Read our Blog post about how to trim hedges and plant hedges. Hedges can provide many functions from defining the borders of a garden, to providing a backdrop for your feature plants. Or creating a windbreak, or helping to contain animals and livestock. A well-kept hedge can really add to the overall appeal of a garden. An out of control hedge on the other hand can dominate a garden, allowing little room for anything else and lead to an uninviting space to be in. This Blog post will offer some tips for anyone wishing to plant a hedge and also offer advice for how to keep it in its best condition.
When deciding to plant a hedge it is important to consider what the function of the hedge will be.
It may be that the hedge has more than one function so all of these need to be considered.
Functions for a hedge to consider could be:
- Providing a physical boundary for children
- Fencing in animals
- A visual screen
- Creating a windbreak
- Providing food for you to eat
The function of the hedge will help you choose what species to plant; thorns may be useful for holding livestock but are not so welcome when children are trying to retrieve footballs. Another option could be to plant a mixed hedge to add a variety of colour, texture, and possible fruit, into your garden.
Ground conditions may also determine what can be planted. If in doubt, check what soil type you have and select plants that are suitable. You can always try and improve the soil by mixing through well-rotted compost. It is also a good idea to clear the planting area of weeds to remove any competition.
The planting depth and spacing of the plants will be determined by the species that you have chosen. Ask the nursery when you buy them for these details.
More information about this can also be found at https://www.southernwoods.co.nz/uploads/content/files/Info10-HedgingGuide.pdf
You will need to mulch and irrigate the hedge once it has been planted. Apply well-rotted wood mulch to a depth of 50mm and approximately half a meter out on both sides of the hedge. Watering can be done by hand or you could install an automatic system to make things lower maintenance.
The principles of how to trim hedges and keeping hedges neat and tidy are quite simple.
Knowing how to trim hedges is often when problems arise when its been too long between trims. Start trimming while the hedge is still young. Nipping the tops out of the young plants once they are established will encourage them to thicken up. When trimming the hedge, cut it a little lower and further in than the desired proportions. This way, each time you can it you are only removing the thinner regrowth and leaving the thicker woodier parts. Aim to cut a hedge at least twice a year if you wish to have a formal look to it. The species of plant and local environment may dictate a higher or lower frequency of cutting. It can be tempting to leave longer between trims but this leads to problems further down the track. More information about hedge cutting can be found at https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=353
Finally, if you have the space, let it grow. Not all hedges have to be formal. If you have lots of room, select a species that have an eventual height that will not out grow their space and just let them do their thing. Not many people have this option, so if you do, take full advantage of it.