14 Best Trees for a Fence Line in Australia

Written By:
Scott Carroll
Published On:
January 16, 2024
Drawing of trees on fence line

In this guide, we’re exploring the best trees to enhance your fence line. Whether seeking privacy, shade, or beautifying your boundary, the right tree can transform your space. 

Each tree offers unique benefits, from the lush Lilly Pilly to the majestic Jacaranda. Join us as we unveil 14 superb choices that thrive in Australia’s diverse climates, ensuring your fence line is not just a boundary but a highlight of your garden. 

Can trees grow around fences?

Trees can grow around fences, but it’s a dance of balance and understanding. When we plant trees near fences, we invite nature to coexist with our manufactured boundaries. The key lies in selecting the right trees and understanding their growth patterns.

Root systems are the underground architects of a tree’s life, and they can be as expansive below ground as the tree is above. Some trees have deep taproots that dive straight down, while others spread beneath the surface. It’s these outward-bound roots that can play friend or foe to fences. They might sneak under a fence, lifting and warping it over time or grow into and around it, causing structural damage.

The challenge is to choose trees with root systems that are less invasive and more fence-friendly. It’s a bit like choosing a housemate – you want someone who respects your space and doesn’t take over the living room! With careful selection and strategic planting, we can enjoy the beauty and benefits of trees without compromising the integrity of our fences.

Benefits of planting trees along a fence line

Planting trees along a fence line is like giving your garden a multifaceted gift. Let’s unwrap these benefits:

  • Privacy: Trees are nature’s privacy screens, especially for narrow spaces. Tall, dense foliage can shield your space from prying eyes, creating a secluded oasis. Imagine relaxing in your garden, surrounded by the leafy embrace of a Lilly Pilly or the broad leaves of a Magnolia ‘Little Gem’.
  • Shade: On scorching summer days, these green giants are saviours. Their canopy offers a cool retreat, lowering temperatures and providing a comfortable outdoor space. Picture lounging under the dappled shade of a Crepe Myrtle or the wide umbrella of a Moreton Bay Fig.
  • Wind protection: Trees are natural windbreakers. They soften the blow of harsh winds, protecting your garden and home. This is especially beneficial in areas prone to strong winds or coastal breezes. The robust form of an Eucalyptus or the dense foliage of a Bottlebrush can be particularly effective.
  • Aesthetic appeal: Trees add an artistic touch to your landscape. They bring colour, texture, and structure, enhancing the overall look of your property. Whether it’s the vibrant purple blooms of a Jacaranda or the unique shape of a Queensland Bottle Tree, these living sculptures make your fence line a visual delight.

In essence, trees along a fence line are more than just plants; they’re functional, living elements that enhance our quality of life and the beauty of our surroundings.

Considerations before choosing trees for your fence line

When selecting trees for your fence line, it’s crucial to consider several key factors to ensure they complement rather than complicate your garden space. Here’s what to keep in mind:

  1. Tree size: Understand the mature size of the tree – both height and spread. A tree that grows too tall or wide could overwhelm the space, overshadow smaller plants, or even overhang into neighbouring properties. Compact trees like the Magnolia ‘Little Gem’ might be ideal for smaller spaces. At the same time, larger areas can accommodate the grandeur of a Moreton Bay Fig.
  2. Root system: The root structure is a hidden but vital aspect. Some trees have invasive roots that can damage fences, underground utilities, or the foundation of nearby structures. Opt for trees with non-invasive roots to avoid future complications. For instance, the Olive Tree (Olea europaea) is known for its less aggressive root system.
  3. Growth rate: Consider how quickly the tree grows. Fast-growing species provide quick coverage and privacy, but they might require more frequent pruning and maintenance. Slower-growing trees, on the other hand, take time to establish but typically need less upkeep. Crepe Myrtles are an example of fast-growing trees, while Japanese Maples grow more slowly.
  4. Maintenance needs: Some trees require regular pruning, watering, and other care to stay healthy and look their best. Assess how much time and effort you’re willing to invest in maintenance. Trees like the Bottlebrush (Callistemon) are relatively low-maintenance, making them a popular choice for busy gardeners.
  5. Local climate: Trees must be suited to the local climate to thrive. Consider factors like temperature extremes, rainfall, humidity, and soil type. A tree that’s well-adapted to your area’s conditions will be more resilient and require less intervention. For instance, Lemon-Scented Gum (Corymbia citriodora) is well-suited to warmer climates.

