tree for privacy


requesting recommendation for a tree to plant in backyard for privacy from rear neighbors. My backyard is south facing, slopes towards back fence, 40′ wide, with 3 meters of grass between a 2 meter wooden fence at border with rear neighbors and stone patio in my yard. Clay soil, Niagara on the Lake/Virgil area close to but not on lake.


Hello, It is unclear whether you want just one tree or possibly a hedge for privacy from your neighbours on the other side of the fence. The neighbours already have a deciduous tree on their property, which will provide some privacy after it leafs out.  If you are looking for year-round privacy, then you should consider an evergreen hedge along your fence. Options include Eastern cedar or yew–see here.

Evergreen hedges do need regular pruning once they are established.

However, if you prefer to plant a tree, a smaller-size tree such as a Pagoda dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) or a serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis) would work well in the space you describe. Not only are both native to Eastern North American, they will have at least 3-season interest: flowers in the spring, edible berries in the summer and colour in the fall. The Pagoda dogwood has an attractive shape with horizontal tiered-branching. There are different species of serviceberries–the A.canadensis has an upright form and will spread by suckers to eventually produce a multi-stemmed tree; A. laevis is slightly larger than the A. canadensis. The mature height of all of these options would between 15 and 25 ft.  Furthermore, both the serviceberries and Pagoda dogwood tolerate a range of soils.

You mention that your property slopes towards the back fence–is the area wetter along the fence? If so, it might be an asset when growing either the evergreens or the serviceberries.

We trust that these options will help to give you some ideas as to what might work best for you.