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5 USDA Zone 4 Privacy Trees To Keep Out Prying Eyes


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It can seem like a chore to find trees that grow well in colder climates, but I’ve compiled a list of USDA zone 4 privacy trees to help keep your yard more private.

Evergreens and pines make some of the best year-round privacy trees. However, many of them grow rather tall.

If you prefer something a bit shorter, I suggest looking into some privet hedges or privacy shrubs. That said, they typically require more maintenance.

5 Excellent Privacy Trees that Grow Well In USDA Zone 4

1. Canadian Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)

Canadian Hemlock
Image via Plant Image Library via Flickr

The Canadian Hemlock is one of many evergreen trees that grow well in zone 4, and they make excellent privacy trees. Suppose you’re in zones 3 through 8 and are looking for a tall, magnificent-looking privacy tree. In that case, the Canadian Hemlock might be for you. I love the way they look, and the fragrant needles are incredible.

Their soft, feathery, evergreen foliage is strong with a straight pyramidal silhouette. It grows nicely into an impressive pyramidal shape, supported by a single central solid trunk. The Canadian Hemlock’s short, dark green needles are delicately arranged along the branch’s stems, and they have a grayish-colored tint on the underside.

This privacy tree can be pruned and maintained to provide a more formal look, or you can allow them to grow naturally, and they’re equally as beautiful. The furrowed bark on older Canadian Hemlocks is a reddish-cinnamon color that looks incredible. These beautiful trees can live for hundreds of years.

This member of the Pine family is one of the only evergreen trees that can thrive in both sunny and partial-shade locations. While this tree does well in the sun, some say it doesn’t thrive in full sun during summer. That said, Hemlocks look incredible growing at the edge of the woods, and the growing conditions are generally perfect there.

Canadian or Eastern Hemlocks are an excellent cover for birds and other wildlife throughout the winter. Growing a single specimen gives landscapes a soft and graceful look. Still, when you’re looking for privacy, it’s best to use an informal grouping of 3, 5, or 7, which makes a beautiful backdrop.

Other Common Names: Eastern Hemlock

Growing Zones: 3 through 8

Average Size At Maturity: 60 to 70 feet tall with a 20 to 40-foot spread

2. Fat Albert Colorado Blue Spruce (Picea pungens ‘Fat Albert’)

These dramatic blue-green evergreen trees are easy to care for, and they don’t require any pruning. The symmetrical pyramidal form and excellent color consistency can create a beautiful privacy screen and windbreaker. Fat Alber Colorado Blue Spruce trees are native to the US and provide perfect shelter for wildlife, especially songbirds.

The thick, full, and chunky Fat Alberts are ideal for filling empty corners and bare spots, along with adding a bit of privacy for any property. Their geometric precision combined with the bold blue color is stunning. Not to mention, they make the perfect living Christmas tree. You can decorate them with all sorts of edible items like popcorn and dried fruit to give the critters something to eat during the winter when food becomes scarce.

While Fat Albert’s have the classic blue-green needles like a Blue Spruce, they’re not nearly as tall. They’re excellent in front yards and along borders. Use them in a row for a superb windbreak, sound barrier, and privacy screen. Like the Canadian Hemlock, the Fat Albert makes beautiful living Christmas trees minus the height.

Growing several of these trees creates a formal accent, but they also look magnificent when grown singularly. If you don’t need a privacy line on your property but want to block the view of a window, you can plant a single tree, and it will do the trick.

This Blue Spruce species is exceptionally hardy, and they show tolerance to various soil types. This includes alkaline and soil clays that can be challenging to grow numerous plants and trees. Fat Albert seems to easily tolerate road salts, oceanside salt spray, and urban pollution.

For the best results, Fat Albert trees prefer a location providing full sun and well-drained soil. They do not tolerate standing water, so it’s essential to plant them in a raised mound about 18 inches high in areas that need improved drainage.

Once Fat Albert Colorado Spruces are established, they have an incredible drought tolerance. Still, to keep them healthy, it’s recommended to supply them with water as needed. Mulching around the base will help keep the tree’s root system cool during the high summer temperatures. You’ll want to avoid planting this tree in a shaded location because it will affect the depth of the blue hue, and the tree will have fewer needles or bare limbs.

Other Common Names: Colorado Blue Spruce, Blue Spruce, Fat Albert

Growing Zones: 2 through 8

Average Size At Maturity: 30 to 40 feet tall with a 15 to 20-foot spread

3. Taylor Juniper (Juniperus virginiana ‘Taylor’)

Taylor Juniper trees are upright columnar evergreens that fit perfectly in small spaces. Speaking of columnar, did you know there are various columnar fruit trees that grow well in zone 4?

They make excellent privacy screens when grown in a row, and I find their beautiful silvery blue-green foliage better to look at than a fence. They make an incredible shelter for various birds, making them an excellent choice for avid bird-watcher or lovers.

Taylor Junipers are widely adaptable, extremely cold-hardy, and tolerate heat well. They never need pruning, which means less yard work for you. Taylor Junipers are an excellent choice with a slim, trim profile. They fit easily into those hard-to-plant locations in your yard. Something I love about this type of Juniper tree is they have dense bluish-green foliage with a silvery cast that looks incredible.