By carefully considering these factors, you can choose trees that enhance your fence line and thrive in your garden, creating a harmonious and sustainable landscape.

Top trees to plant along fence line 

When enhancing your fence line with trees, choosing the right species is key to creating a beautiful, functional, and harmonious landscape. Here are the top trees that are a personal favourite for planting along fence lines in Australia:

  1. Lilly Pilly (Syzygium smithii)
  2. Bottlebrush (Callistemon)
  3. Crepe Myrtle (Lagerstroemia)
  4. Magnolia ‘Little Gem’
  5. Olive Tree (Olea europaea)
  6. Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum)
  7. Tuckeroo (Cupaniopsis anacardioides)
  8. Eucalyptus (Various Species)
  9. Moreton Bay Fig (Ficus macrophylla)
  10. Illawarra Flame Tree (Brachychiton acerifolius)
  11. Jacaranda (Jacaranda mimosifolia)
  12. Lemon-Scented Gum (Corymbia citriodora)
  13. Angophora costata (Sydney Red Gum)
  14. Queensland Bottle Tree (Brachychiton rupestris)

Each of these trees brings its unique characteristics, from the dense foliage of the Lilly Pilly, offering privacy and shade, to the vibrant blooms of the Jacaranda, adding a splash of colour to your garden. Let’s explore each of these trees in more detail to understand why they are the top choices for your fence line.

Best small trees for fence line in Australia

1. Lilly Pilly (Syzygium smithii)


The Lilly Pilly, with its lush evergreen foliage, is a quintessential choice for Australian gardens, especially along fence lines. This resilient native offers dense growth, making it an excellent option for privacy screening.

  • Description: The Lilly Pilly is known for its glossy leaves and fluffy white or pink flowers, followed by edible purple berries. It typically grows into a compact, bushy shape, which can be easily shaped and maintained.
  • Ideal conditions: Thriving in full sun to partial shade, the Lilly Pilly is adaptable to various soil types, though it prefers well-drained conditions. It’s also remarkably resilient to pests and diseases, making it a low-maintenance choice for gardeners.
  • Benefits: 
    • Along a fence line, the Lilly Pilly provides privacy and a habitat for local wildlife, including birds attracted to its berries. 
    • Its ability to withstand pruning makes it ideal for creating a neat, formal hedge or a more natural screen. 
    • Its aesthetic appeal throughout the year – with flowers in spring and berries in summer – adds a charming touch to any garden.
    • Resistant to most common tree problems (see our guide on Lilly Pilly problems here). 

2. Bottlebrush (Callistemon)

Callistemon citrinus (Crimson Bottlebrush)

The Bottlebrush, named for its unique brush-like flowers, is a stunning addition to any Australian fence line. This tree is visually striking, hardy, and versatile, making it a popular choice for gardeners.

  • Description: Callistemon features vibrant red, brush-like flowers that bloom predominantly in spring and summer, attracting many birds and pollinators. Its foliage is narrow and dark green, creating a dense, bushy appearance. Some species remain small and shrub-like, while others can grow into small trees.
  • Ideal conditions: Bottlebrushes thrive in full sun and can adapt to various soil types, though they prefer well-drained soils. They are drought-tolerant once established, making them suitable for a range of Australian climates, including coastal areas.
  • Benefits: 
    • When planted along a fence line, Bottlebrushes serve as an excellent privacy screen, windbreak, and noise buffer. 
    • Their vibrant flowers add a splash of colour and bring life to the garden with visiting birds and insects. 
    • They can be pruned to maintain a desired shape and size, making them versatile for formal and informal garden designs. 
    • Their resilience and low maintenance needs make them a practical and beautiful choice for enhancing fence lines.

