What pro gardeners know: top tips to help you plant a hedge

December 8, 2014

Planning to put in a hedge? Still unsure about what variety to choose and why? To help you decide, here's what pro gardeners know: top tips to help you plant a hedge.
While cedar hedges are very popular, they're far from your only option. Many other varieties of hedges are also recommended not only for privacy, but also their decorative beauty.

Mission: noise reduction, wind protection or privacy?

Before you install any old hedge, consider why you want it on your property. This will influence which variety you choose. If your goal is to:

Increase privacy and reduce street noise

  • Experts recommend picking an evergreen hedge variety with permanent, year-round foliage. Regular maintenance (cut one to three times annually) and rapid growth will quickly form a dense, even wall.

Block the wind:

  • It's a good idea to mix two or three varieties of plants together to protect your backyard from wind, especially if you live near an open field or clearing. As such, trim only to maintain their width, which allows them to reach their full height.
  • Varieties to consider: white cedar, red cedar, juniper, yew, cypress, laurel and privet.

Ornamental hedge

A flowering hedge is often used to frame a portion of the yard, such as a patio. They are beautiful but do not provide privacy or year-round protection. However, they are fragrant and attract birds and insects that are beneficial for the garden.

  • Varieties to consider:honeysuckle, bridal veil shrubs, boxwood and rose bushes.

Is planting time the same for all hedges?

Planting is most successful when the plant is still dormant. Periods may vary slightly, but in general, autumn is the best. This allows their roots to take hold before winter.

  • Planting is also possible as long as there’s no risk of ground frost. You can plant them as soon as the ground thaws in the spring.
  • If desired, you can also plant a hedge in summer. Keep in mind, however, the conditions should be cool and cloudy. Avoid planting them during heat waves and droughts.

Pro gardeners' top tips

To help you successfully plant a hedge, here's what professional gardeners suggest:

  • Ensure shrubs are delivered in containers or balled and wrapped in burlap. This will improve your chances of a successful planting.
  • Before you pick a hedge, determine how much sunshine your property receives and analyze your soil's composition. Is the variety you want suited for the conditions?
  • When choosing a variety, keep in mind the amount of maintenance required to keep it healthy and beautiful over the years. Some varieties of hedges are more labour-intensive than others.
  • Consider an informal hedge over one that's well-manicured. If allowed to grow freely, it not only creates a good barrier, but an informal hedge also attracts other beneficial plants that will reduce the risk of your hedge getting a disease.
  • Find out how fast the variety of hedge that interests you will grow: it helps to estimate the maintenance it will require as it matures. Slow growth periods are approximately 20-30 cm per year, while faster growth rates can be almost double that. Obviously, the longer the hedge you plant, the more upkeep will be needed.

Whatever your reason for wanting a hedge, when it's properly planted your hedge will provide you with years of lush privacy and noise reduction.

What pro gardeners know: top tips to help you plant a hedge
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