Australia is blessed with a unique ecosystem far removed from the flora and fauna that inhabit the Old World and the New, and plays host to a wide variety of trees that grow nowhere else in the world, from the famous eucalyptus tree family to the official floral emblem of Australia, the golden wattle.
However, these trees aren't just biological curiosities; many can be put to practical use, and many native Australian trees serve particularly well as screening trees that can provide privacy and seclusion for your garden. The following Australian native trees can all be used to create dense screens of foliage and are widely stocked by tree nurseries that specialise in native plants:
Lilly pilly (Syzygium smithii)
S small tree that can grow to about 5 metres tall when left unpruned, lilly pilly trees are ideal for creating dense screens of foliage around your garden. As evergreen trees, they do not shed their leaves, allowing them to provide privacy year-round. Lilly pillys are also very hardy, and are capable of growing well in nutrient-poor soils and shaded areas; once grown to a sufficient height, they also have moderate resistance to frost.
Lilly pillys aren't all substance and no style either, and they are prized by many gardeners for their distinctive white blossoms. These blossoms turn into edible berries in the summer and attract a wide variety of attractive wild birds. Be aware, however, that these trees are not particularly drought resistant and will require regular watering during summer months.
Weeping bottlebrush (Melaleuca viminalis)
While most varieties of bottlebrush tend to remain as small shrubs throughout their lives, weeping bottlebrushes (also known as creek bottlebrushes) can grow up to 10 metres tall; despite this, they retain the dense foliage of their smaller cousins. This makes them excellent screening trees, especially when branches towards the base of the trunk are left unpruned. Weeping bottlebrushes also have the same distinctive, vivid red blossoms grown by smaller members of the bottlebrush family, making for a beautiful and ornamental privacy screen.
Once grown to a reasonable size, weeping bottlebrushes are very resistant to droughts and can survive and thrive when grown in most types of soil. If you choose these unique trees for creating a privacy screen, make sure they are planted in sunnier parts of the garden, as they do not take well to shade.
Lemon myrtle (Backhousia citriodora)
A small tree that generally grows to about 5 metres in height, lemon myrtles have large leaves and dense crowns and provide excellent eye-level screening for your garden. Capable of growing in both tropical and warmer temperate climates, lemon myrtles are particularly renowned for their ability to grow in poor soils and are exceptionally resistant to drought and dry soil types.
However, the main reason lemon myrtles are popular screening trees is the distinctive, pleasant lemon scent given off by their foliage, which is especially noticeable during the summer months. The leaves actually taste of lemon and are used in a wide variety of indigenous and modern Australian dishes as a substitute for actual lemons.
If you decide to make a privacy screen from these remarkably versatile trees, be careful not to over-water them, as poorly drained soil is just about the only thing that can kill a lemon myrtle. They also grow quite slowly, so you may wish to spend a little extra and purchase mature plants from your chosen nursery.