As the autumn colors drop the last of their leaves, the gardens can feel naked. Without strategically placed evergreens in the yard, it quickly feels like prying eyes look right through your home. Not only does your own privacy seemingly disappear, but that neighbor’s debris pile can be witnessed through winter.

The solution to both of these unwanted invasions of privacy is not rocket science. November is an ideal time to plant a wall of living trees to block the messy view and to create the privacy you desire. Enjoy that hot tub once again.

To successfully add evergreens to a landscape, there are several essential steps worth your time and energy. The most important requirement for evergreen trees to thrive is drainage. Blend one shovelful of Watters Premium Mulch into every three shovels full of native earth to pack around your plant’s roots.

Feed new trees with “All Purpose Plant Food”, 7-4-4; the cottonseed meal in this natural food promotes stronger root formation while maintaining good foliage color.

Lastly, water your newly planted trees with a solution of ‘Root & Grow’. This water additive tickles the roots of a plant and helps to form a deep root system.

When you’re ready to choose the trees for your living wall of green, read through the list that follows. It is comprised of local screeners that grow quickly. This list contains the names of evergreens that outperform all others.

Austrian Mountain Pine – This dense pine is easy to care for and as cold hardy as native pines. Its vibrant green needles are sturdy and more numerous than those of other pines, with less needle drop in summer. Thick right to the ground and 30′ tall it makes the perfect windbreak while preventing prying eyes from looking in on your private hot tub sessions.

Deodar Cedar – This is the largest of the screening plants, growing to over 50 feet tall and 20 feet wide with long swooping branches of Arizona blue foliage. Growing some 2-3 feet per year, it is one of the fastest-growing of the privacy screens. As with most upright evergreens, this cedar can thrive on low water use, drought conditions, and drip irrigation. Make sure to give it plenty of growing space because this tree is going to need it!

Norway Spruce – Very cold-hardy, this spruce is the perfect symmetrically shaped Christmas tree. An excellent choice for a first-holiday tree or as a semi-formal accent in large yards. Makes a pretty evergreen background for contrasting foliage colors, flowering shrubs, or to highlight an autumn leaf show on trees and shrubs. Line them up into a windbreak. Quickly hides lights and sound barriers along busy streets.

Arizona Cypress – My favorite native evergreen is the Arizona cypress. It grows like a giant alligator juniper in size and color, but grows faster and fills in more thoroughly than other screen plants. Growing to over 20 feet tall and 12 feet wide in just a few years, you can see why this is the number one choice for a planted screen.

Juniper – Finally, let’s look at the juniper family. Hillspire, blue point, and Wichita are on the extensive list of junipers available at the garden center now. Juniper forests surround us, so you know that junipers are naturals to plant locally. Whichever color and height you like, all grow well here.

There are more choices, such as the larger evergreen shrubs and deciduous trees like aspens, but I’ve saved those landscape tips for another time.

Book just Published! The Secret Garden: Plants as a Natural Screen is an all-local garden book where I go into in-depth detail. Free copies are available for download at under tips.

Ken Lain can be found throughout the week at Watters Garden Center, 1815 W. Iron Springs Rd in Prescott, or contacted through his web site at or .