Gardening > Hedges



© Klagyi

Hedges are an extremely attractive way of creating boundaries around a garden. They can also be planted to screen off a shed or garage or to create different areas within the garden. Berry or nut-bearing hedging can help attract wildlife and unlike fences hedges do not create frost pockets and they make very effective wind breaks.

Informal hedges can be grown from almost any shrubs planted in a line and allowed to flower. Formal hedges are regularly clipped into shape and their height and size are controlled by cutting.

There is a huge choice of hedging plants to choose from. They can be bought bare-rooted, container-grown or bald. As with trees bare-rooted hedging can only be planted out in the winter months when they are dormant. Container-grown shrubs and hedging can be planted out at any time of the year except when the ground is frozen. Bald hedging needs to be planted out in the autumn or spring.

Preparing the Ground

1/ Use a string to mark out the proposed line of the hedge.
2/ Dig out a trench about 2 foot deep and 3 foot wide. Dig as for double digging.
3/ Put in a good layer of compost or manure (about 3 inches) and then cover with soil.
4/ Add another layer of compost or manure.
5/ Refill the trench.
6/ Put 2 handfuls of blood, fish and bonemeal per yard onto the top of the trench.
7/ Leave for at least 2 weeks.

After 2 weeks or so plant out the hedging at the recommended distance for the particular species. Make sure that there are no special instructions for the chosen hedging. For example privet and quickthorn should be cut right back to about 1 inch above the ground straight after planting.

Care of the Hedge

1/ Prune as necessary according to the type of hedge and whether it is to be formal or informal.
2/ Keep the bottom of the hedge clear of rubbish so air can circulate freely.
3/ Feed hedges in early spring with blood, fish and bonemeal and then mulch with compost or well rotted manure.

Put plenty of thought into what sort of hedge to grow. Remember that it will need maintaining on both sides and that over high hedges can cause trouble with neighbours. If you require all year round privacy choose an evergreen.