3. Crepe Myrtle (Lagerstroemia)

The Crepe Myrtle is a celebrated choice for Australian gardens, particularly along fence lines, due to its spectacular blooms and elegant form. This tree is renowned for its long-lasting and vibrant flowers, making it a favourite among garden enthusiasts.

  • Description: Lagerstroemia, commonly known as Crepe Myrtle, is distinguished by its beautiful, ruffled flowers that bloom in shades of pink, red, purple, or white during summer. It has a multi-stemmed habit and a striking bark that peels back to reveal a smooth, mottled surface. In autumn, its leaves turn to stunning shades of yellow, orange, or red, offering year-round interest.
  • Ideal conditions: Crepe Myrtles flourish in full sun, encouraging more prolific blooming. They prefer well-drained soil and are quite drought-tolerant once established. These trees are adaptable to various soil types and are resistant to many pests and diseases.
  • Benefits: 
    • When planted along a fence line, Crepe Myrtles provide privacy and a spectacular display of colour and texture. 
    • Their moderate size makes them suitable for smaller gardens, and they can be pruned to maintain a desired shape, fitting perfectly into formal or informal landscapes. 
    • The tree’s ability to provide shade in summer while allowing sunlight in winter (due to its deciduous nature) makes it an excellent choice for year-round comfort and aesthetic appeal. 
    • Crepe Myrtles are low maintenance, requiring minimal care once established, making them a practical and enchanting addition to any fence line.

4. Magnolia ‘Little Gem’

The Magnolia ‘Little Gem’ is a compact and elegant tree, perfect for adding a touch of sophistication to any Australian fence line. Renowned for its glossy green leaves and large, fragrant flowers, this tree is a smaller version of the classic Magnolia but with all its beauty intact.

  • Description: ‘Little Gem’ features a dense, upright growth habit, ideal for narrow spaces. Its leaves are dark green and glossy, with a velvety bronze underside. The tree is celebrated for its large, creamy-white flowers that bloom even on young trees. These flowers appear throughout the year but are most abundant in the warmer months.
  • Ideal conditions: This Magnolia variety thrives in full sun to partial shade. It prefers well-drained, slightly acidic soil but is adaptable to various soil types. While it’s drought-tolerant once established, regular watering during dry periods will keep it flourishing.
  • Benefits: 
    • Planting ‘Little Gem’ along a fence line offers multiple advantages. Its evergreen nature provides year-round privacy and greenery, making it an excellent screen. 
    • The tree’s moderate size and controlled growth make it suitable for smaller gardens or tight spaces along fences. 
    • Its stunning flowers not only add aesthetic value but also bring a delightful fragrance to your outdoor space. 
    • ‘Little Gem’ requires minimal pruning and maintenance, making it a hassle-free choice for busy gardeners or those seeking an easy-care option for their fence line.

5. Olive Tree (Olea europaea)

Olive Trees

The Olive Tree, with its distinctive silvery foliage and gnarled trunk, brings a touch of the Mediterranean to Australian gardens. It symbolises peace and longevity, making it a meaningful and attractive choice for fence line planting.

  • Description: Olea europaea is known for its slender, grey-green leaves and small, creamy-white flowers, followed by the iconic olive fruit. It grows into a rounded, open canopy, offering a rustic charm. Olive trees can live for centuries, growing more picturesque with age.
  • Ideal conditions: Olive trees thrive in full sun and well-drained soil. They are particularly suited to dry, warm climates and are drought-resistant once established. These trees prefer a slightly alkaline soil but can adapt to various soil types if they are well-draining.
  • Benefits: 
    • When planted along a fence line, olive trees provide an elegant screen that doesn’t grow too densely, allowing light to filter through. 
    • Their drought tolerance makes them a practical choice for water-wise gardens. 
    • Olive trees can be pruned to maintain a desired size and shape, making them versatile for various landscape designs. 
    • Besides their aesthetic appeal, they offer the added benefit of producing olives, which can be harvested for culinary use. 
    • Their resilience and low maintenance needs make them a valuable addition to any fence line, offering beauty, shade, and a sense of tranquillity.

6. Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum)

Japanese Maple

The Japanese Maple is a highly prized tree in garden landscapes, especially along fence lines, for its stunning foliage and elegant structure. This tree is renowned for its unique leaf shapes and spectacular seasonal colour changes.

  • Description: Acer palmatum boasts a diverse range of leaf shapes and colours, with varieties ranging from deep reds to bright greens. Its leaves turn into vibrant shades of red, orange, or yellow in autumn, creating a breathtaking display. The tree typically has a graceful branching habit, forming a rounded canopy that adds an artistic touch to any garden space.
  • Ideal conditions: Japanese Maples prefer a sheltered position with protection from harsh winds and extreme sun. They thrive in well-drained, slightly acidic soil and benefit from some shade, especially in hotter climates. Consistent moisture is key, but they need to tolerate waterlogged conditions.
  • Benefits: 
    • Planting a Japanese Maple along a fence line adds a sense of tranquillity and visual interest. 
    • Its moderate size and slow growth rate make it ideal for smaller gardens, tight spaces or planting near a sewer pipe.  
    • The tree’s changing colours throughout the seasons provide year-round appeal, making it a focal point in any landscape design. 
    • Japanese Maples can be pruned to maintain a specific shape or size, allowing for creative expression in garden design. 
    • They also pair beautifully with other plants, enhancing the overall aesthetic of the fence line. With their serene beauty and manageable size, Japanese Maples are perfect for adding elegance and colour to your garden boundary.

7. Tuckeroo (Cupaniopsis anacardioides)

Tuckeroo Fruit

The Tuckeroo is an Australian native becoming increasingly popular for its hardiness and attractive appearance, making it an excellent choice for fence line planting.

  • Description: The Tuckeroo is characterised by its glossy, leathery leaves that form a dense, rounded canopy. It produces small, yellowish flowers and distinctive orange-yellow fruits popular with local wildlife. This tree has a relatively fast growth rate. It can reach a moderate height, making it suitable for various garden sizes.
  • Ideal conditions: Cupaniopsis anacardioides thrives in full sun to partial shade. It’s adaptable to various soil types, including sandy and clay soils, as long as they are well-draining. The Tuckeroo is also tolerant of coastal conditions, making it a versatile choice for different Australian landscapes.
  • Benefits:
    • The Tuckeroo is an excellent privacy screen when planted along a fence line due to its dense foliage. 
    • Its robust nature makes it suitable for windbreaks and can help reduce noise pollution. 
    • The tree’s attractive appearance, with its lush green leaves and ornamental fruits, adds aesthetic value to any garden. 
    • Its adaptability to various soil types and environmental conditions makes it a low-maintenance option for gardeners looking for a hassle-free yet beautiful tree to enhance their fence line.

However, it is notable that this tree is prone to several pests and diseases. For more information, check out our Tuckeroo tree problem troubleshooting guide.

Best large trees for fence line in Australia

8. Eucalyptus (Various Species)

Eucalyptus sideroxylon

Eucalyptus trees, iconic to the Australian landscape, are a majestic choice for those looking to make a statement along their fence lines. Known for their towering heights and aromatic leaves, these trees come in various species, each with unique characteristics.

  • Description: Eucalyptus trees are known for their fast growth and can reach impressive heights, making them ideal for large spaces. They have a distinctive bark that can be smooth, fibrous, or stringy and often peels off in strips. The leaves are usually long and narrow and hang downwards, releasing a pleasant, eucalyptus scent when crushed. Many species also produce attractive flowers that are a draw for birds and bees.
  • Ideal conditions: Most Eucalyptus species prefer full sun and well-drained soil. They are remarkably drought-tolerant once established and can adapt to various soil types. These trees are well-suited to Australian climates, particularly in areas that experience dry conditions.
  • Benefits: Planting Eucalyptus trees along a fence line can provide substantial shade, making them ideal for large gardens or rural properties. 
    • Their height and dense foliage can offer excellent wind protection and privacy.
    • Eucalyptus trees add a dramatic and natural feel to the landscape, with their tall stature and unique bark textures creating a visually striking feature. 
    • They are relatively low-maintenance, requiring minimal care once established, and their leaves can be used for their aromatic properties. 
    • However, due to their size, it’s important to consider the space and potential impact on surrounding structures when planting Eucalyptus trees along fence lines.

