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6 Best Privacy Trees for Idaho to Complete Your Oasis


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Privacy is important for feeling at home in a place. In order to truly relax and recharge, sometimes we need to disconnect from our modern lives and reconnect to the natural.

Instead of building a wall or a fence, why not plant a living structure for your privacy needs? Trees can not only block out unwanted sights, and minimize noise pollution, but can also turn your backyard into a veritable oasis. So instead of buying a wall why not plant one?

Just be sure to check the hardiness map of Idaho before planting.

6 Excellent Privacy Trees that Grow Well in Idaho

1. Green Giant Arborvitae (Thuja plicata x standishii ‘Green Giant’)

The Green Giant is fast-growing, capable of putting on 3-5 ft of growth a year once established. It’s perfect for blocking out views of neighbors or the street, and its dense growth habit serves to limit noise.

The foliage is thick, dark green, and remains present all year round. The Green Giant Arborvitae grows in a symmetrical form, meaning you don’t have to worry about maintenance unless you want to train them into a hedge.

Green Giant Arborvitaes will grow in almost any soil, including sandy loams or heavy clays, in full sun or partial shade.

Other Common Names: Arborvitae

Growing Zones: 5-8

Average Size at Maturity: 30-50 ft tall 12-15 ft wide

Flowering Season: N/A

2. Canadian Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)

Canadian Hemlock
Image by F. D. Richards via Flickr

The Canadian Hemlock is a tall evergreen tree that thrives in partial shade but can tolerate full sun. It can grow in regions too cold for many other trees and also withstand heat. Thanks to its central trunk, pyramidal shape, and languorous feather-like foliage, it features a gorgeous silhouette. The needles are dark green with a greyish underside.

Planted densely, the Canadian Hemlock will provide a dense privacy hedge that can also protect your home or garden from strong winds and noise.

Other Common Names: Eastern Hemlock, Eastern Hemlock Spruce

Growing Zones: 3-7

Average Size at Maturity: 35-35 ft tall and 25-35 ft wide

Flowering Season: May

3. Blue Princess Holly (Ilex x meserveae ‘Blue Princess’)

Blue Princess Holly
Image via Nature Hills

The Blue Princess Holly provides dense, blue-green, evergreen foliage and ornamental red berries, provided there’s a male pollinator close by. The teeth have wide edges and teeth and remain evergreen throughout the year. They are hardy in both hot and cold climates, so can thrive in most of the state of Idaho.

Pollinated females provide small red berries in the fall that persist into the winter or until eaten by the birds. They look unbeatable when covered in snow, and are often used for Christmas decorations.

Plant the Blue Princess Holly in moist, organically rich slightly acidic soils. They’ll also tolerate sandy soils and heavy clays, full sun, or partial shade. Flowers and berries are borne on second-year growth.

Other Common Names: Meserve Holly, and Blue Holly

Growing Zones: 5-9

Average Size at Maturity: 10-15 ft tall and 8-10 ft wide

Flowering Season: Early spring

4. Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii)

Pseudotsuga menziesii
Image by Matt Lavin via Flickr

The Douglas Fir is a large native tree grown for timber but is also suited for the home landscape. It grows best in areas with hot summers and cold winters, in full sun and grows into a pyramidal shape as it matures.

While in the wild Douglas Firs can tower to 300 ft in height, there are smaller varieties suited to the home landscape. They should have one strong central leader so young trees with two should be pruned. Other than that, they look best when left alone, so plant them in an area large enough to accommodate them.

The Douglas Fir is monoecious, with both male and female strobili on the same tree. The cones are long, brownish/red with pronounced bracts between the scales. It’s one of the fastest-growing evergreens around, capable of growing 3 ft a year, making it perfect as a privacy tree. Plant in well-drained moist soil.

Other Common Names: Blue Douglas Fir, Bigcone Spruce, Doug Fir, Oregon Pine, Douglas Spruce, Douglas Tree, False Spruce

Growing Zones: 4-6

Average Size at Maturity: 50-60 ft tall and 20-30 ft wide

Flowering Season: N/A

5. White Fir (Abies concolor)

white fir tree
Image by F. D. Richards via Flickr

The White Fir is a coniferous native evergreen planted extensively in parks and public areas. It’s native to mountain slopes in the Western US, between 3000-9000 feet in elevation. It features blue/grey needles, ½ to 3” in length, that curve upwards.

It grows in a pyramidal shape and is popular as a Christmas tree. The cones are oblong, 3-6” long and change from olive green to purple to brown upon maturity. It’s an important wildlife tree for both food and shelter.

The White Fir is exceptionally hardy, capable of thriving on harsh sites, making it seriously low maintenance once established.

Other Common Names: Concolor Fir

Growing Zones: 4-7

Average Size at Maturity: 30-50 ft tall and 15-20 ft wide

Flowering Season: N/A

6. Upright Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum)

upright juniper
Image by USDA NRCS Montana via Flickr

The Upright Juniper is a tough, hardy, drought and heat-tolerant tree, perfect as a privacy hedge or screen for the drier parts of ID. It features a short trunk and several main limbs with a rounded to columnar shape.

Juvenile foliage has a whitish coat, whereas adult foliage is light green to dark bluish. The cones are berry-like, dark blue, round, and are covered in a white film, opening in their second year.

The Upright Juniper has a narrow crown and features drooping branches and aromatic wood.

Other Common Names: Rocky Mountain Juniper, Rocky Mountain Red Cedar, River Juniper, Colorado Red Cedar, and Western Juniper

Growing Zones: 3-7

Average Size at Maturity: 30-40 ft tall and 10-15 ft wide

Flowering Season: April – May

Living Privacy Screens

Trees provide innumerable benefits to the world and the home environment. Tall dense evergreen trees can serve as living privacy screens and block out neighbors’ and passer by’s peering eyes.

Trees absorb more sounds and wind than simple wooden fences and will also continuously sequester carbon back into the earth.

There are many different types of trees you could choose for your privacy screen in ID, just make sure you do your research beforehand to ensure your success.

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