Privacy Screen

I am landscaping our backyard, and have received conflicting advice regarding what plantings would make a good year-round privacy screen. We are in Brooklyn, NY, USDA zone 7, and there is partial shade in the area we need to plant. It had been suggested to us that we plant a row of Emerald Green Arborvitae, that this would grow quickly, is relatively inexpensive, and will tolerate the temperature range and shade in the projected area it will be located. Another source suggested that arborvitae in general and this cultivar in particular tends to send up multiple leaders, grows laterally, and tends to fare poorly in high winds and heavy snow. Alternatives mentioned include Peobody Arborvitae, Golden Arborvitae, and (most recommended) Leyland Cypress.
I realize that economizing now may prove to be more costly in the future. Does anyone have any comments on the above information, or have any other suggestions that would fit my needs?
Thanks in advance...
Mark
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It is true that arborvitae can suffer from heavy snowloads - winds are less of a problem. Unfortunately it is the same aspect that makes them an excellent narrow, evergreen screen - multiple leaders, an ascending branch structure and dense foliage - that leads to winter damage from heavy snow or ice loads. It can be a little time consuming and awkward when the trees get larger, but you can very simply bind them with fishing line or strong twine in late fall to prevent winter damage.
Emerald Green (aka Smaragd) is the most popular arb sold and for very good reason,. It is hardy, tolerant of a range of growing conditions, will only reach 15' and has a very lush and dense dark green foliage. But it doesn't grow very fast. For very satisfactory privacy screening, I'd suggest you buy the largest you can afford. 'Green Giant' is a hybrid and a very fast and large growing arborvitae. It may not be suitable where space is an issue or if you wish the height to remain fixed. Leyland cypress are also extremely fast growing and have the potential for being a very large tree after not too long a period of time. They also experience some severe fungal and insect problems through many parts of the east. Where space permits and their health is better, they make a great natural screen, but are not suitable hedging material - it's just silly to attempt to keep something that wants to reach 60" plus at the rate of 3-6' a year to a hedge height of 8-10 or even 15 feet.
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