Leyland cypress trees are fast-growing evergreens that make desirable tree screens to protect your privacy and to shield against wind damage. With foliage from the ground up, leyland cypress trees offer maximum screen protection. Alternatives for a leyland cypress tree screen should include evergreen trees with similar growth patterns.
Thuja Green Giant
With thick foliage from the ground up, the thuja green giant is also the fastest-growing evergreen tree available. Established thuja green giants can grow up to 5 feet annually, 2 feet more than the average growth of a leyland cypress. Mature heights are 20 feet with 5 feet spreads, as opposed to the potential 50 foot heights and 25 foot spreads of the leyland cypress. The screen spread can be the same, but you'll need more thujas than leyland cypress trees to cover the same ground.
Many types of juniper trees have evergreen foliage that is suitable for a living privacy and wind screen. As an alternative to the leyland cypress, specific juniper cultivars such as cologreen, spartan, moonglow, grey gleam and spearmint exhibit dense growth patterns. Mature heights of these evergreen trees range from 12 to 15 feet. Spreads can span from 5 to 8 feet. Like the leyland cypress, junipers will grow in areas with partial sun, but they thrive in full sun. Select specific juniper cultivars based on the desired shape of the screen and on your hardiness zone. Spearmint, grey gleam and spartan are conical shaped, whereas moonglow and cologreen are broadly columnar. Leyland cypress trees are hardy in zones 6 through 10, but the various species of junipers are hardy in zones 3 through 9.
Black Hills Spruce
Another dense evergreen that you can use as an alternative to the leyland cypress are black hills spruce trees. These trees have a medium growth rate, slightly less than the leyland cypress, but they reach a mature height of 40 to 60 feet with spreads of up to 25 feet. Like leyland cypress, black hills spruce trees are conical in shape. Where leyland cypress foliage ranges in colour from soft green to dark blue green, black hills spruce trees have short, dark green needles year-round. You can grow black hills spruce trees in zones 2 through 6.