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Planting, Uncategorized

The Best Trees & Shrubs For A Privacy Screen

The Best Trees & Shrubs For A Privacy Screen image

If your garden or yard has neighbors or lacks privacy in general, you may want to put up a privacy screen. But there’s no need to lose any of the beauty of your garden to ugly looking screens; you can use natural screens instead.

Trees and Shrubs make great natural privacy screens, not only providing you with the privacy you need but also adding to the overall garden. But which trees and shrubs do this best? We at The Trail Creek Nursery have put together this short guide for you on The Best Trees & Shrubs To Use As A Privacy Screen.

Arctic Willow

The Arctic Willow, also known as Salix Arctica, takes its name from its ability to survive and even thrive in cold wintery conditions all year round. This makes it ideal for providing coverage and privacy at any time of the year.

While the Arctic Willow is a tree, it’s definitely one of the more smaller trees usually used as a privacy screen. That said, it’s still more than suitable for gardens that don’t need coverage from a certain height.

Despite its size, it also lives a very long life, making it ideal as part of a long term privacy screen: easily surviving decades. This, combined with the ability to grow and thrive in the coldest of conditions, make it an ideal year-round screen.


Also known as Bitter-Berry or Prunus Virginiana, the Chokecherry is both a small tree AND a shrub. This makes it more suited to protecting and covering smaller gardens, not gardens that need protection at height.

The cherries that grow on Chokecherry trees & shrubs are edible (despite its name!) and also look great. Their ability to grow and spread fast furthermore makes it ideal for protecting and covering gardens – although if left unmaintained it can intrude in other parts of the garden.

Colorado Spruce

Colorado Spruce, also known as Colorado Blue Spruce or Picea Pungens, is a member of the pine family. In the wild, the Colorado Spruce can grow to up to 75 feet tall, and between 30 to 60 feet in parks and gardens.

Its height, combined with its width (15-20 feet) makes it ideal coverage for even the most extensive gardens. They’re also tall enough to windbreak when grown or placed in a row. Their tidy appearance forms a tremendous looking border around any garden.

Besides, they’re well adapted to both surviving & thriving in wintery and cold conditions, providing year-long coverage.


Much like other’s listed, Lilac (or Syringa Vulgaris) is considered both a large shrub and a small tree. That said, they’re best suited to providing coverage for smaller gardens that don’t need protection at height.

Lilac grows and spreads steadily, making it an excellent choice for covering gardens. However, their flowers which bloom a lovely purple (hence Lilac) will only continue to show if well maintained and pruned.

Whether maintained or not, Lilac is still an excellent choice for garden coverage. For those looking for coverage that also looks amazing, Lilac is an option – just one that requires more work.


Also known as Shadbush or Amelanchier, the Serviceberry is a lot like the Chokeberry as it’s also considered both a small tree AND a shrub. This is because they grow and flower differently, depending on both where they’re planted and the environment they are located.
While some trees or shrubs falter as a privacy screen in the winter, the Serviceberry stays in bloom all year round – providing different flowers and fruits depending on the time of year.

Despite being small compared to most trees, the Serviceberry still makes for a suitable privacy screen for smaller gardens that don’t need high protection or privacy.

While Serviceberry makes an ideal privacy screen, it can quickly expand when left unchecked and not maintained.

Siberian Pea Shrub

The Siberian Pea Shrub is a shrub that is well suited to thrive in cold, wintery conditions all year round. That in itself makes it an excellent option for protecting smaller gardens throughout the year.

It’s also fast-growing, which makes it great for covering and protecting gardens quickly – however, if left unchecked it can intrude on the rest of your garden. Of course, being a shrub, it’s not very tall, making it much more suited to protecting smaller gardens that don’t require high coverage.

We hope you’ve found this guide useful – as you can see you’re spoilt for choice for when it comes to finding suitable trees & shrubs to form privacy screens. And best yet, you don’t have to sacrifice beauty for security as all of the trees & shrubs listed would enhance and add to even the most Eden-like garden!

