Tips for Using Plants to Reduce Noise in the Landscape

Water Conservation for Lawn and Landscape September 03, 2014 Print Friendly and PDF

Diagram illustrating effect of different types of barriers on noise reduction. Example 3 illustrates planting depth and placement for sound reduction. 
AV Tree Farm

Unwanted noise can lead to a variety of health problems, including anxiety and hearing loss.

Using plants, berms, and solid barriers together with water wise plants is an effective way to reduce unwanted sound. 

Using Plants to Reduce Noise

Plants and other soft surfaces absorb and scatter soundwaves. Plants are also aesthetically pleasing. Using plants alone, however, is the least effective method for noise reduction in places with limited space.

Although expensive, if space is not a constraint, creating a natural or forested area might be the best option. Using water-wise plants from local plant communities can provide multiple functions of noise reduction, wildlife habitat, and enhance the sense of place. 

Noise reduction or abatement using vegetation is most effective when:

  • Planting depth is a greater than 75 to 100 feet
  • Planting height is at least 18 to 20 feet  
  • Vegetation is densely planted
  • Combinations of evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs are used
  • Different layers of vegetation are used
  • Vegetation is planted close to the noise source

Highway Traffic Noise Abatement
The Overstory Agroforestry Journal: Trees as Noise Buffers

Additional Resources:


Florida: Garden Q&A - Trees as Noise Barrier




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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.