9. Moreton Bay Fig (Ficus macrophylla)

Moreton Bay Fig (Ficus macrophylla)

The Moreton Bay Fig is a grand and majestic tree, often seen gracing large landscapes and parks, and can be a magnificent addition to spacious fence lines in Australia.

  • Description: Ficus macrophylla is renowned for its enormous size and extensive root system. It features a wide, dense canopy of large, glossy green leaves, providing deep shade. The tree is notable for its buttress roots, both an aesthetic feature and a structural adaptation. The Moreton Bay Fig also produces small fruits that attract birds and wildlife.
  • Ideal conditions: This tree thrives in well-drained, fertile soil and prefers a sunny to partially shaded location. It is suited to various climates but grows best in warmer regions. Due to its size and root system, it requires ample space to grow, making it more suitable for large gardens or rural properties.
  • Benefits: 
    • When used along a fence line in a suitable space, the Moreton Bay Fig can create an impressive natural barrier, offering unparalleled privacy and shade. 
    • Its grandeur and lush foliage make it a stunning landscape feature, adding significant aesthetic value to any property. 
    • The tree’s canopy can also serve as a habitat for various bird species, enhancing the biodiversity of your garden. 
    • However, due to its expansive root system and large size, careful consideration and planning are necessary to ensure it is planted in an appropriate location where it won’t cause damage to fences, buildings, or underground utilities.

10. Illawarra Flame Tree (Brachychiton acerifolius)

Illawarra Flame Tree (Brachychiton acerifolius)

The Illawarra Flame Tree is a spectacular choice for those looking to add a dramatic flair to their fence line. Known for its brilliant red flowers, this tree is a showstopper in any Australian garden.

  • Description: Brachychiton acerifolius is most famous for its vibrant red, bell-shaped flowers that bloom profusely in late spring and early summer, creating a stunning contrast against its dark green foliage. Interestingly, the tree often loses its leaves just before it flowers, making the red blooms even more striking. It can grow up to 15-20 metres tall, with a broad, domed canopy.
  • Ideal conditions: The Illawarra Flame Tree thrives in well-drained soil and prefers a sunny position but can tolerate partial shade. It’s quite adaptable to different soil types and is drought-resistant once established. This tree is suitable for various climates but performs best in warmer regions.
  • Benefits: 
    • Along a fence line, the Illawarra Flame Tree offers a visual spectacle with its fiery blooms and good shade during the hotter months. 
    • Its size makes it suitable for larger gardens where it can grow without constraints. 
    • The tree’s canopy can also serve as a habitat for birds and wildlife, adding to the biodiversity of your outdoor space. 
    • When in bloom, it becomes a focal point in the landscape, drawing attention and admiration. 
    • However, due to its potential size, it’s important to ensure enough space for its growth, both above and below ground, to prevent any issues with fencing or nearby structures.

11. Jacaranda (Jacaranda mimosifolia)

Purple flowering tree cover

The Jacaranda, with its iconic lavender-blue blooms, is a beloved tree in many Australian landscapes, ideal for adding a touch of enchantment along spacious fence lines.

