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For over 36 years Speciality Trees has been a leader in the production and supply of advanced environmentally sustainable, containerised landscape trees for local government, the landscaping industry and retailers.

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Hedges and Screens

So there’s that outdoor area that needs privacy from neighbours; the desire to accentuate the curve of a driveway, the framing of a pool; the blocking of an ugly fence line or high-rise apartment block next door. There are many reasons why we choose to define spaces and screen off areas. Is a clipped structure required; a selection that is in-leaf all year round or do you prefer something offering seasonal variation? Do you want to see through foliage or must the trees remain visually impenetrable? With so many questions it is a good idea to talk to specialists who can give you the clarity to make the right selection. 

So when do you screen and when do you hedge?

While both a screen and a hedge is planted with some overriding purpose, generally speaking a hedge is a solid structure clipped to shape. They often have a sharp edge, or in the very least have a defined line to their form. To keep tidy, hedges demand a certain level of attention. Suitable selections will have tight foliage with smallish leaves to give the structure density.

A screen on the other hand is usually a row of trees that are planted to shelter, protect on conceal something. As such they are taller, with foliage that may or may not totally deprive the eye of what’s behind it. Screens tend to be open and free flowing and not necessarily as dense as a hedge. Nor are they clipped to shape, but allowed to move and sway depending on their own structural attributes.

Your need to screen or hedge will depend on what you are trying to do.

Low to medium hedges make great dividers of space. From 30cm tall to 8 metres tall, trees are planted close together to block view or to form a solid line. They can enclose pockets of garden for a special purpose or train the eye to go in a certain direction. Speciality Trees have a number of species suitable for defining areas based on the height you need your hedge to be. Because they are clipped, these selections are primarily traditional but there are a number of newer lines worth considering for this purpose.

For skinny hedge selections click here. For petite hedging lines, click here. For broad hedging selections, click here.

With screens we can use a larger palette of selection and therefore can get a little more creative, depending on use. These full specimens branch all the way to the ground and foliage can be tightly packed or soft and open – the choice of which will probably depend on what sits behind the screen and where it is located in relation to neighbours and your line of sight. There are many selections to consider including colour and flowering options for different times of the year.

For skinny selections for screening, click here. For petite screening lines, click here. For broad screening selections, click here.

For tips on spacing, please refer to Planting Tips for Hedges.


Waterhousea floribunda ''ST1' Whisper'

This versatile, bushy tree has a wonderful weeping habit with narrow linear leaves. Growing to approximately 12 metres it offers good screening capabilities. Full and branched to the ground it is a visually soft screen that moves with its environment. We have great numbers throughout the year in all sizes: 20, 30. 40cm, 50, 100, 150 and 300 litres. Call us!

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Syzygium australe ''ST1' Opal Maze'

A favourite hedging line of ours with superior performance. It is an attractive compact shrub with bright and rounded glossy green leaves that is easily clipped into shape. We have great numbers available now in 20cm and 30cm.

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Cupressus sempervirens 'glauca'

This line is a favourite for lining driveways and paths. Planted close together they provide an instant, atttractive screen. This variety has a blue shade to the foliage and produces less fruit than other pencil pine selections. Contact us for material in 20cm or for larger material in 45 litres.

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Prunus lusitanica

This is a really attractive evergreen shrub or small tree with glossy dark green oval leaves and small white flower heads in spring. Makes for a wonderful, bushy screen. We have good numbers available now in 20cm, 30cm and 50 litres if you are looking for larger material.

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Ficus microcarpa hillii 'Flash'

Growing 8-10 metres tall by 3 metres wide, this tree could be a tall shading tree or specimen clipped to a neat hedge of any height. Due to its thick foliage we like this tree for the latter as it is a quick grower. We have material available for hedging right now in 50 containers and 150 litre bags.

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