If year-round color, privacy, and shade are important criteria for your yard, evergreens are a good choice. There are several fast-growing varieties that can fill in your yard quickly and create natural barriers or fences, as well as windbreaks.
We hand-picked a few evergreens that are known to thrive in the North Texas region.
The Leyland Cypress is a fast-growing evergreen tree that grows well in a variety of soil types. It can grow up to three feet a year, topping out at 70 feet in maturity with a base up to 20 feet.
The Leyland Cypress makes an excellent windbreak and provides 12 months of color. It can provide a dense barrier, and can be pruned annually without damaging the tree.
This tree needs six or more hours of direct sunlight and is drought tolerant once it is established. It grows in agricultural zones 6-10. North Texas is in agricultural zone 8.
Eastern White Pine
While most pine trees prefer a cooler climate, the Eastern White Pine can grow well up to zone 8, which includes North Texas. With its long, slender blue-green needles and classic Christmas tree looks, it makes an attractive addition to any yard.
Eastern White Pines grow up to 2 feet per year, reaching a height of 50-80 feet at maturity with a base ranging from 20-40 feet. They prefer acidic, moist, well-drained soil and more than four hours of sunlight a day.
Thuja Green Giant
The Thuja Green Giant is another fast-growing evergreen with a growth rate of up to 3 feet per year. It is 35-50 feet high at maturity, with a base of 12-15 feet.
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Due to their density, Thuja Green Giants can be grown into a privacy fence if the trees are planted 6 feet apart.
The Thuja Green Giant is both drought tolerant and resistant to insect infestations. It can aso withstand heavy ice without risking breakage or limb damage.
These beauties thrive in almost any type of soil and they prefer full or partial shade. They grow best in zones 5-9
Nellie Stevens Holly
The Nellie Stevens Holly is an evergreen that can be grown as a small tree or as a shrub. It can be trimmed into a box hedge and makes a natural fence, with the prickly leaves keeping out unwanted visitors.
The Nellie Stevens Holly has glossy, deep green foliage year-round, and grows bright red berries in late fall. These berries can attract over wintering birds and wildlife.
This evergreen can grow up to 25 feet tall at a rate of 2-3 feet a year. It grows vigorously in zones 7-9 in well drained, slightly acidic soil with at least six hours of direct sunlight.
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The Italian Cypress is a columnar tree that grows up to three feet per year with a mature height of 40-60 feet. The base does not spread substantially, staying at around 4-5 feet. This makes the tree a good choice for smaller yards.
Italian Cypresses are often used as a barrier between yards, or as accents to flank entrances. They have a bluish-green hue year-round, and never need trimming to retain their shape.
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These evergreens are drought resistant and grow well in most soils. They do best in warmer climates from zones 7b through 11.
Another good option for larger yards is the Taylor Juniper. Like the Italian Cypress, it is a columnar tree with a base of 3-5 feet.
This tree grows upward without leaning outward, and can reach a height of 30 feet. It grows at a rate of 3 feet per year.
The Taylor Juniper produces semi-soft bluish-green foliage and enjoys full sun. It grows well in most soil types and is drought tolerant.
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Probably the fastest growing of the evergreen varieties is the Murray Cypress. growng at up to 4 feet per year. It tops out at 30-40 feet with a base of 3-5 feet.
These evergreens can be planted at 5 feet apart to create a privacy fence that grows even faster than the Leyland Cypress. They can handle harsh winter winds as well as scorching summer heat, thus making them suitable for zones 6-10.
The Murray Cypress has a medium green foliage year-round. It can be left untrimmed for a shaggy look, or trimmed regularly for a more manicured appearance. It is a low maintenance option that can grow in poor soil conditions.
Any of these options will make a fast growing, year round color option for your yard; creating natural privacy and shade, as well as a windbreak.