Backyard fence

(Question)

I want to plant a fence that will provide privacy all year round as my backyard is fully exposed to neighbours. South facing, dry,clay, Ottawa (think it is zone 4). I like the red obelisk beech and was thinking of planting 3. Your suggestions are welcomed. Wrote before but did not send a pic. Thanks for this service

(Answer)

The European Beech (Fagus sylvatica) is a lovely specimen tree, and although it is not evergreen its tan coloured leaves often persist on the tree over the winter, making it a good choice for hedging if you prefer a deciduous option. “Red Obelisk”, like other beeches, appreciates a rich, moist, well-drained soil. European hornbeam (Carpinus betula) is another columnar deciduous tree which holds its leaves over winter.  Your local nurseries can advise you on the choices that are best for the Ottawa hardiness zone.

If you are considering an evergreen solution, a commonly used hedging is the Eastern White Cedar (Thuja occidentalis) because it is reliable, easily obtained and relatively fast growing. However, there are other evergreen options. Our Gardening Guide Evergreens Suitable for Hedging contains some other good choices.  You will need to be sure that these Toronto suggestions are hardy in your zone.

If you decide to go with a cedar hedge, this previous Toronto Master Gardeners post contains valuable advice on pruning and care: https://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/askagardener/swamp-cedars-in-winter/