What type of a tree or bush can you recommend to be used as a sound buffer...

Asked January 25, 2015, 7:09 PM EST

What type of a tree or bush can you recommend to be used as a sound buffer for traffic noise? The soil is mostly very moist in fall, winter & spring and somewhat dry in summer. Would prefer it be fast growing and green year round. I appreciate your help

Sussex County Delaware trees and shrubs shrubs noise barrier trees and shrubs for noise barrier

1 Response

According to the University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service, two or three rows of plants can cut down noise by more than seven decibels. Stagger the plants. You'll want a thick barrier, like a hedge, dense and tall enough that you can’t easily see through or over it. The effectiveness is multiplied by planting vegetation in multiple rows and multiple tiers, such as an overstory of tall trees, an understory of tangled shrubs, and a ground cover. In addition, an earthen berm constructed several feet high and wide, with plantings atop and around it, can diminish noise by a third or half the perceived loudness.

You do not mention how much space you have to work with, but most homeowners do not have huge lots. If that's the case,, avoid trees that will get so tall that they dominate and over-shade your lot , such as Leyland cypress, even though they do grow fast. Also consider using 2 or more species for a more natural look, but more importantly the diversity of plants will cut down on insect and disease problems..

Your high moisture level limits your choices. For very wet soils, try American holly, Southern magnolia, bayberry (semi-evergreen), wax myrtle, Atlantic White cedar (chamaecyparis thyoides) and American arborvitae (Green Giant is a fast-growing and easy to find variety.). If the moisture is a good amount of wetness, not soggy or standing water, then you can try Green Emerald arborvitae (dwarf, gets about 10-15 feet), cryptomeria, and other evergreens.

Do not plant hemlock even though it likes moisture, because it has chronic insect problems from an invasive pest. Never plant bamboo, it is highly invasive, as is English ivy.

Once you have narrowed down your choices, you're welcome to run it by us before you purchase.