  • Description: Jacaranda mimosifolia is renowned for its stunning display of vibrant purple flowers that blanket the tree in late spring and early summer. It has a broad, spreading canopy provides dappled shade, making it a picturesque addition to any garden. The tree can grow up to 15-20 metres in height, with a similar spread, and features delicate, fern-like foliage.
  • Ideal conditions: Jacarandas thrive in well-drained, fertile soil and require full sun to bloom profusely. They are best suited to warmer, subtropical climates but can adapt to various conditions. Regular watering is beneficial during the growing season, especially for younger trees. For more information on ideal conditions, see our jacaranda problem troubleshooting guide here
  • Benefits: 
    • Planting a Jacaranda along a fence line can transform the area into a stunning landscape feature, especially in bloom. 
    • The tree’s expansive canopy offers generous shade, making it ideal for larger gardens or open spaces.
    • Jacarandas provide a habitat for birds and wildlife, enhancing the natural ecosystem of your garden. 
    • Its size and shape make it an excellent choice for creating a natural, visually appealing barrier along property boundaries. 
    • However, due to its size and the potential for leaf and flower drop, it’s important to consider the maintenance and space requirements when planting a Jacaranda near fences or structures.

12. Lemon-Scented Gum (Corymbia citriodora)

Lemon-Scented Gum (Corymbia citriodora)

The Lemon-Scented Gum is a striking and aromatic choice for fence lines, particularly in larger Australian landscapes. This tree is celebrated for its height, elegant form, and the refreshing citrus scent of its leaves.

  • Description: Corymbia citriodora can reach impressive heights, often up to 20-30 metres. It has a slender, upright form with smooth, pale bark that sheds in patches, revealing a stunning, mottled surface. The leaves, when crushed, release a delightful lemon scent, and the tree produces white flowers in the summer.
  • Ideal conditions: Lemon-scented gums prefer full sun and well-drained soil. They are highly drought-tolerant and thrive in various soil types, making them well-suited to many Australian climates. These trees are particularly popular in warmer, drier regions.
  • Benefits: 
    • Along a fence line, the Lemon-Scented Gum offers an impressive vertical accent, providing height and structure to the landscape. 
    • While not overly dense, its canopy offers a good amount of shade. 
    • The aromatic leaves add a sensory experience to the garden, creating a refreshing ambience. 
    • The tree’s white flowers attract birds and bees, enhancing the area’s biodiversity. 
    • Due to its significant height, the Lemon-Scented Gum is best suited for larger spaces where it can grow without constraints. Its aesthetic appeal and low maintenance requirements make it popular for those looking to add a tall, visually striking tree to their property boundary.

13. Sydney Red Gum (Angophora costata)

Sydney Red Gum (Angophora costata)

The Sydney Red Gum, a native Australian tree, is a splendid choice for fence lines, especially in larger landscapes where its full beauty can be appreciated. This tree is known for its unique appearance and character.

  • Description: Angophora costata stands out with its twisted branches and striking, reddish-brown bark that peels away to reveal a smooth, cream-coloured surface underneath. It grows to about 15-25 metres and has a broad, spreading canopy. The tree produces clusters of creamy-white flowers in the summer, attractive to various pollinators.
  • Ideal conditions: The Sydney Red Gum thrives in well-drained soils and prefers a sunny position. It is adaptable to different soil types, including sandy and rocky soils, and is drought-tolerant once established. This tree is well-suited to the Australian climate, particularly in coastal and hilly regions.
  • Benefits: 
    • Planting a Sydney Red Gum along a fence line can create a striking natural feature. 
    • Its broad canopy provides ample shade for larger gardens or open spaces. 
    • The tree’s unique bark and twisted branches add an artistic element to the landscape, enhancing the aesthetic appeal of the fence line. 
    • Additionally, its flowers are visually appealing and beneficial for local wildlife, contributing to the ecological diversity of the area. 
    • With its robust nature and low maintenance requirements, the Sydney Red Gum is a great choice for those looking to add a distinctive and hardy tree to their property boundary. 
    • However, due to its size and growth habit, it’s important to ensure enough space for its development to avoid any potential issues with nearby structures or fencing.

14. Queensland Bottle Tree (Brachychiton rupestris)

Queensland Bottle Tree (Brachychiton rupestris)

The Queensland Bottle Tree is an iconic Australian native renowned for its distinctive bottle-shaped trunk and resilience. It is a unique and striking choice for fence line planting in larger spaces.

