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Growing and Selection of Hedges

Updated on April 27, 2012

to hedge or not to hedge


Do you really want a hedge? That is the first question. The second question if the answer to the first is yes is why do you want a hedge? In other words what purpose or purposes do you want the hedge to fulfill?


Are you seeking privacy, a windbreak, a food source, shelter for wildlife, what is iit that you want to achieve?


Think of a hedge as a living wall or fence, one that is most commonly made up of one type of plant and that provides a simple, yet pleasing look.


You can plant a hedge that demands considerable maintenance or you can plant one that does not; it all depends upon what you are trying to achieve.



The hedge is a part of the framework of your garden; you can go for the informal look and employ edges that will only need to be pruned now and then or you can go for the more formal, shaped look and consequently do more pruning and shaping.

The hedge adds a feeling of movement to pathways as it transforms the flat and two dimensional lines of the path into channels that pull the walker along.


Hedges come in sizes; the knee hedge is known as a border hedge and you will see them along the edges of flowerbeds and paths.


Next, comes the low hedges which reach between the knee and the waist. The low hedge serves as a barrier keeping people in or out of a defined space.


The medium hedge will be waist to chest high and work as privacy screens for people who are sitting down. The medium hedge also works as a barrier and can be sued as a strong backdrop for flowers if the hedge is a dark green texture.


The tall hedge which stands between 6 and 8 feet provides privacy as it encloses the space it surrounds.


The biggest of them all, the hedge wall will be from eight to 50 feet in height and enhance privacy and brings a strong architectural element to yoru property.


There are a few questions that you will want to answer when deciding what type of hedge you require.


First, as always, take a good long look ate your property. Get to know it well. This will help you to decide what function or functions the hedge will serve. The second question is how much time do you want to devote to hedge maintenance?


Now that you have answered these two fundamental questions; here are a few more that will help you decide.


  1. What, if anything, needs to be screened?
  2. What edges require definition?
  3. Is privacy an issue?
  4. How will the space be used?
  5. Are you planning to block wind or sun glare?
  6. Is snow removal equipment sued on the sidewalk? If yes set hedge back3 feet or so.
  7. Do you want to attract birds, bees?
  8. How much sun does the site get?


Once you have the answers you are ready to determine which hedge plant will best suit your needs.


If you are looking for a border hedge then Berberis thunbergil (Dwarf Japanese barberry) or potentilla fruitcosa (potentilla) are possibilities. The choice will depend upon your gardening zone. Visit you local plant centre and talk with the manager tell her or him what you are planning and get input.



If you are looking for a medium hedge one that is waist to chest high, there are many possibilities. For example: Cornus mas (Cornelian cherry dogwood) or Prunus (Japanes plum) may be just what you need. Once again seek advice from a local expert.


A hedge will add value to your property as well as serving a number of other purposes once you know what you want, you are ready to take the next step and install a living fence.



propagating conifers


courtesy flickr/schoschie
courtesy flickr/schoschie


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  • pahko profile image

    pahko 9 years ago from The Voices In My Head

    dude, you're hippie. that's good shit.