Tree like fences, shrubs take time to growing
you to ease into defining your space.In addition to creating privacy, hedging is a great way to divide gardens, line the borders of a driveway, and adorn your home’s foundation.The culture of planting trees and shrubs in dense, interwoven lines dates back thousands of years to the fields of farmers who needed to pen livestock and shield tender crops from seaborne winds. In medieval days, dense thickets of thorny hawthorn kept enemies at bay.In England and Ireland, the ancient tradition of “hedge laying” is still practiced in the countryside today, in which shrub branches are cut, bent, and intermingled to create dense barriers. More recently, formal gardens in Europe have been framed by natural borders of artistically pruned bushes that create regal, manicured landscapes.The new fashion for planting hedgerows is reversing a trend which has been witnessed over the last few decades.Before now, there was mass removal of hedges from the landscape which has had an adverse effect on wildlife. Hedgerows play an important role in feeding, protecting and housing animals, birds and insects. They create much-needed resources to support a rural ecosystem.But city and suburban gardens too can offer a huge opportunity to create a network of havens
. Hedgerows that support wildlife do not have to be exclusively rural; gardeners can play an enormously important role in providing similar habitats.The planting of hedgerows will create wildlife corridors. These act to link habitats and enable migration. Animals and insects will travel, meet and breed. The wildlife that lives as a satellite population cannot be self-sustaining over the long term.Most of our ancient woodlands have regrettably disappeared and a lot of the animals that inhabited them now use hedgerows as their last refuge. Hedges accommodate a huge percentage of our birds and small mammals. These in turn can be beneficial to gardeners as they eat pests like greenfly and slugs.Not everyone has the space to plant a hedge. But planting any plant that supports wildlife is enormously important; creating a service station that will become part of a wildlife corridor facilitating wildlife movement. These wildlife service stations in gardens can be large or small, mainly native trees or bushes and shrubs. They can also be ponds for frogs or banks of nectar-rich flowers like lavender. Shrubs, as we know, are woody plants with more than one stem and a mature height of less than 15 feet. Shrubs can be deciduous or evergreen and range in size from creeping along the ground to 15 feet tall. Shrubs can be left to grow naturally, or they can be pruned and shaped. At times, they are pruned into a severe, formal shape or a topiary. Even though Shrubs and hedges are not the same, both evergreen and deciduous shrubs can be used to create privacy hedges. Evergreen shrubs are great for reducing noise, increasing privacy and screening all year long. Evergreens also require little to no maintenance. Deciduous shrubs have attractive flowers and can be quite the focal point. It’s like combining the beauty of a flowering shrub with perennial flower plantings. They offer a wider variety of landscaping elements, including spring flowers or fall colors, but do not provide a year-round screen. You will also have to clean up bloom and leave debris in the spring and fall.While Shrubs are woody plants with more than one stem and a mature height of less than 15 feet, a hedge is a fence or boundary formed by closely growing bushes or shrubs.” A tall hedge can also be made up of trees. Hedges consist of more than one shrub and have different uses. Hedges provide privacy screens, fences, visual boundaries, windbreaks and different shapes to add interest to landscaping. They are usually well-maintained with different spacing and pruning than shrubs. Hedges can be more formal by keeping them trimmed and sculpted or you can plant an informal hedge by using upright, rather dense-growing shrubs. If you choose a formal hedge, plan on spending time shaping the bushes each year so they’ll look neat and tidy. If leaving things alone is better for you, choose an informal version that is either one low-maintenance variety or a combo of privacy bushes.Before determining what type and style of shrubs is best for your hedges and shrub gardening, you first need to figure out how much space you have available. If you have a large amount of space available, you may consider making a double or triple row. When planted in rows close together, shrubs will not spread out as wide as if they were a single species in a landscape. Because shrub roots grow down and laterally, the bigger the plant, the longer the roots. It’s important to remember this if you are planting near a sidewalk, foundation, pool or driveway. The mature size of the shrub is important to keep in mind. Find out so you can be sure you are choosing the correct location for your plants. Plus, you’ll need to plan space between the plants to account for spread.When this is done, you can now determine the best shrubs for creating hedges and shrubs gardening which are enlisted as follows:
1. Privet (Ligustrum)
Privet is the ideal privacy hedge shrub. This fast-growing evergreen shrub will get up to 8-10 ft tall and 5-7 ft wide. It has green leaves, small fragrant white flowers and does well in sun or part shade. You can opt for an informal look or prune for a more formal shape. Privets grow where other plants fail and can be pruned to fit wherever. They make a great wind break shrub.Like mountain laurels, privets (Ligustrum) are broadleaf shrubs that put out flowers, although their white flowers are not much of a selling point. However, not all varieties of privets are evergreen, and those that are will not necessarily grow well in your zone. Check with your local county extension to see if you can grow evergreen privets in your area. Also, ask if they are invasive in your region.This is a good shrub because without shearing, it develops an attractive vase shape. With just a little pruning, it makes a delightful, dense hedge or screen. It bears white flowers in spring and is drought-tolerant.
