Grow An Award-Winning Hedge
In The Garden – By Stephen and Kristin Pategas
How did that hedge get so mean and ugly looking? You’ve seen them and we’ve certainly grimaced over them. They are seemingly everywhere. Proper plant selection, watering, fertilization, and maintenance are the keys to the creation of a hedge that can provide privacy, screen unattractive objects, and provide color and textural foliage.
This is what it takes to grow an award-winning hedge:
- Judge the growing conditions – sun or shade, wet, dry, or in-between soil conditions.
- Figure out how high it needs to become to accomplish your goals. Are you screening a fence, a one-story house, or a two-story structure?
Calculate the horizontal space it must grow within. Some side yards are too narrow for a wide hedge.
- Do you want blossoms for seasonal color?
- Select the proper cold hardy plant or combination of plants to meet the above requirements.
- Plant the rootballs at the proper depth with the top roots two inches above the soil level.
- When planting, eliminate air pockets by using the end of a nozzle-free hose (set at a trickle) to throughly water in the soil around the rootball. Add soil as it settles to fill in the air pockets.
- Cover the rootballs to a two to three-inch depth with renewable organic mulch such as pine bark or leaves saved from the spring leaf drop. Keep the mulch three inches from the stems.
- Water frequently until established (daily for one week, then every other day for two weeks, and then twice a week for three weeks). A soaker hose on a timer on a hose bibb works well. Then water regularly. Note that yew podocarpus needs extra water for about one year but requires little water once established.
If it’s a flowering plant and you would like it to bloom, learn what time of year to prune so flower buds aren’t trimmed away. Generally, it is safe to prune after it flowers.
- Trim the hedge by hand with hand pruners regularly as it grows. Cut back shoots part way at leaf buds or at side shoots to encourage full growth.
- Allow the base of the hedge to get wider than the top so the sun can reach the bottom foliage. Lean into the hedge as you prune so the top is always narrower than the base – when viewed from the end envision slanting sides with a pyramidal shape.
- Continue to prune it by hand without shears. During every other pruning, reach inside the hedge to prune out some branches. This allows light to penetrate inside to generate new growth and extend the life of the plant.
Hopefully, you don’t have one of those creepy hedges. If you do, now you know why and what to do to turn ugly to lovely.
Hortus Oasis (FL26000315) in Winter Park is a boutique garden design company specializing in residential, commercial and specialty gardens. Stephen is a registered landscape architect and Kristin is a certified landscape designer. Contact them at Hortus Oasis (FL26000315) in Winter Park is a boutique garden design company specializing in residential, commercial and specialty gardens. Stephen is a registered landscape architect and Kristin is a certified landscape designer. Contact them at 407-622-4886/ firstname.lastname@example.org