to find out exactly what zone you’re in and what can be planted.

Also, follow the proper planting guides when adding trees close to houses, septic lines, sidewalks, driveways, and other plants.

Nothing like planting a beautiful tree and then having to take it down because it’s too invasive for the space.

Gardening Supplies

Here are my top recommended and favorite planting and gardening supplies to help you create a gorgeous landscape, flower or vegetable garden.

Pinterest graphic with text that reads \"Gorgeous Fast Growing Privacy Trees\" with a collage of trees as the background.

Happy Planting – Pin for later!


Sunday 23rd of January 2022

Thank you so much! I would also add the cherry laurel. We planted 2 between our house and the neighbors’. They were maybe 4’ tall then and now, just 2 years later they are probably 12-15’! I was blown away at how fast they took off.

create and find

Tuesday 25th of January 2022

Oh wow! Thanks for the info - I will definitely add this one to the list. And we just moved and I'm looking for some different options. A Cherry Laurel might be perfect.


Sunday 10th of October 2021

Glad to see the native NA plant River Birch! I have one I bought from a big box store that did great in our flat and prone to flooding clay based yard. It is now about 20 or more feet in three years, and looks amazing! Just a note, the pictures you show of the maple are a kind of Japanese maple. The Red Maple, Acer rubrum, is a NA plant and quite different. I have both a Red Maple and a smaller Japanese Maple in a planting bed. The Red Maple can get bright red leaves in fall, has small red blossoms in early spring, but is green in leaf, and is good for wet areas.


Monday 3rd of April 2023

@Lori, I saw the same thing: that the pics are not red maple but Japanese maple. However, I do think red maple -- Acer rubrum -- is a fast grower

create and find

Saturday 16th of October 2021

Agree completely about the River Birch - it is a fantastic tree! And thanks for the info about the Maple.


Thursday 16th of September 2021

We're about to put in a row of river birches as privacy along a fence line. What spacing did you use on yours, and would you do it any differently today knowing how they've grown and filled in?


Monday 3rd of April 2023

@Jason, it depends on what your end goal is. Planting close, like a natural forest, will have the feeling of a grove you walk under where leaves are at the tops of the inner trees. Plant further apart and you'll have several individual trees with full branching (leaves and branches from low to high)

create and find

Wednesday 22nd of September 2021

Ours are spaced at least 20 feet and I'd do it again that way. They spread out a lot and you want to give them room. They are definitely some of my favorite trees!


Wednesday 28th of August 2019

Can crape myrtles be grown in containers?

create and find

Tuesday 3rd of September 2019

Not that I'm aware of. It would have to be a pretty large container since the trees can grow so big.

Kimmy Guascone

Friday 16th of August 2019

Thanks so much for all this information. I live in the UK 🇬🇧 and will try to find a couple of these trees.

create and find

Friday 16th of August 2019

That's great! I'd love to hear what you found for your particular area. Thanks for reading!