  • Description: Brachychiton rupestris is most notable for its swollen trunk, which serves as a water reservoir. This feature gives the tree a sculptural quality, with a height of up to 15 metres. It has a relatively narrow canopy compared to its trunk, with lush and green foliage turning lovely reddish in the colder months. Small, bell-shaped flowers may appear on the tree, usually in shades of red or pink.
  • Ideal conditions: The Queensland Bottle Tree thrives in full sun and well-drained soil. It is highly drought-tolerant and can adapt to various soil types. It is suitable for Australian climates, especially in warmer, drier regions.
  • Benefits: 
    • The Queensland Bottle Tree can serve as a dramatic focal point along a fence line due to its unique shape and size.
    • Its canopy provides moderate shade, making it suitable for gardens where a balance of sun and shade is desired. 
    • The tree’s distinctive appearance adds a strong aesthetic element to the landscape, enhancing the visual appeal of the fence line. 
    • Its drought tolerance and low water requirements make it an excellent choice for water-wise gardens and those looking to add a touch of the unique Australian flora to their property. 
    • This tree is ideal for those seeking to add a distinctive and hardy feature to their garden boundary.

Planting and maintenance tips

When planting and maintaining trees along your fence line, following the right techniques and care practices is crucial for the health and longevity of the trees. Here are some practical tips to ensure your trees thrive:

Planting techniques

  • Choose the right location: Ensure enough space for the tree to grow above and below ground. Consider the tree’s mature size and root spread.
  • Dig the right size hole: The hole should be twice as wide as the root ball and just as deep. This allows roots to spread easily.
  • Position the tree correctly: The top of the root ball should be level with the ground. Avoid planting too deep or too shallow.

Soil preparation

  • Test the soil: Understand your soil type and pH level. Amend the soil if necessary to suit the specific needs of your planting tree.
  • Add organic matter: Mix in compost or aged manure to improve soil fertility and drainage.


  • Water deeply and regularly: After planting, water the tree deeply to settle the soil and eliminate air pockets. Regular watering is crucial during the first few years.
  • Mulch: Apply a layer of organic mulch around the tree’s base to retain moisture and regulate soil temperature.


  • Prune for shape and health: Remove dead, damaged, or crossing branches. Prune to maintain the desired shape and size, especially for trees grown for privacy or aesthetics.
  • Best time to prune: Generally, the best time to prune is during the dormant season. However, this can vary depending on the tree species.

General care

  • Fertilising: Following the manufacturer’s instructions, apply a balanced fertiliser in early spring to promote healthy growth.
  • Pest and disease management: Regularly inspect for signs of pests or diseases. Treat promptly with appropriate methods if any issues arise.
  • Protection from elements: In extreme weather conditions, such as prolonged drought or frost, provide extra care like watering or frost protection.

Remember, each tree species may have specific needs, so it’s important to research the particular requirements of the trees you choose for your fence line. With proper planting and care, your trees will grow healthy, strong, and a beautiful addition to your landscape.

Challenges in maintaining trees along a fence line

Maintaining trees along a fence line can pose unique challenges. Awareness of these issues and implementing strategies to prevent or mitigate them is key to ensuring a harmonious coexistence between trees and fences.

  1. Root invasion: Tree roots can grow extensively and potentially invade the area under fences, leading to lifting or cracking. To avoid this, choose tree species with non-invasive root systems. Consider installing root barriers when planting to direct root growth deeper into the soil and away from the fence.
  2. Overgrowth: Trees can grow larger than anticipated, causing overhanging branches that may intrude into neighbouring properties or interfere with fence integrity. We recommend regular pruning to control the size and shape of the tree. Be proactive in trimming branches that come close to the fence line. Selecting the right tree species that match the available space can also prevent overgrowth issues.
  3. Fence damage: Apart from root invasion, falling branches or increased shade and moisture can deteriorate fence materials over time. Consequently, regularly inspect the tree and the fence for early signs of damage. Prune any dead or weak branches that pose a risk of falling. If possible, choose fencing materials that are resistant to rot and moisture. Providing adequate space between the tree and the fence can also reduce the risk of physical damage.

