What should I plant to get a very low-maintenance screen of evergreen trees for privacy as well as a sound barrier?
There are quite a few choices of evergreen trees to choose from but I would sick to Arborvitae as they have a huge range of growing conditions from Zone 2 (Very cold areas up north) to Zone 6 and 7 which means full sun. Also you do not have to worry about pruning the tree on a regular basis to keep its shape on the top as well as bottom.
If you would like to get some privacy from your neighbours, roads or buildings right away what I suggest you do is start with some quite mature shrubs or trees so around 6 feet in height some green foliage and make sure they have moist roll balls. Once the specimens hit their full maturity they will be around 15 feet tall which is the perfect height for privacy. Make sure when you plant them you keep them just fall enough apart that they do not grow into one another which can stunt their growth quite a bit.
1. Draw out your lines with spray paint on your dirt and make sure the holes for the trees are about 2 to 3 times the size of the root ball
2. Again make sure the trees are spaced out enough so they will not grow into one another.
3. As you dig your dirt out to keep things clean use a tarp to transfer the soil with a spade shovel preferably.
4. Lay the whole tree down on its side in order to take the root out of the tub
5. Stand the tree up up gently with it root ball in the trench. If your tree just happens to have burlap just roll it into the trench and then cut off the fabric
6. Make sure you turn your trees best side to your yard as this is what you will be looking at
7. Start to measure the placement of your trees from root to root to make sure you have enough room between each tree
8. Get our your cultivator and start carefully scrapping across the top, sides and bottom of each of your root balls to start to expose the tiny roots that will allow them to absorb fertilizer and water.
9. Get out your wheelbarrow and mix together 2 parts excavated soil or top soil and 1 part compost then use this mixture to back fill your trench back up to grade again.
10. Make sure you form a pretty deep soil dam around each tree and make sure it is wider than the diameter that the root ball was.
11. Fill all of you deep dams around the trees with water and make sure you wait until it is absorbed and then repeat.
12. Once all absorbed rake away the dam that you formed and add your 2 – 3 inch layer of mulch but make sure you keep the mulch away from trunk to prevent any type of rotting
13. Through out the first growing season make sure you water your trees once a week at a minimum of course unless it rains then you can skip a week.
14. Pay close attention to your soil around your trees and if it is kind of sandy and there is no rain for 2 weeks water or if you soil has a lot of clay water it every 4 weeks.