Maintenance, Uncategorized

What is Mulch and How Do I Use It?

mulchLandscaping is hard work, and we at Trail Creek Nursery we understand that more than most! Whether you’re scaping a small back garden or a larger garden plot, it can take a lot of time, a lot of energy and money. The last thing you want, therefore, is your plants and flowers dying too soon, or never really being able to grow at all. Having to redo a lot of that work, not to mention funding it, will be a nightmare and something you should do all you can to avoid.

A great way of protecting your plants, improving fertility and supporting longer, healthier life is using Mulch. But we often get asked by homeowners, what exactly is Mulch – and How Do I use it?

What is Mulch?

Mulch is a layer of material, usually organic in nature, that is applied to the soil’s surface. Organic materials that are easily accessible and used as Mulch include:

  • Leaves that fall from trees during the fall. These can be chopped or shredded and then applied on top of the soil.
  • Recent grass clippings obtained after mowing. Once left to dry, these can then be applied to the soil’s surface. Ensure the grass clippings are recent however, as rotting grass clippings can do more harm than good to the soil!
  • Wood chips, a byproduct of tree pruning, is another great material for Mulch and is a good option for those wanting to keep an attractive landscape because wood chips come in multiple colors.
  • Bark chips work just like wood chips but don’t look as nice.
  • Peat moss is a further option, but one that is not environmentally friendly so is best avoided.

There are also a few artificial Mulch materials:

  • Whilst paper and card comes from tree’s, it’s technically an artificial material – newspapers, cardboard, etc are easily accessible materials for Mulch.
  • Old and unused carpet can be used and applied to the surface of the soil.
  • Rubber Mulch, which is usually created from recycled tire rubber, is another artificial alternative.
  • Plastic is another option, but one that is less environmentally friendly and best left alone.

What is Mulch used for?

Now that we know what can be used to create Mulch, just what exactly is it used for? As already mentioned, Mulch is used to fertilize and provide long-lasting health for the soil it is applied to. The healthier the soil, the longer and healthier the plants and flowers will be that are growing in the soil.

But how exactly does Mulch achieve this? Firstly, Mulch helps keep the soil at the right temperature. Soil gets cold, especially during the nights, and Mulch helps keep the soil warm and retain its warmth. This will then encourage faster growth of the plants/flowers embedded in the soil.

Mulch plays other roles too – preventing the growth of weeds from seeds which again, encourages healthy long-lasting growth. All of this is achieved by forming a protective layer between soil and sunlight, reducing evaporation.

Why should I use Mulch?

At first sight, Mulch can be seen as just another landscaping cost and one that might not really make that much of a difference. But in truth, Mulch can make or break your garden or landscaping project.

It’s a proven technique to encourage soil growth and thus growth and health of your plants and flowers. Using Mulch will absolutely save you time and money, both in the short and long term.

Plus, most if not all of the organic and artificial materials that can be used for Mulch are easily accessible. Some of the materials can even be gathered from your current garden, meaning it won’t cost you a thing. Other materials cost very little in comparison to the time and money it will save you.

How is Mulch used?

The benefits of Mulch are clear and are essential for a long-lasting, healthy and beautiful garden or landscape. But, if used incorrectly, Mulch can also do harm. So it’s paramount to understand fully how to use it.

Mulch provides a protective layer, but if that layer is too shallow, or too deep, it can do more harm than good. When applying your chosen Mulch material, ensure it is around 2 inches or 5.1cm deep. Anything less and the protection it gives is reduced. Anything more and the Mulch becomes more of a problem than what it protects against.

Mulch should also be applied at different times of the year, depending on how you want to use it. As covered, Mulch helps retain heat during night times. Whilst this is something it

does all year round, it is obviously colder in fall and winter. As soon as summer ends and fall begins, start layering Mulch to keep the soil warm. Mulch should also be applied when winter ends and spring starts, to help protect the soil from too much evaporation as the temperature rises and the days become longer.

We hope this post has been useful – whether you’re a homeowner who has a small garden plot, or a larger landscape to manage, you always want to keep in mind using Mulch to protect your soil and plants – ensuring your hard work, time and money isn’t wasted, and you have a beautiful and healthy environment to be around.