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Highway sound barrier plants

Posted by aduncan81 Georgia (My Page) on
Tue, Jun 17, 08 at 13:26

I am looking to plant some sort of plants to act as a sound barrier and visual barrier between my backyard and a highway. I have a privacy fence and then a chain link fence at the back of my property. Then about 20 feet of sparsely wooded area then a fairly business highway. My backyard slopes down on the left side so the fence acts as a barrier from the highway only on the higher right side of the yard. I attempted to plant bamboo on the 20 foot county-owned buffer zone last year, but it did not take. The area is fairly shaded due to some 25 ft high pines but they are pretty spaced out. Something that would grow fast and thick and at least 8 ft high would be great. I've heard oleanders are very hardy and drought resistant. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Highway sound barrier plants

your best choices for a visual barrier would be evergreen, of course, but you won't get a lot of help from plants for a sound barrier that close to a highway.
do you have to get permission from the county to install plants in this area?
i like southern wax myrtle in a setting like yours. it is not the most dense shrub but is native, grows fast and is wildlife friendly. should be available locally and not expensive. you could stagger rows to get better coverage.
other candidates could be hollies or some of the smaller magnolias but they won't be cheap if you buy plants of any size.

Here is a link that might be useful: southern wax myrtle

RE: Highway sound barrier plants

I would recommend Clethra. It is a well-behaved tall and wide evergreen that is extremely attractive in all seasons. It's also inexpensive as evergreen shrubs go, and easy to find at any time of the year. (Botanical name: ternstroemia) It grows in full sun to nearly full shade.

RE: Highway sound barrier plants

ternstroemia=cleyera, not clethra

Check into getting inexpensive seedlings from the Georgia Forestry Commission in the fall (

I wouldn't put much hope into the plantings giving you the noise barrier you expect. It is been proven before that the benefit is not what people think. You might ask the highway department about installing a sound barrier for you.

RE: Highway sound barrier plants

Thanks for the suggestions. I guess I'm looking for a visual barrier as well and decrease the concern of future buyers/renters. Not really concerned with what the plant looks like as this is behind my property, just want something to obsure the sight and some sound. Fast growing is important b/c I want something smaller thats easy to carry back to the area since I'll be jumping fences and all.

RE: Highway sound barrier plants

  • Posted by jimtnc 7b Raleigh TTTF (My Page) on
    Thu, Jun 19, 08 at 9:20

Another thought is using Chindo Viburnums spaced 10' apart. I did the same thing this spring, and they really grow fast. Supposedly they grow to 15-20' x 6-8', are glossy dark green and evergreen. They look really nice. Probably won't do much in the noise barrier department, but any little blockage helps.

RE: Highway sound barrier plants

How about pampas grass. It will grow tall to give you a visual barrier. The thick growth of leaves will muffle the noise. If planted in a long row it makes an impressive display, especially when it blooms.

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