Screening off the neighbours is one of the most common reasons behind any tree or plant purchase, in addition to creating an attractive accent to a fence. A uniform row of plants planted closely together to create a hedge is the ideal solution!

With so many greening alternatives to choose from depending on the situation, it is a good idea to consider purely and simply what you wish to achieve with a tree purchase, rather than rushing out to buy any tree that appears to meet the bill.

Consider the following: how tall does the tree need to be – two, three or six metres? Does the structure need to be tight and bushy or can it be open? Do you want it to be a flowering screen or only full at a certain time of the year? Hedges mean many things to many people and understanding the need to hedge is important for choosing the right type of tree.


For a formal hedge it is recommended to select trees and plants with dense twiggy growth, which is then constantly clipped to retain a regular shape. Clipping suppresses most of the flowers and fruits so the end result is a fluid foliage, suitable for screens, walls and fences.

Semi-formal hedges are a little more relaxed as trees and plants have been allowed to develop some flowering and fruiting wood. This type of hedge is not subjected to meticulous clipping like its formal counterpart and the end result is something that still does the job while retaining some of its own natural personality.

At the other end of the spectrum are informal hedges where the clipping of any tree or plant is done very infrequently. Great for driveways, large walls and fence lines, this row of trees is literally just kept tidy, allowing them to exhibit all of the natural branching and flowering characteristics of their species.

As most hedges are planted for privacy, the year-round green foliage provided by evergreens make a logical and natural selection. However, don’t underestimate the visual and colour interest created by a deciduous hedge line. The main advantage of using deciduous trees and shrubs for a screen or hedge is letting in winter light. Many exhibit unique features in each season: beautiful bare branches and twigs in winter, flowers in spring, a thick screen with shade and protection from hot winds in summer, and the rustic charm of autumnal foliage.

Some traditional evergreen options to consider include:

  • Waterhousea floribunda
  • Syzygium 'Hinterland Gold'
  • Syzygium 'Pinnacle'
  • Juniperus ‘Spartan’
  • Photinia robusta
  • Prunus lusitanica

Some more contemporary options are:

  • Magnolia 'Kay Parris'
  • Magnolia 'Teddy Bear'
  • Callistemon 'Dawson River Weeper'
  • Agonis flexuosa 'Burgundy'

The breadth of trees for this purpose is growing all the time as nurseries offer a greater palette and landscapers get more adventurous with use and selection.

For more information, please contact the team at Speciality Trees.

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