2. Nellie Stevens Holly
The Nellie Stevens Holly, with its bright red berries, provides you with an attractive fast-growing evergreen shrub option that the birds love. They are low maintenance and don’t require much pruning except if you want to curtail growth. Their natural pyramid shape is beautiful. Full sun with a slightly acidic soil is what they desire.If you prune them regularly, many species of holly work well as hedges. Dwarf hollies, such as dwarf yaupon holly, Meserve holly, and inkberry, are the easiest types to use, as they need less pruning. Most varieties of holly bear red or orange berries, which are set off by the glossy evergreen foliage.
3. Boxwood (Buxus)
Boxwood is a great shrub for a more formal looking hedge. This hardy evergreen responds well to trimming and can be shaped to fit whatever space or design you have and even works as a topiary or in containers. Boxwood will grow 2-3 ft in height and 2-3 ft in width and thrives in full to partial sun. If you’re looking to create a tight, close hedge pay attention to spacing. Place your plants half as far away from one another as the mature width and they will fill in nicely.Boxwoods as quintessential hedge plants are broadleaf evergreens adored by aristocratic Europeans for centuries as defining elements in formal garden design. North Americans living in deer country have found a new reason to love boxwood hedges: They are deer-resistant shrubs.
4. Forsythia (Forsythia x intermedia)
The forsythia is a springtime delight with bright yellow flowers. This deciduous shrub grows incredibly fast and gives color at a time when everything else is still brown. They are planted with ease and can grow about 2 feet a year both in length and in width. They like full sunlight and aren’t particularly fussy about the soil. They are hardy and can handle pollution well and don’t require much watering.Forsythia bushes are among the first plants to bloom in spring. You probably will not want to prune them as meticulously as you would, say, boxwood. Most people agree that these early-spring flowering shrubs look best when allowed to “have a bad hair day.”
As with privets, azaleas can be either evergreen or deciduous, but their flowers are far superior to those on privets.Stewartstown azalea (Rhododendron x Gable Stewartstown) has it all: Its dense branching structure makes it a good hedge plant (in contrast to the Ebury-type azalea, which has a looser branching structure). And, it is a shrub that blooms in early spring and offers good fall color. Azaleas also bear flowers in a range of colors, including red, pink, white, orange, and yellow.
6. Red Tipped Photinia A popular, fast growing evergreen shrub that is often used as a fence row or hedge. Its leaves start red and has small white flowers in the spring that produce red fruits that often last into the winter. Be sure
to provide well-drained soil and full sun. Photini also tolerates part shade. Prune in the winter to thin and again in spring after red growth begins to fade in order to encourage additional growth.
10. Canadian Hemlocks
Although Canadian hemlocks (Tsuga canadensis) grow as trees in the wild, they are often sold in shrub form for use in hedges. The MacPhail Woods site states, “Prune hemlock lightly but often during the first few growing seasons (two to three times from late June to late August for two to three years). After three years, prune once, in late June, as with white spruce.” The site cautions against cutting the leaders until the hemlock hedge or windbreak has attained the height you envisioned for it.
As with privets, azaleas can be either evergreen or deciduous, but their flowers are far superior to those on privet. Stewartstown azalea (Rhododendron x Gable Stewartstown) has it all: Its dense branching structure makes it a good hedge plant (in contrast to the Ebury-type azalea , which has a looser branching structure). And, it is a shrub that blooms in early spring and offers good fall color. Azaleas also bear flowers in a range of colors, including red, pink, white, orange, and yellow.
Arborvitae shrubs (Ahuja) have a dense growth habit that makes them popular privacy screens or windbreaks. There are many types of arborvitae that come in various sizes, shapes, and colors.North Pole and Emerald Green are just about the right size for most hedge growers. Green Giant, which can become 60 feet tall, is too big for small properties.
Deciduous hedge shrubs look great while in bloom but are just so-so during the winter. Also, because they drop their leaves and stand naked for part of the year, deciduous shrubs make for less-than-ideal privacy screens.Lilac bushes (Syringa) are one of your more fragrant choices. To form a hedge with lilacs, simply plant several of them in a line, and do not fuss with making them conform to precise dimensions.
14. Rose of Sharon
Another deciduous shrub commonly found in hedges is the rose of Sharon (Hibiscus Syriacs). It is a valuable plant for gardeners wishing to maintain continuous sequence of bloom because it is one of the late-summer flowering shrubs that displays color during a part of the season when many other bushes have already finished blooming for the year.
15. Japanese Euonymus
This fast-growing hedge plant reaches 10–15 feet tall, but it’s easy to shear it back to create a lower hedge. Create more landscape kick by selecting varieties of Japanese euonymus with gold-, cream-, or white-variegated foliage.Some gardeners find peace and relaxation while pruning, and others prefer to let nature dictate her own design. Whatever your pleasure, hedging is another option in your horticultural toolbox that you may use to enhance your surroundings. And we hope that this article has gone a long way in enriching your knowledge of hedging and the best ways for creating hedges and shrubs gardening.