7 Best Privacy Trees for USDA Zone 8 Gardeners

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Written By Shannon Campbell

Off-Grid Gardener & Food Forager

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Home » USDA Zone 8 » 7 Best Privacy Trees for USDA Zone 8 Gardeners

Most of us want our homes to feel like an oasis, where we can enjoy peace and security away from the noise and prying eyes of the outside world.

The best way to achieve this in USDA zone 8 is with the use of privacy trees.

Privacy trees can be planted in rows, to form a screen, or as a single tree to block an unsightly view or shield a bedroom window.

While evergreen trees in zone 8 typically make the best privacy screens due to their year-round foliage, some deciduous flowering trees with dense branching patterns can be a good fit too.

There are a number of privacy trees that grow well in USDA hardiness zone 8. If you’re planning to plant some on your property, consider these appealing zone 8 privacy trees.

7 Privacy Trees For Zone 8 Properties

1. Italian Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)

Italian Cypress trees
Image by Garden tourist via Flickr

The stately, slender Italian cypress is guaranteed to add a touch of Mediterranean elegance to your landscape.

You’ll feel like you’re walking through the Tuscan countryside with these tall trees lining your driveway or flanking the entrance to your property. With their narrow and columnar shape, they are often planted on estates or in formal gardens.

Despite its very narrow form, the Italian cypress’ dense branching and blue-green evergreen foliage make it an ideal candidate for a tall skinny privacy hedge or screen

. Just plant each tree five feet apart to form a solid barrier. Otherwise, it is most often used as a focal point, property line, backdrop, and accent.

This evergreen privacy tree is adaptable to varying soil types, but will not tolerate compact soil – well-draining is a must! Full to partial sun, and sandy or loamy soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH is ideal for the Italian cypress.

Other Common Names: Common Cypress, Mediterranean Cypress

Growing Zones: 7-10

Average Size at Maturity: 50-60 feet tall, with a 4-5 foot spread

Fruiting Season: Fall

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

2. Flowering Dogwood (Cornus Florida)

Pink Flowering Dogwood
Image by Arlington National Cemetery via Flickr

At first sight, the flowering dogwood may not seem like the most inspired choice for a privacy tree as it is deciduous. This Eastern US native is best known for its profuse blossoms that blanket its branches in spring, but it also has dense foliage that provides ideal cover from spring til fall, and its horizontally spreading, layered branching habit can also block views in winter.

For this reason, the flowering dogwood makes an effective single-privacy tree, particularly outside of a window in your home. As well as obscuring your neighbor’s view, it will provide four seasons of interest in your landscape due to its blossoms, dark textured bark, and stunning red and orange fall color. It can also be used as an anchor, specimen, patio tree, or small shade tree.

The flowering dogwood is mostly pest and disease free and relatively unfussy, with its only major preference for moist, well-draining soil.

Other Common Names: Florida Dogwood, False Boxwood, False Box, American Dogwood, Indian Arrowwood, Cornelian Tree, Blood Twig Dogwood, North American Green Osier

Growing Zones: 5-9

Average Size at Maturity: 15-30 feet tall, with a 15-20 foot spread

Flowering Season: Spring

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

3. Nellie Stevens Holly (Ilex x ‘Nellie R. Stevens’ )

Nellie Stevens Holly
Image via Nature Hills

Holly trees are an easy option for gardeners seeking a helpful evergreen, and the Nellie Stevens cultivar is one of the most popular of the bunch.

With its fast-growth rate (3 feet per year), dense, glossy year-round foliage, and neat pyramidal growth habit that needs very little pruning or attention, it is an exceptional choice of privacy tree for your zone 8 property.

According to the University of Florida Gardening Solutions, the Nellie Stevens is a particularly good choice for southern states, which is handy since many southern states contain areas that fall under USDA zone 8!

This tree will thrive in moderately hot and humid climates. Plant it as a formal or pyramidal screen or hedge, and watch as its white flowers and bright fall berries attract birds and pollinators to your property.

Plant the Nellie Stevens in full sun or partial shade, in an area with slightly acidic, well-draining soil.

Other Common Names: Nellie R Stevens Holly, Nelly Stevens Holly

Growing Zones: 6-9

Average Size at Maturity: 15-25 feet tall, with an 8-12 foot spread

Fruiting Season: Fall

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

4. Hicks Yew (Taxus x media ‘Hicksii’)

Hicks Yew Trees
Image by F. D. Richards via Flickr

The yew tree is another classic evergreen used throughout American domestic landscapes, and the Hicks’ cultivar is one of the most successful of the bunch. This handy little evergreen has a narrow form that grows in thick bushels of bright green needles, forming the perfect privacy screen or hedge.

This tall evergreen shrub has a narrow and columnar growth habit, and at 10-15 feet it is the ideal height to lend privacy to any property. It is naturally low maintenance, needing only light pruning once a year to keep its shape in the landscape. The Hicks yew can also be used as an anchor plant or backdrop.

