Answer: Now is an excellent time to plant. I agree with you - if you planted ficus you would be wise to keep the roots contained. Arborvitae are great for providing a screen between neighboring properties. You can top them at 8' and keep them there for a good many years. Topping isn't recommended for areas with winter snow, but I don't think you'll have a problem with that!
Best wishes with your new hedge!
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