Hedges are a versatile style of plants. Some have blooms that would make great alternatives to sympathy flowers or as a gift for someone you love. During summer there are lots of things you need to do, like source the best weed killer for flower beds in your garden.
If you are looking for an interesting and lively alternative to a traditional fence around the perimeter of your garden, you should give serious consideration to hedges, especially those consisting of evergreen, hardy and thick growing plants.
How to Take Care of Your Garden Hedges
A well-maintained hedge can help to provide a place to live for birds and other critters in the local area, protection against high winds and privacy from the rest of the world. Those plants can come in handy if they bloom, if you’re interested in arts and crafts and using dried flowers.
You’ll note that we said well-maintained. That’s because a good hedge is a healthy one. If you are relatively new to hedge ownership and management, then you’ve come to the right place. In the following post, we are going to look first at planting a hedge and then taking care of it and trimming it back, when necessary.
Preparing for a Hedge
The very first thing you need to do before you plant your hedge is to prepare the ground and create a planting trench for it. It should be the correct width and length, which will depend on the dimensions of the hedge and that in turn will depend on the kind of foliage that will grow, where you are placing your hedge and its purpose.
Typically, though, the planting trench for a hedge should be around 30cm wider than the root ball of the plant and the same depth.
Planning the Layout of the Hedge
For a hedge that’s not especially dense, place one or two plants at one-meter intervals and for a denser hedge, place a greater number, say between two and five together in the same spot.
To encourage them to spread out, try to stagger the separate plants into a double-row formation. You can achieve a very colorful and aesthetically pleasing hedge by planting different colored needles and leaves together. For instance, consider having a copper beech and some arborvitae or yew varieties.
If you are looking to establish a hedge as a barrier against the wind, consider elm, basswood or even yew. Whereas if you want to block out sound, cherry laurel is a good option. For privacy and to stop intruders getting onto your property, think about using firethorn, hawthorn, holly or barberry.
Planting Your Hedge
You need to make sure that you have particularly loose soil that has been enhanced with high-quality compost, as hedges grow in very narrow spaces. Place a sheet of plastic over the area you are going to plant the hedge and make holes for individual plants.
The plastic is there to provide protection for its roots in winter, limit the amount of evaporation during summer and to keep weeds under control. To help, you can spread out some mulch.
When distributing and planting them, make sure the side shoots of your hedge plants are only touching each other a little. If they are placed too tightly packed in together, their growth will be greatly affected. Jiggle the plants thoroughly to reduce the chance of there being hollow areas and to help dirt reach the roots.
How to Maintain Your Hedge
Once you have a hedge established, you need to look after it. Fortunately, hedge maintenance is very straightforward and includes task such as:
- Fertilizing evergreens using horn meal and hoof to make sure the soil remains loose.
- Keeping it watered regularly, particularly when you experience dry periods both in summer and winter. It’s worth noting though that evergreens need less water than flowering or deciduous hedges.
- During fall towards the tail end of the season, you should remove any dead weeds and wood and lay some fresh mulch
- Planting climbing flowers is a great way to fill any gaps and cover over bald spots.
Trimming Your Hedge
The first time you trim your hedge should normally be soon after you’ve planted it. Fully trim back any deciduous bushes you have in your hedge by around half their size, as these grow the quickest and trim any plants with needles, so they all have a similar height.
When you have a deciduous hedge firmly in place, you should always prune its new wood during summer so branching can be encouraged. Conversely, in winter you should cut it right back to the older, original wood to make sure there will be new and strong shoots.
Evergreen hedges require trimming regularly, without cutting the old wood as this could result in branches looking bald. You should trim any shaped hedges you have three separate occasions during summer and spring. Lay a sheet of tarpaulin or plastic at the bottom of the hedge on the side you are working on as this will provide an easy way to collect the trimmings, reducing the amount of work you need to do.