Evergreen Tree Farm

Best Evergreen Trees to Grow for Privacy in Wisconsin

You can’t go wrong with evergreens if you need privacy trees for your yard. Not only will they provide dense and beautiful foliage all year round, these durable plants are a lifetime investment. Evergreen trees such as pines, spruces, firs, and arborvitae are perfect trees for privacy in Wisconsin thanks to their compatibility with the climate and landscape.

While it might be tempting to want to go for the fastest-growing conifers you can find, you should understand that fast-growing trees don’t live long generally as they are more susceptible to diseases and damage.

The evergreens I’ve compiled in this list are tough, easier to manage than most, and will create the perfect aesthetic for your surroundings. I also considered their resistance to Wisconsin’s common tree diseases.

  1. American Pillar Arborvitae

    Growth Rate: 3 – 4 feet per year
    Ideal Conditions: Moist, well-drained soil with full sun.
    Height at Maturity: 25 to 30 feet
    Width at Maturity: 4 feet

    American Pillar Arborvitae is highly recommended if you want a gracefully dense, fast-growing evergreen that is resistant to Wisconsin’s winters. Effective as a windscreen thanks to its tall, pyramid shape, this plant can strongly resist frost. It will also thrive in the summer heat.

    Nicknamed “Full Speed A Hedge” because of its fast growth, the American Pillar requires little maintenance, needing only a little amount of watering as it nears maturity. Be careful about pruning it too much, as old branches won’t sprout new growth. While it’s one of the more disease-resistant arborvitaes, it can be susceptible to a few pests, including spider mites and bagworms.

  2. Norway Spruce

    Growth Rate: 1 to 2 feet per year
    Ideal Conditions: Acidic, well-drained soil with full sun.
    Height at Maturity: 40 to 60 inches
    Width at Maturity: 25 to 30 inches

    Norway spruce is one of the most common evergreens in the country because of how hardy and resilient it is. It thrives more in colder regions, but it can also survive in the warm, southern areas of Wisconsin.

    Able to thrive in almost all types of soil, this strong, flexible tree is very wind-resistant and thus perfect as a wind screen. It is generally low maintenance, but it is not entirely drought resistant. Even established trees might need deep watering in dry summer months. The spruce is relatively resistant to diseases but it’s susceptible to a few, including the Rhizosphaera needle cast.

  3. Eastern White Pine

    Growth Rate: More than 2 feet per year
    Ideal Conditions: Rich, slightly acidic, well-drained soil. Full sun and partial shade.
    Height at Maturity: 50 to 80 feet
    Width at Maturity: 20 to 40 feet

    The Eastern White Pine is native to Wisconsin and can be found throughout the state. Famous for its oval pyramidal structure, this fast-growing evergreen can tolerate both freezing cold and humid conditions. It also has some level of fire resistance because of its thick bark.

    The pine is quite tough and able to grow in dry soil. However, despite its resilience, it’s not the best choice for urban and industrial areas. This is because the white pine species is generally susceptible to damage from air pollution and salt. Depending on the conditions of their growth, the plants might require careful pruning to correct damage from diseases like blister rust.

  4. Black Hills Spruce

    Growth Rate: Less than 1 feet per year
    Ideal Conditions: Acidic, moist, soil with full sun.
    Height at Maturity: 30 to 60 feet
    Width at Maturity: 15 to 25 feet

    Black Hills Spruce grows at a slow pace, but what it lacks in growth speed, it makes up for in resilience and splendor. So nicely shaped that it’s often used as a Christmas tree, the spruce is very winter hardy. It is able to withstand temperatures as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit.

    While it prefers loamy soil, it can thrive in almost any type of soil, including sandy and gravelly soil. Black Hills Spruce is drought-tolerant and will require very little pruning and maintenance once established. It’s generally very resistant to diseases, but can also be affected by needle cast, which is a common fungal disease of spruce trees.

  5. Austrian Pine

    Growth Rate: 1 to 2 feet per year.
    Ideal Conditions: Moist, well-drained soil with full sun.
    Height at Maturity: 50 to 60 inches
    Width at Maturity:  20 to 40 inches

    The Austrian Pine is a hardy plant that is quite durable in adverse conditions. It can tolerate drought, high levels of salt and poor soil. It is very effective as a windbreaker, as it is strong enough to thrive in windy areas. This lush tree barely requires any pruning other than removing dead or diseased branches.

    Its vibrant color and nice shape will look great as a privacy screen in any part of Wisconsin, but it is especially perfect for urban areas because of its tolerance to pollution. Note, however, that the Austrian pine is not the most disease-resistant tree. It is particularly susceptible to the Dothistroma needle blight in Wisconsin. Your best option is to make sure the plant is disease-free at the time of planting.

Privacy Trees That Will Thrive In Wisconsin

Some of the evergreens mentioned are quite common in many areas of Wisconsin, so you might feel underwhelmed if you were going for the spectacular. But having provided tree care in Wisconsin as an ISA certified arborist for many years, I’d strongly recommend those options if you want something that will last.

The evergreens are very adaptable to the climate and are suitable trees for Wisconsin, so you wouldn’t encounter many issues trying to get them established. For a dashing visual aesthetic for your privacy screen, go for a mix of evergreens and smaller deciduous trees.