Q: A builder just clear-cut all the trees behind our fence. Which is the better evergreen tree for fast growth, minimal maintenance, and effective privacy: Leyland Cypress or Thuja Green Giant?
A: Either plant would be great. They can grow up to three feet per year to 30 feet tall in full sun. Frankly, it will look best if you use both to prevent visual monotony in the back yard. I’d install in a triangular pattern (two Leylands behind one ‘Green Giant’) with each plant six feet from its neighbor. You’ll get the fastest growth if you rototill a strip 12 feet wide along the property line. Use a starter fertilizer at planting and water them appropriately during fall. You’ll need to water them occasionally in winter if it is windy for several days: wind dries out needles and the ground can get pretty dry in December and January.