Screening trees

Screening trees are generally used to hide, or shield an undesirable view, or to create some privacy.

These tree often have a clear stem to reach up to fence panel height of around 1.8-2m with a full-bushy canopy above. This type of screening is particularly useful if you are overlooked by neighbouring properties, would like to draw the eye towards a specific feature, or would like to retain lower level exposure i.e. of an attractive wall or area. We can also supply feathered trees that have full growth from the ground upwards and offer the same screening ability.

Generally, evergreens are preferred for this purpose and can be planted densely to achieve maximum effect from the offset. However, planting a selection of trees, if space allows, can provide rich contrast and seasonal interest.

1. Carpinus betulus / Hornbeam

Hornbeam ‘Festigiata’ (Carpinus betulus ‘Fastigiata’)
Hornbeam screening (Carpinus betulus)
Hornbeam screen 4m high
Mature Hornbeam Fastigiate

Due to it’s ability to regenerate after pruning, this popular deciduous tree is ideal for providing screening, whether in pleached, or as a natural fastigate/column. It has a very vertical trunk with smooth dark-grey bark and the leaves are a fresh green colour in spring and turn golden yellow in the autumn. Carpinus betulus is hardy and can be planted in sun or shade and in all soil types.

2. Populus nigra Italica / Lombardy Poplar

Populus nigra Italica
Populus nigra Italica autumn

The Lombardy Poplar is a narrowly columnar deciduous tree and makes a good specimen for screening and riverbank tree. Its a fine architectural tree with bright green ovate leaves and crimson male catkins before the leaves open in early spring. Populus nigra Italica thrives on most soils including those prone to lying wet in winter.

3. Quercus robur Fasitgiata Koster / Cypress Oak

English Oak (Quercus robur ‘Fastigiata’)
English Oak (Quercus robur ‘Fastigiata’)
English Oak (Quercus robur ‘Fastigiata’)

Quercus robur Fastigiata Koster is a fiercely upright variety of oak, forming a tightly regular and narrow crown making it perfect for restricted spaces. This pretty tree has a deeply lobed, glossy green leaf which is characteristic of its parent; the foliage turns golden brown in the autumn and will remain on the tree throughout the winter period in less exposed conditions

4. Cupressocyparis leylandii / Leyland Cypress

Leylandii feathered
Leylandii clear stem
Leylandii provides great screening

Leylandii  is a very large and extremely vigourous species which provides an effective screening.  Mature height 25-30m, with a spread of 3-5m. Plant in full sun and is tolerant of most soils, prefering well drained, moderately dry to moist.

5. Prunus laurocerasus / Cherry Laurel

Cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) feathered
Cherry laurel clear stem
Cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) pleached
Cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) foliage
Elveden Instant Hedge Cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus)

Cherry Laurel is popularly used for screening due to its upright and bushy habit. It produces small, sweet-smelling, white flowers, which grow in vertical racemes, about 12 cm tall. It also produces a small, cherry-like fruit, which, like the rest of the tree, is poisonous and can be harmful if consumed. We sell this in pleached form, which is excellent for screening in smaller gardens and also as part of our Elveden Instant Hedge. Plant in sun to shade, prefers moist slightly acidic cultivated soil.

6. Quercus ilex / Holm Oak

Holly Oak (Quercus Ilex) feathered
Holly Oak (Quercus Ilex) pleached
Holly Oak (Quercus Ilex)
Holly Oak (Quercus Ilex) clear stem

Holm, or Holly, Oak ia a very popular evergreen tree with a dense ovoid crown becoming rounded later in age, it has leathery serrated holly-like leaves. Quercus ilex regenerates very well after pruning, eventually creating a dense all year round screen. Its a robust, hardy tree can be can be planted in most soil types including calcareous, sandy and clay; in coastal regions and is tolerant of urban pollution and dry soil. Mature height 25 metres

7. Thuja plicata / Western Red Cedar

Thuja plicata
Thuja plicata 'Excelsa'
Thuja plicata
Thuja plicata Excelsa
Thuja plicata clear stem

Mature height 20-25 metres with a spread of up to 5 metres. An impressive, fast growing, narrow, vertical and densely branched conifer tree. Glossy dark-green scales very aromatic. Thuja grows shallow roots with a tough dense network. Plant in sun to light shade in all types of soil. Thuja is usually frost hardy is sensitive to draught but tolerant of urban pollution.

8. Thuja occidentalis Brabant / white cedar

Thuja occidentalis Brabant

The White Cedar naturally grows into a compact, conical habit with slightly drooped branches. Its light green leaves are almost scaly and grow in flat sprays and produce long, thin, yellowish-green cones that become brown when ripe. It has a reddish-brown bark that peels off in thin strips. Due to its dense habit this tree is ideal for privacy screening. It is a highly tolerant tree and can grow in most conditions. The RHS has given this tree an Award of Merit.