Mixed Privacy Hedge in Shade


I live at DVP and Lawrence. I believe Toronto is Zone 6a.
I want to replace an existing chain link fence across the back of my yard with a mixed hedge

-55 feet
– gate in the middle (we are on a pathway)
– close to full shade once leaves come in on the surrounding tall trees
– would like all season interest (and some privacy but not full needed in winter)
– height can vary but want 6 foot+ for most part

I do not know they soil type – how would I determine this? It’s currently just grass (it sometimes has moss in the grass so I think that means its acidic / clay like?)


Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners.  You are taking on an ambitious project, but one that will certainly enhance your property.

Moss can be an indication of acidic soil and the heavy shade from the nearby trees may also be a factor. It may also be a sign of soil that is low in nutrients or is not draining well. If you want to have your soil tested, this website provides links to accredited laboratories in Ontario including one at The University of Guelph.  http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/resource/soillabs.htm. Simple soil testing kits can also often be purchased at garden centres.

There are several published posts on the Toronto Master Gardener website that may answer many of your questions and will provide some plant suggestions.



This post about privacy hedges has several deciduous plant options. Oakleaf Hydrangea and Limelight Hydrangea will grow in shade and Saskatoon Serviceberry tolerates part shade. https://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/askagardener/mixed-hedge-privacy-screen/. For a shady site, Yew or Hemlock may be good evergreen choices.

Finally, this Garden Guide on ornamental shrubs will give you lots of information on planting, pruning and maintenance as well as listing a large variety of plant choices.


April 21, 2021