Hedges are known for adding to the beauty element of the lawn. They have been used for thousands of years to mark the lines of property and give your yard natural privacy.
Also, they can be used to prevent pets and children from getting astray. Like any part of the lawn, they add the living beauty to your home. Shaping the plants to form formal hedges can be the best way to add privacy or backdrop to your lawn. However, it requires maintenance and trim your hedges of the lawn to keep them in good condition in the long run.
This may include regular feeding, pruning, and watering. It is best to start pruning your hedges as soon as they’re young and continue to do a smaller annual pruning every year.
If you let them overgrow, they may need a complete renewal. Regular maintaining and trimming also encourages healthier plants and make them produce more blooms. Hedges can even increase the value of your house if you properly maintain and trim the hedges.
Here are 5 tips to maintain and trim your hedges of the lawn.
1. Manual pruning is necessary when trimming
The use of shears, whether the hand pruners with a long blade or a power trimmer to remove the branches’ tip, will keep the hedges tidy and neat. Also, it will stimulate the production of buds close to the edges of the plants.
However, as the buds multiply, the hedge can become very thick and prevent the sunlight from penetrating it, hindering the growth inside.
Typically, the hedges that get larger every year looks lifeless inside. A proper trimming lets the sun in and allows you to trim the hedges, so they do not get too big.
Use the bypass hand scissors at every trimming to create a room for the air and light in your hedge. Every few meters, reach inside and then cut some branches at an angle of 45 degrees, just above the leaflet or nub that is growing in the direction you need to encourage.
If the hedges are old or have overgrown, rejuvenation pruning should be done according to the three-year rule. Then, remove up to a third of the thickest stems from a plant’s base to stimulate new growth and repeat every year. This will give you a reduced and healthier hedge.
2. Trim in winter
The hedges should be trimmed at the end of winter when the plants are dormant and without buds, especially if you are trimming back drastically.
You do not want the buds to break before trimming, because you need the plants’ energy to create new growth wherever you want. When you remove the plant’s buds, you reduce energy spent, and the hedge takes longer to fill out.
In particular, evergreen should be trimmed early in a season, as they tend to grow more slowly. Also, they are likely to be naked and discolored at the tips if new buds start to appear during a long summer.
Deciduous and faster-growing hedges such as spirea, viburnum, and privet are more tolerant. With the flowering shrubs, a golden trimming rule is to wait for the blooms to form brown the next day.
This way, the plant has time to sprout for the following year, regardless of whether it is blooming on the tree in the current or next season wood.
3. The hedge needs to be narrow at the top and wide at the bottom
If left alone, many hedges will begin to widen on top where they get the most sunlight. This leads to a V-shape, which shades the lower branches to produce fewer leaves. You need to turn a V-shape upside down. A trimmed hedge needs to be narrow at the top and wide at the bottom, regardless of whether the top is flat, rounded, or pointed.
When maintaining and trimming the hedges, start from the bottom and work your way up. Also, for the precise cut, you can run the string line between the stakes to ensure a smooth line across the top. However, you need to rely on your eyes for an extra natural look.
Remember, when the plant is cut down, the top is more susceptible to snow damage because the snow is less likely to shed. Tall hedges profit from tied up during winter.
Instead of hose covered wire, use only a chain lock or a rope, which can tie the truck if left in place for long.
4. Determine the height and width of the hedge before planting
If you are starting from scratch, you need to choose suitable plants for your hedge. This means they must grow upright and stretch naturally. For the formal hedges, the shrubs need to tolerate frequent trimming and shearing, such as privet, boxwood, and yew.
They need a minimum width of 3 feet. In terms of height, keep the hedge at eye level to make the maintenance easier. Otherwise, you must be prepared to climb the ladder to reach the top.
It is the best thing to determine the height and width of the hedge before planting. Research the habit of every plant and then pick a variety that will not overgrow the space. Else, you will have a hard time trying to cut your hedges the size you want.
The best choice for more natural shaped and larger evergreen hedges can be eastern red cedar, hemlock, cypress, and some types of holly-four season foliage.
If the four-season foliage is not needed, consider informal hedges for the flowering shrubs like forsythias, hydrangeas, lilacs, roses of Sharon, rugosa roses, or crape myrtle.
5. Understand the difference between the hedge and the privacy plants
Do not expect the hedge to provide too much privacy or block unwanted views. The hedges usually are maintained when they are 6 to 8 feet high. The privacy plants can go up to 30 feet tall.
The screen plantings are typically much wider and are made of a mix of shrubs, deciduous and staggered evergreen trees, and perennials to give a natural look.
Let the hedges have a beautiful border that surrounds your lawn and connects the landscape. If you prefer privacy, look for the big trees.