I've been agonizing over tree selection for my backyard for about a year or two now. I recently lost my filbert tree to verticillium wilt. Before the tree died, I had a big problem with the view out the back windows: we have a terribly ugly apartment complex right behind our house! But the tree masked part of it and I was willing to live with the rest of it. Once the tree died, I had every excuse to plant away, but I really am having a hard time finding something appropriate. I want a lovely screen of trees that masks the apartments in a continuous way during in the warm months. I do not want something evergreen, nor something huge that will break up the concrete behind the fence, nor something so heavily leafy that will completely shade out the sunshine our south-facing yard offers us for summer gardening. So in a sense, I'm not looking for something that totally blocks them out, but which allows for diffuse sunlight coming through a lightly leafy canopy. It must also be resistant to verticillium, be safe for hens, not make any nasty odors, or cause any other terrible problems (like tons of pollen or cottonwood fluff). It should be tall enough to screen out the apartment roofs, but not have such a huge trunk that they will completely overtake the chicken run. The trees should have an oval, vase, or excurrent shape so that they create a nice even screen. The shape needs to be sort of compact so that the branches don't reach over too far into the apartment's alleyway. It would be even better if they made beautiful spring flowers, fall leaves, or made a good habitat for birds. Here, I will attach a cheesy sketch of what the yard looks like:
And here is what I would like it to look like when the trees are planted.
Here is a list of verticillium-resistant trees: http://pnwhandbooks.org/plantdisease/pathogen-articles/pathogens-common-many-plants/fungi/plants-resistant-or-susceptible-verticillium-wi
Is there any tree expert here who can help me out? I know I'm asking for the moon and stars! I believe the right tree is out there, but the problem is so boggling for me, with so many details, that I'm having a really hard time so I thought I'd ask for help.