Gardening Q&A:can you recommend fast-growing trees that will protect our privacy?

The experts at the RHS answer your gardening questions...

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Question: I am moving into a new property with my husband and we would like to plant two deciduous trees in the rear garden, which faces south-west. We would like them to grow to max 5 metres and be a round ‘ball’ shape to provide privacy.

As we are both in our early 70s we are prepared to plant mature specimens and would like a tree that is not a slow grower. We would very much appreciate your guidance.

Answer: I would consider a magnolia for this position, perhaps Magnolia x loebneri Leonard Mesel, with white-lilac flowers in spring. It is sometimes sold by specimen nurseries as a standard, which would be ideal for you.

Alternatively, there is a group of flowering cherries that reach the 3-4m mark in height and include Prunus x yeodoensis Ivensii that has snow-white fragrant blossom in early-mid spring and Prunus x yeodoensis Shidare Yoshino with delicate pale pink flowers in early-mid spring.

Sorbus are a great group of trees for interest through the seasons, with flower, berries and autumn colour - for a smaller version, have a look at Sorbus vilmorinii. 

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