By understanding these challenges and taking proactive steps, you can enjoy the benefits of having trees along your fence line while minimising potential issues. Regular care, appropriate tree selection, and preventive measures are key to maintaining a healthy and beautiful fence line landscape.

Design ideas for fence line trees

Integrating trees into your fence line can transform a simple boundary into a stunning landscape feature. Here are some creative layout and design ideas to effectively incorporate trees along your fence line:

  1. Layered planting: Create depth and interest by planting trees of varying heights and forms. Place taller trees like Eucalyptus or Jacaranda at the back and smaller ones like Crepe Myrtle or Bottlebrush in front. This staggered approach can create a visually appealing, multi-dimensional effect.
  2. Symmetrical planting: For a formal look, plant trees along the fence line at regular intervals. Choose uniform trees like the Magnolia ‘Little Gem’ or Lilly Pilly and prune them to maintain a consistent shape and size.
  3. Mixed borders: Combine trees with shrubs, perennials, and grasses for a diverse, layered border. This not only adds variety in texture and colour but also supports biodiversity. For instance, pair the Lemon-Scented Gum with native shrubs and flowering ground covers.
  4. Espalier trees: Train trees like Olive or certain fruit trees to grow flat against the fence in an espalier pattern. This technique is perfect for narrow spaces, adding a unique architectural element to your garden.
  5. Natural screen: Create a privacy screen with fast-growing, dense trees like the Tuckeroo or Sydney Red Gum. Allow them to grow naturally for a lush, informal hedge that provides privacy and wind protection.
  6. Focal points: Use striking trees like the Illawarra Flame Tree or Jacaranda as focal points at corners or gates. Their vibrant blooms can draw the eye and add a splash of colour.
  7. Canopy overhang: If space allows, let the canopy of larger trees like the Moreton Bay Fig overhang the fence slightly. This creates a sense of enclosure and cosiness, perfect for creating a secret garden feel.
  8. Wildlife haven: Choose trees that attract birds and wildlife, like the Bottlebrush or Eucalyptus. Planting these near bird feeders or baths can create a lively and engaging environment.
  9. Climber support: Plant trees that can naturally support climbing plants. For example, a sturdy tree like the Lemon-Scented Gum can support climbing roses or jasmine, adding another layer of beauty.
  10. Seasonal interest: Select trees with different colours and textures throughout the seasons. For example, combine the autumn foliage of Japanese Maple with the spring blooms of Crepe Myrtle for year-round interest.

Remember, the key to successful fence line tree design is to consider the trees’ growth habits and maintenance needs in relation to the available space and overall garden style. With thoughtful planning and creativity, trees can enhance the beauty and functionality of your fence line.

Final Thoughts

Incorporating trees into your fence line is not just about aesthetics; it’s a commitment to enhancing your environment sustainably. Choosing the right trees, considering their growth habits, and maintaining them responsibly creates a living boundary that offers privacy, beauty, and a haven for wildlife. 

Embrace this opportunity to positively impact your landscape and the ecosystem, one tree at a time.


Which tree is most easy to grow?

The Bottlebrush (Callistemon) is one of the easiest trees to grow thanks to its hardiness and adaptability to various climates and soil types. It requires minimal maintenance and offers vibrant flowers.

What is the best evergreen for a fence line?

The Lilly Pilly (Syzygium smithii) stands out as an excellent evergreen for fence lines, offering dense foliage for privacy, resilience to pests, and adaptability to different environments.

What are the fastest-growing privacy trees in Australia?

Eucalyptus species and the Tuckeroo (Cupaniopsis anacardioides) are among the fastest-growing trees in Australia, ideal for quickly establishing a privacy screen along fence lines.

What tree makes the best fence?

The Lilly Pilly (Syzygium smithii) is often considered the best for creating a living fence due to its dense growth, ease of pruning into shape, and fast growth rate.

What is the best plant for a fence line?

The best plant for a fence line depends on your specific needs. Still, the Crepe Myrtle (Lagerstroemia) is highly recommended for its beautiful blooms, moderate size, and ease of maintenance.