Not only do these trees provide safe and warm shelter for birds, but they absolutely enjoy snacking on the ornamental greenish-gray cones produced by the female trees. This Juniper is purportedly resistant to phomopsis Juniper blight (cedar apple rust).

Once your trees are established, they’ll only need water during the hottest times of the summer. Taylor Junipers tolerate poor soil types, including rocky soil. When it comes to winter, these trees will stand tall and healthy throughout some of the coldest temperatures of winter, surviving in temperatures down to -40℉.

Other Common Names: Eastern Red Cedar

Growing Zones: 3 through 9

Average Size At Maturity: 20 to 24 feet tall with a 2 to 3-foot spread

4. Austrian Pine (Pinus nigra)

Austrian Pine
Image by S. Rae via Flickr

Not only is the Austrian Pine a lovely privacy tree, but this variety makes excellent shade trees too. The dense evergreen screen has long needles that absorb sound from traffic and railroads, making it a lovely sound barrier.

Austrian Pines are fast-growing, and they have an excellent shape. They’re widely adaptable and road salt tolerant, so they can be grown by the roadside. This pine species can be used as ornamental trees and as part of restoration efforts. It’s not the only beautiful ornamental tree that thrives in USDA zone 4.

The strong evergreen branches of the Austrian Pine make excellent privacy screens to keep out prying eyes. They will also help protect your home from strong wind.

The Austrian Pine is a dark green variety that can add 3 feet or more of new growth in one season, making it another excellent fast-growing tree for zone 4. The tree’s fast growth rate is one of the various reasons for its gained popularity. The long, strong branches and dark-colored needles give growers something beautiful to look at year-round.

These evergreens are excellent for interchanges and urban roadways. The fact that they’re salt tolerant helps with placement, and they’re able to withstand dry conditions. While the spreading branches of this species produce a pyramidal outline when they’re young, they sometimes achieve a picturesque flat-top head when they mature.

The adaptability to environmental conditions of the Austrian Pine is one of the reasons it’s so hardy. It also explains why they can thrive so well in urban locations. These trees tolerate acidic or limestone soils, as well as rocky and windy locations. This pine’s durability allows it to thrive in any well-drained soil, including clay soils.

You’ll want to water them regularly as they establish, but once the roots are established in the soil, they’ll grow well in areas that are pretty dry, displaying a drought tolerance. However, during times of prolonged drought, they’ll require deep supplemental watering to avoid stressing your beautiful privacy tree.

Austrian Pine trees need at least 6 hours of sun a day. The more sun they get, the better their performance and health will be. It’s best to avoid pruning them, as they should be branched right to the ground. This means very little pruning is required unless you would like to shorten up new growth when the trees are younger. If you’d like your Austrian Pine to have a more dense and uniform outline, you can candle prune them in the spring.

Other Common Names: European Black Pine

Growing Zones: 3 through 8

Average Size At Maturity: 40 to 50 feet tall with a 25 to 35-foot spread

5. Vanderwolf’s Pyramid Limber Pine (Pinus flexilis ‘Vanderwolf’s Pyramid’)

The Vanderwolf’s Pyramid Limber Pine is adored by growers and gardeners for various reasons. The tree’s soft-deep-blue, twisting needles are rather unusual. This pine’s narrow width and pyramidal shape add a seemingly graceful height to almost any landscape.

The unique branching and deep color make this tree stand out in any landscape; it’s absolutely eye-catching. Vanderwolf’s Pyramid’s new growth starts out green, but as it matures into its signature twist, the needles transform into a blue-green color. The large decorative pine cones add appeal and make the bluish-green color stand out.

You can grow this pine singularly as an accent tree or plant them in a row for an attractive and simple privacy screen. If you are working with a smaller space, the Vanderwolf’s Pyramid Pine can be grown in containers on a patio or out in the yard. Did I mention that this tree is versatile in shape and size? If you prefer a denser tree, pinch out or break new growth in half.

The Vanderwolf’s Pyramid Limber Pine is low-maintenance and requires little care aside from minimal pruning. Once these trees are firmly rooted and established, they’re drought-tolerant. They have excellent pest and disease resistance, making growers’ jobs even more effortless. This pine species grows well in rocky areas and other locations many plants have a difficult time thriving in.

You should plant Vanderwolf’s Pyramid trees in a location that receives full sun and well-drained soil. Water them regularly and deeply until the first growing season; then, you can reduce the frequency once they become established.

Remember, the Vanderwolf’s Pyramid Pine requires very little pruning unless you wish to retain a denser and bushier shape. In that case, it’s best to candle the tree when it’s young by pinching an inch or two off of the ends of the new growth. This pruning process encourages more bud development.

Other Common Names: Limber Pine, Vanderwolf’s Pyramid, Vanderwolf’s Pyramid Pine

Growing Zones: 4 through 7

Average Size At Maturity: 20 to 30 feet tall with a 10 to 15-foot spread

Privacy Trees Excellent For Zone 4 Growing Zone

I don’t know many people that don’t appreciate their privacy. Prying eyes can be annoying and invasive. That said, you can try planting some private trees that grow well in your area to keep out unwanted prying eyes.

Before buying any plants or trees, I highly suggest checking the USDA growing zone map.

If you don’t want a row, simply plant a tree or two to block the views into your home’s windows. Several of the trees on this list grow well starting from zone 3, so you know they’re cold-hardy enough for USDA zone 4.

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