Zone 8 is the limit that a Hicks Yew tree can grow in, so choose a location that grants partial shade, particularly in the afternoon to protect it from the harshest periods of summer sun. Some mulching may help but otherwise, it is a very adaptable plant.

Other Common Names: Hicks’s Yew

Growing Zones: 4-8

Average Size at Maturity: 8-12 feet tall, with a 2-3 foot spread

Fruiting Season: Early to Late Fall

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

5. Atlantic White Cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides)

Atlantic White Cedar tree
Image by F. D. Richards via Flickr (exact cultivar ‘Shiva’)

Commonly known as swamp cedar, the Atlantic White Cedar was once found growing throughout the swamplands of Eastern North America. This tree was found to be highly useful in shipbuilding among other enterprises, which led to its scarcity in the wild.

Today, these tall, narrow evergreens have found a place in urban and rural landscaping as an effective privacy screen. Not only does their foliage remain thick and lively throughout the year, but the tops of the trees have a tendency to intertwine, creating an even thicker barrier.

Plant this cedar in a damp part of your landscape – failing that, choose a spot with moist, rich soil. Full sunlight and acidity are preferred. While the Atlantic White Cedar is easy to grow, it certainly isn’t easy to find.

Interested zone 8 gardeners should know that it may take extra time to procure this tree, and it is most likely to be found in specialty nurseries.

Other Common Names: Swamp Cedar, Boat Cedar, Post Cedar, Southern White Cedar

Growing Zones: 4-8

Average Size at Maturity: 30-60 feet tall, with a 6-15 foot spread

Fruiting Season: Winter

6. Waxleaf Privet (Ligustrum japonicum ‘Texanum’)

Waxleaf Privet tree
Image via Nature Hills

Attractive and versatile, the Waxleaf Privet is another great candidate for a privacy tree for zone 8 gardeners. Named for the gorgeous sheen of its deep green leaves, the Waxleaf also produces fragrant white blossoms in spring, making it a useful ornamental too.

Plant Waxleaf trees a few feet apart to establish a broad evergreen privacy hedge with an impressive density that will keep out nosy neighbors and even block strong winds, sheltering your home and other smaller plants and trees.

The Waxleaf grows naturally as a shrub but can also be pruned into a tree, though it won’t provide ideal privacy. It can also be used as a topiary or as a container plant.

The Waxleaf Privet has an amazing ability to survive harsh conditions, an appealing feature for beginner gardeners. As well as being adaptable to most soil types it is resistant to most pests and diseases, salt spray, and drought.

Other Common Names: Wax-Leaf Privet, Glossy Privet, Tall-Glossy Privet

Growing Zones: 7-11

Average Size at Maturity: 8-10 feet tall, with a 4-6 foot spread

Flowering Season: Spring

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

7. Emerald Green Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis ‘Smaragd’)

Emerald Green Arborvitae
Image via Nature Hills

Any US gardener looking for privacy trees will invariably come across the arborvitae, and the Emerald Green Arborvitae is near the top of the list. This evergreen is known for its incredibly vibrant foliage, keeping your garden lively and fresh throughout the year. Its soft foliage also helps to add some texture to your property.

Above all, its dense pyramidal form is perfect for use as a lush privacy screen or hedge. It can also be used as a backdrop, accent, foundation plant and to fill in small spaces throughout your property. Since it grows up to only 15 feet maximum with a very narrow form, it is most appropriate for smaller spaces.

When planting the Emerald Green Arborvitae in zone 8, choose a place that gets adequate shade in the afternoon. It prefers rich, well-draining soil with a neutral pH but is otherwise fairly adaptable. According to the Washington State University Extension, the most important thing is to keep it adequately watered until established.

Other Common Names: Smaragd

Growing Zones: 4-8

Average Size at Maturity: 10-15 feet tall, with a 3-4 foot spread

Fruiting Season: Summer

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

Enjoy Your Privacy

Shield your home from prying eyes with these gorgeous evergreen and deciduous privacy trees that grow very well in USDA hardiness zone 8. From the super elegant Italian cypress to the more modest but endlessly useful Hicks Yew, gardeners have an excellent range to choose from.

And privacy trees are only the beginning – read on for more of the most popular trees for landscaping in zone 8.

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Photo of author

Shannon Campbell

Off-Grid Gardener & Food Forager

Shannon has always loved looking after trees and plants since as long as she can remember. She grew up gardening with her family in their off-grid home and looking after her neighbor's plant nursery. As a child she also participated in native tree replanting, and as an adult has volunteered in reforestation programs in northern Vietnam. Today, she puts her horticultural efforts into tending her vegetable and herb gardens, and learning about homesteading and permaculture. When she’s not reading, writing, and gardening, she’ll be out fishing and foraging for edible flora and fungi in the countryside around her home.

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