We want to plant trees in front of the house to help block out some of the sounds of trucks/road traffic going by.
What are some trees that are rapidly growing that might work for this?
Quince, Pussy Willow and Smoke Trees..Toni
I've looked into this as well. It actually turns out that trees don't significantly block sound, although they do block site. To block sound significantly you really would need to do something like a berm.
Having said that blocking the source of the sound from site does seem to help. Out of sight, out of mind. Evergreens have a more year-round sight blocking effect, but deciduous trees do have a better sound blocking effect (although that is not a significant sound blocker).
If you are interested in more of a year-round sight block you could use a White Pine or Norway Spruce. You don't state how tall you would like the trees to get, but these are fast growers. You might also consider some thuja as well. There is variety to their height and speed of growth, so you would need to consider that. If you have the room a 2-row conifer deciduous mix would be more effective and more attractive.
Stay away from the Leyland Cypress. Although commonly used it is disease ridden and often starts to look sickly and ugly.
You can't go wrong with Thuja Green Giant Arborvitae. They grow 3-5 feet a year and will block out sound from traffic going by. The Botany Store www.botanystore.com has pictures online so you can see quite how big these guys get before you buy them.
Aspen leaves 'quake' with the slightest breeze. I absolutely love the sound. Better than a 'water feature' IMHO. Do be advised, aspens grow very rapidly, and make a grove. Which I also like. But others have reported being bothered by having aspen pop up everywhere. I simply trim the ones back that are growing where I don't want them, and feed the branches to my pet rabbits. My bunnies absolutley love them.
I also have used a taller aspen 'whip' to make a limbo pole, several to make plant teepees for the flower pots. So, I put all those extra trees to good use. And sitting amidst the grove of aspen when a breeze is blowing is just delightful.
Jerger makes a good point. A berm with a wood fence and shrubs planted in front of it is going to give you the most audio relief.
Unfortunately, fast growing often means fast dying too. Trees that grow fast often are short-lived. Our next door neighbors surrounded their house with "cotton-less" cottonwoods because the nursery told them they were the fastest growers. We were all in a new development and it was really barren. My husband and I planted ash trees because I love the graceful shape they have when mature.
Sure enough, in five years their trees were towering. Then in five years more they had lived out their lives and started dying and losing limbs in storms. Our ash trees were just hitting their stride. They called in an arborist, who told them to cut them all down before they cracked in a storm and fell on the house. They did...and planted ash trees.
That said, the evergreens make a lot of sense as a sound barrier. We planted a wild arborvitae transferred from my parents' woods. Away from sun competition that thing grew like a weed. Compared to a neighbor's cultivated arborvitae, planted at the same time, ours is easlily 2x the height. Nice form and fullness, too.
Some pines have die-out of bottom branched when mature. Check on that before you select a variety.
Learning the lesson of the Dutch Elm Disease, I wouldn't plant just one species of tree. That way, if disease or pests (Emerard Ash Borer for example) takes out one kind of tree, you won't face being wiped out.Uniformity is nice, but having different types of trees or shrubs also gives a lot more interest in the landscape You can mix fast and not so fast plants in your barrier too, and I agree with the berm idea.
hi...speaking of trees. i had a birch tree planted in my front yard and it grew every year. then last year it died. can anyone tell me why?