fasting growing trees for privacy > huge house next door

Palo Alto, CA

Seeking very fast growing 'upright' trees for privacy. Developer built a huge huge 2 story house next door > windows and balcony have direct line of sight INTO my home and garden. Want to plant along my side of fence. Palo Alto CA.

Thumbnail by norcalbeach
Karnes City, TX

I would plant bamboo--biggest I could manage financially. It's evergreen for year 'round privacy. I am working on a similar problem and what I finally decided.

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

Make sure if it's running bamboo that you put in root barriers so you don't wind up with it getting out of control.

In my neighborhood for similar situations I see a lot of Italian cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) They get very tall and are quite skinny and make a nice screen (I've got them between my house & my neighbors and they create great privacy. I'm not sure how fast they grow since mine were already fully grown when I moved in.

Palo Alto, CA

Thank you so very much for your advice.

Also looking at
1. Thuja green giants, otherwise known as Arborvitae green giants as I am advised such grows tall and very fast.

2. Leyland cypress (Cupressocyparis Leylandii) is an evergreen conifer with a mature height of about 50 feet. The fast-growing, columnar tree is popular for creating private hedges.

3. Lombardy Poplar -(populus nigra 'Italica')

Would greatly appreciate your thoughts... Thank you!!!

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

The poplar is deciduous and I would think you'd want something evergreen (unless you just want to prevent views of your yard in the warmer months) I have no experience with the other two so I couldn't tell you if they'd be better options than the Italian cypress or not. I do think the Italian cypress tends to be a little narrower than the other two, so while that would mean you'd need to plant a few more in a row to make a good privacy screen, if it's a narrow area and you still need to be able to walk between your fence and your house it could be a better option. My Italian cypresses are in a very narrow side yard so anything wider than them would make the area impassable. From what I can tell from your picture it looks like your area is pretty narrow too so that may be an important consideration.

Hendersonville, NC(Zone 7a)

I planted Leland Cypress for a noise barrier between house and highway. They've grown over 1 foot since March. Very pleased with their height!

Palo Alto, CA

Thank you ecrane3 and springsntwigs!!!

So... Cypress and Thuja as I certainly do want a screen year round. I very much appreciate your expertise!
I have looked now at pictures of the Italian Cypress and I am a bit concerned that the 'top' will not 'mesh' together to form a full screen unless I plant such very close together and the websites inform such is not advised.
I am attempting to screen a really huge building as the developer built within 12 inches of needing to have 4 permanent parking spaces on the lot.
Does anyone have any experience with Podacarpus? Some bloggers love it ...others hate it... doesn't seem to be a middle ground except that all claim such provides a wonderful screen.

Again, thank you so very much!!

Shawnee Mission, KS(Zone 6a)

I have thuja green giant in my yard. Here is the mature height/width for them plus pictures.

Leland cypress

Agree think about what kind of room you have and how close to the fence and house you can get. Still have to paint and maintain both of those.

Another quicker option for privacy is to put a arbor on top of the fence. I've also seen a case where there were restrictions on the height of the fence put not on an arbor inside the fence.

Did the builder violate any building codes in your area? Seems rather close to your property. We have a 30 foot setback rule in our neighborhood.

Shawnee Mission, KS(Zone 6a)

We have a ranch with two story houses on a couple of sides. One of the things that we did was take a painting extention pole, set it to a specific height, walk around the yard with it, and check to see what locations it blocked the view of the windows in the other houses. We also did a check on the location from the inside of the house also. That helped us determine the following things while working on getting more proivacy in the yard: the height, location, and number of trees that we needed.

Palo Alto, CA

Thank you all so very very very much for all the information!

Cupressocyparis leylandii is being ordered to be planted all along the fence.

Susan, I now have rec'd an email from the City of Palo Alto granting me permission to extend lattice an additional 4 feet in height from top of fence. I am very grateful for your suggestions !


Shawnee Mission, KS(Zone 6a)

I sent you an email about some possible issues surrounding the problems with the new building. Please check into these.

Palo Alto, CA

Hi Norcalbeach-

We have neighbor/privacy issues too and in some areas plants won't work and would like to have privacy with higher lattice and would love to know the process from you with getting to put up your 4 foot lattice as we happen to also be in P.A. and have a hard time figuering out the codes etc. Would love to talk to you (off line? since not really about plants) or get a forum msg back about your comment re. putting up lattice.How tall was the base fence? Standard is 7feet unless there are unusual circumstances, but not sure if lattice would count toward this height. Hope to hear from you! thanks.

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

I think the overall things to consider are the 10-20 year growth of hight AND root area, depending on your choice of tree, most tree's have a root area that covers about half the final hight.
You should also remember that while you want to block out the view of YOUR OWN property from the neighbours, you have to make sure you don't give yourself the headache of blocking out sun and light from yourselves as the trees once mature after about 10 years, will have a huge root coverage that COULD effect the foundations of your OWN home and IF damaged, your building insurance just might not cover ant repairs required as it was you who chose the trees and in particular, very large growing trees, so you should always choose with great care, what you may consider a quick fix for a very selfish act from the folks next door, you really have to search very carefully to do a long tern solutions instead of a disaster maybe 6-10 years later.

We have a huge problem here in UK with hedges grown for the very reason you have to try solve, but the people who plant the trees soon move on and the new folks don't realise what is growing and another few years later foundations are cracking, neighbours are living in darkness or have lights on day and night, or the ground is so parched from the roots that drains are broken which is also costly to fix.

MY advice is like some of the other folks above, take great care finding your solutions or you could live to regret it.

Hope things come out well for you as I really do sympathies, good luck. WeeNel.

League City, TX

The local nursery recommended a multi-trunked Carottwood Tree for south Houston, Texas area. They are banned in Florida and now I am concerned about this tree for my area. Does anyone have knowledge of this tree in Texas?

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

It isn't listed as occurring in the wild in TX, so I suspect it wouldn't be invasive in your area. (sometimes the process of officially declaring things invasive & eventually banning them if they're bad enough lags way behind the plant actually causing problems in a given area, but since it isn't even reported as occurring in the wild at all in TX that suggests it's probably not going to be a big problem in your area. If it was going to be an invasive problem, I would expect to see at least some recorded occurrences somewhere closer to you than Florida).

But, that being said, it's always nice to look for something that's native to your area (that guarantees it won't be invasive, plus it maximizes the chances that it will actually be happy in your climate...and in TX you have a tough climate so that could be a big benefit). Or at the very least look for an introduced species that doesn't have any bad press anywhere, that way you know you're not contributing to a potential future problem.

Opp, AL(Zone 8b)

Well said, ecrane!

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