By Rachel Vogan
We are now well into may and the days are really closing in now. It seems to be even harder to find time to get into the garden. But when I do – it’s fantastic! Its time to start thinking about your hedges, weather it be planting a new one or looking after your existing hedge. So read on to find out more.
Hedges are planted for a number of reasons; the most common is for privacy. Hedges add another living element to your garden and home, they are a thing of beauty. The act of trimming plants to formally create a hedge is a very ancient gardening practice. A good hedge adds value and character to your property, and best of all hedges are not that hard to grow.
Key things you need for successful Hedges.Choosing the right plant: this is crucial. Make sure you know how high you want it, what sort of soil and conditions you have. Choosing the wrong plant can have devastating results but unfortunately its often the hardest part of growing a hedge. The first decision is to decide weather you want a deciduous hedge (one that looses its leaves in winter) or an evergreen hedge (one with leaves all year round). Next you need to make sure that the plant you choose will grow where you want to plant it. For example Buxus will not grow well in a sandy, dry soil. Soil Preparation: Prepare you soil with compost and fertiliser, and water well before and after planting. Dig over you soil well, add compost and organic matter to aerate the soil. Water the soil well for a few days before planting. Add a general fertiliser to the soil before planting to give the plants a head start. Set up irrigation systems for your hedge at this stage if you plan to use one. Planting: check what the recommended planting distance is, try to follow it. Obviously the closer you plant your hedge the quicker it will join up to make as hedge however don’t be tempted to do this. Pruning: A prune once or twice a year is enough. Pruning helps to maintain good healthy plant growth. Fertiliser: Apply a good layer of manure twice a year or alternatively apply general slow release fertiliser twice a year. Mulch: Hedges love mulch, it helps reduce moisture loss and keep the weed levels down. Spraying: If you are religious about spraying, a good winter clean up spray of insecticide and fungicide is ideal. But if you would rather spray when a problem occurs this is quite acceptable. Camellia
Conclusion: Growing a hedge is not hard, many of us think “I don’t know how to, so I doubt I would be able to grow one” – Rubbish!! It’s easy, make sure you choose the right plant. Seek good garden advice from an expert on what you want to achieve, what plants would be suitable in your area. Hedges can be used to divide up areas of your garden, just like walls in a house. Hedges add a different dimension to the garden that can never be matched by any type of constructed fence. It’s a living garden feature that will attract birds, change colour with the seasons and it height adjustable. I don’t know of any fence that you can cut back, and the next year you can let it grow a little taller if you like.