Privacy Hedge


Privacy issue
What fast growing columnar fastigate deciduous tree would you recommend for a partial sun /full sun area for a privacy row in a narrow space between two houses in Toronto. Kindred spirit oak or sourgum perhaps.

And do you have a recommendation for a fast growing columnar coniferous tree in the same situation as above? I want a tree plus 15 ft if possible. Thin man arborvitae or Taylor juniper perhaps?



Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners with your question about a privacy hedge.

Quercus robur ‘Fastigiata’ or Upright English Oak can form an urban hedge which is tolerant of salt, drought and urban conditions. Sun and movement of air is necessary because they are susceptible to powdery mildew. This deciduous tree retains its bronze leaves throughout winter which provides seasonal privacy. Plant details are below:

Quercus Robur ‘Fastigiata” Profile

Quercus x warei ‘Nadler’ Kindred Spirit is a hybrid of Swamp Oak (Q. bicolor) and the Columnar English Oak (Q. robur ‘Fastigiata’). It was developed to be powdery mildew resistant and drought resistant. This tree enjoys full sun and retains yellow and bronze leaves in winter.

Quercus x warei ‘Nadler’ Profile

Nyssa sylvatica or Sourgum tree would be suitable as a street or backyard shade tree rather than for hedging. It tolerates wet areas and is slow-growing with a spread of 20 – 30 feet. The dark blue fruit it produces attracts birds and wildlife.

Nyssa Sylvatica, Sourgum Profile

Thuja occidentalis or Eastern White Cedar is a good option for hedges. Many cultivars of this plant are available such as ‘SMTOTM’: Thin Man™, ‘SMTOBP’: Skywalker™, ‘SMTOYB’: Polar Gold™, ‘Janed Gold’: Highlights® and more. Cultivars of Thuja occidentalis are bred for different heights, colour, zones and resistance to winter burn. Their tall, thin profile however, may not handle snow load well and spread apart with the weight.

Eastern White Cedar Profile

The article below describes new cultivars for woody plants, including Eastern White Cedar.

Cultivars of Eastern White Cedar

Juniperus virginiana, commonly called Eastern red cedar enjoys full sun and well-drained soil. There are some insect and blight problems associated with junipers such as cedar apple rust, twig blight, scale, bagworms and mites.

Juniperus virginiana ‘Taylor’ Profile

Below is the Toronto Master Gardeners Guide for Evergreens:

Evergreen Hedging

Another answer to a question sent to Toronto Master Gardeners about privacy hedges is below:

Privacy hedge

As detailed above, there are many choices available for hedging. You have specific growing conditions in a tight, urban situation. Before you invest time and money in the planting, perhaps consulting a professional landscape contractor or designer could clarify the decision. Landscape Ontario is a good source for recommendations.

Landscape Ontario

Good luck with your hedge and enjoy the privacy and beauty trees can offer to your property.