Fast Growing Shrubs

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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You don't need to be a professional garden designer to create an intimate garden retreat in a corner of your property. Nor does it take a bricklayer or fence builder to build an effective privacy wall. Shrubs that grow quickly, flowering vines, and ornamental trees are integral to that first line of defense against an unsightly view, a glaring sun, or a public access road.

Building a Living Wall

After all, while stone, wood, brick, or stucco walls will certainly shield you from passers by and create a sense of privacy, they have decided disadvantages as well. You're imprisoned in several respects. You can't see out if you want to. Breezes are blocked, which cuts both ways of course, but is usually more of a disadvantage. Sunlight is restricted. The cost of construction is significant. The advantages of careful design and planting, however, far outweigh any perceived disadvantages.

One effective strategy is to pair fast growing shrubs with slower growing plants, whether shrubs or trees. River birch, for example, shoots up rather quickly, as do forsythia and Chinese dogwoods and Chollipo (Euonymus japonicus). Training the quick growers into ornamental tree-size plantings, rather than undertaking the constant pruning work needed to keep them at shrub level, is another option.

If quick results are important, a temporary trellis or arbor with Confederate jasmine, trumpet honeysuckle, or Virginia creeper will create a colorful and nicely scented screen until your box or holly or evergreen hedge, for example, reach the height you envision. Quick growing shrubs include Carolina cherry laurel, a broad-leafed evergreen that reaches perhaps 25 feet at maturity; Leyland cyprus, which takes readily to pruning and grows as much as three to four feet a year; and Japanese plum, which grows sadly only in warmer climates.

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