Whether you want a windbreak or a quick privacy hedge to block the neighbours' view of your back yard, you might consider the thuja--pronounced THOO-yuh. The fast-growing thuja hedge-plants available in nurseries are variations of the giant-cedar--a timber tree native to North America. According to the University of Florida Environmental Horticulture Department, a giant-cedar can reach 200 feet in height in the wild. Thuja trees are evergreen, with fragrant, dark green needles. The strong horizontal branches cast dense shade beneath the tree.
Thuja Picata Green Giant
According to Conifer Gardens Nursery, the Thuja Green Giant Hybrid has become "the most desired privacy tree almost overnight." An easy tree to grow, the Green Giant thrives in almost any soil. It is relatively pest and disease free, deer resistant and is hardy in zones five to nine. Perhaps its leading attribute is its growth rate: it quickly achieves 25 to 30 feet tall, averaging between three and four feet per year.
Thuja occidentalis Emerald Green
The Emerald Green Thuja is another popular choice for quick-growing hedges, according to Brighter Blooms. Once established, the tree is drought tolerant and requires no trimming. It is less tall and less wide than the Green Giant, more appropriate for a narrower hedge. It will reach eight to 12 feet at a rate of about one to two feet a year.
Thuja Plicata Fastigiata
The thuja plicata "Fastigiata" is tall; if left untrimmed, it generally achieves 50 to 70 feet in height at a rate of 16 feet its first 10 years. The University of Florida Environmental Horticulture Department reports that the Fastigiata tolerates shearing well, and, because of its narrow crown, works well in hedges close to buildings. It thrives in full sun or partial shade on moist soil and has no particular pest-enemies.