Some fast-growing hedges are privet, Japanese barberry, boxwood and burning bush. All of these shrubs grow between 6 and 1 inches a year. It is best to buy large plants with roots covered in burlap as these create a hedge instantly.
Shrubs bought in containers and with bare roots are small, and though fast growing, take a few years to make a good hedge.
The Japanese barberry grows so quickly and abundantly that it is considered an invasive species in some parts of the United States. Moreover, the red berries attract birds and squirrels, and these animals disperse the seeds. Up to 90 percent of these seeds germinate. The fact that deer avoid Japanese barberry also contributes to its reproductive success. The shrub, which grows from between 2 and 8 feet tall, has oval leaves and pendant, pale yellow flowers.
Boxwoods are evergreen shrubs that are grown for more formal hedges and as foundation plants. They need full or partial sun, but need to be kept cool and well-watered in hot climates. Boxwood also needs well-drained soil and needs to be watered deeply, at least for the first two years.
Burning bush not only makes a fast-growing hedge, but is prized for its brilliantly crimson fall foliage. It does not need a great deal of care.