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Scott Cohen's Top 10 Plants For Privacy Screening
1. Fern Pine (Podocarpus gracilior) - Not in the pine family at all, Podocarpus is an evergreen tree available grown in a columnar form. Leaf drop is light is inconspicuous.
2. Ficus microcarpa nitida 'Green Gem' - Deep green waxy leaves and dense growing habit make this an ideal tree for screening. Planted in columnar form this tree can reach 20' or be easily maintained at a shorter height with bi-monthly pruning. 'Green Jem' variety is cross bred with ficus benjamina and less likely to get infested with Cuban Laurel Thrips, insects that love to eat the standard ficus varieties. Plan to use root barriers when planting ficus close to walls or structures as these roots can become massive over time.
3. Carolina Cherry (Prunus caroliniana) Great in coastal areas, this tree can be puned as a 20' hedge and reaches 40; when allowed to grow untrimmed.
4. Wax Leaf Privet (Ligustrum texanum) - This evergreen shrub can be a 10' high narrow hedge. Privet responds well to pruning and can take any shape you choose. This plant is used often to create artistic topiary.
5. Sweet Olive (Osmanthus fragrans) - This shrub has similar growth habits as the Wax Leaf Privet although the foliage is not quite as dense and requires a little more training to keep a tight hedge. This shrub is very fragrant with tiny inconspicuous white flowers that smell terrific! Think "freesia" or "apricot blossoms".
6. Eugenia - Watch for psyllids and treat early with system insect control, deep watering and regular fertilization
7. Viburnum japonicum - 10-20' tall with large glossy leaves
8. Italian Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) Narrow columnar to 60'
9. Purple Hopseed Bush (Dodonea viscosa 'Purporea') 6-15' tall
10.Photinia fraserii - shurb or small tree to 10-15' tall