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Fast Growing Evergreen Shrubs

Privacy Hedges in Winter, Too, With Evergreens


Photo of yew berry or

Photo of yew berry or "aril."

David Beaulieu

No article about fast growing shrubs for privacy hedges would be complete without providing examples of fast growing evergreen shrubs that tolerate cold winters. The advantage that evergreens have when it comes to privacy hedges is, of course, the fact that they can serve as four-season privacy hedges, since their leaves don't drop in autumn.

Arborvitae: 'Green Giant' a Fast Growing Evergreen Shrub; 'Emerald Green' Slower, but Compact

There are many kinds of arborvitae, and they do not all exhibit the same rate of growth. Therefore, not all arborvitaes are equally suited for use in privacy hedges. A good choice for privacy hedges is 'Green Giant,' a fast grower. But 'Green Giant' is just that, reaching 50-60 feet tall (with a spread of 12-20 feet). If you want a bush that's more compact and don't mind waiting a bit longer, 'Emerald Green' arborvitae is another option. The latter usually reaches just 12'-14', with a spread of 3'-4'. Its foliage comes in flat sprays and, if you look closely, the needles appear covered in scales. To learn more about this arborvitae, click the link below:

Green Giant vs. Emerald Green Arborvitae

Yew: Fast Growing Evergreen Shrubs

An advantage that yews have over many similar evergreens is that these shade plants will thrive in north-facing foundation plantings, no matter how sunlight-deprived. If you have small children, make sure they don't eat the berries: their toxic seeds qualify yews as poisonous plants. To learn more about yews, click the link below:


Hemlocks: Fast Growing Evergreen Shrubs

Whether you think of hemlock as a tree or shrub may well depend on where you live. If you dwell in a rural area of North America, you probably know hemlock as a towering tree. But some of the finest privacy hedges I've seen in suburbia are composed of scaled-down hemlocks. To learn more about hemlock, click the link below:


On Page 4 we'll look at some additional plants people sometimes consider for privacy hedges, due to their ability to grow fast. Fast growers or not, though, you'll want to avoid them, as they are firmly root on invasive plants lists....

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