Noise Reduction Using Trees and Shrubs

Q: There is a rezoning proposal for land behind our neighborhood. It will likely be used for parking tractor trailers. The county recommends a 100’ deep buffer with a berm and the planting of Leyland cypress trees fifteen feet on center staggered in two rows. Is this the best plan for noise reduction? 

A: Physics tells us that the only way to reduce sound is to put physical mass of some sort between the source and your ears. The proposed berm will absorb and reflect truck sounds if built properly. Trees and shrubs planted between the parking area and your neighborhood will do more to reduce the perception of sound, since you can’t actually see the trucks. Consider mixing ‘Burford’ holly and ‘Green Giant’ arborvitae with the Leylands to add visual variety. In addition, hiring a sound reduction consultant might be money well spent.