A Hedge In Your Garden
A hedge is not just an attractive feature in the garden, it also has a useful function, as it screens off the garden and offers privacy. A wall or fence can serve the same purpose, but is not nearly as appealing! A tall hedge is ideal for concealing your garden from the public eye.
A hedge is also a very effective wind-break. Surprisingly it is better than a stone wall. This is because the plants temper the strength of the wind and filter the air, whereas a wall forms a rigid barrier and this increases turbulence in the garden.
A driveway can also be embellished by planting a low hedge along both sides. A similar effect can be created along the garden path. This lays out distinct lines in the garden, making it look well tended.
One factor that should be taken into account with a natural barrier is that a hedge draws nutrition and moisture from the ground. If it is planted next to a flower border or lawn, the effect will be noticeable. In such cases it is advisable to curtail the roots of the hedge (especially a privet hedge). This will slow the growth of the hedge.
The roots can be curtailed by digging a ditch around the hedge at a distance of 30 to 40 centimetres and about 1.5 spades deep. It is often useful to add asphalt paper or a strip of rubber for a more durable solution to the problem. If this restricts the growth of the roots too much, it is essential to administer fertilizer at least once per growth season. This can be done in March and repeated in June if necessary.
A hedge can be planted in five easy steps:
- For a straight hedge, mark off the position with a tape measure. Dig a ditch at least 60 centimetres wide and 45 centimetres deep.
- Dig plenty of ripe farmyard manure or compost into the soil, then fill in the ditch. You will now have a raised ridge.
- Lay out the plants with the aid of a tape measure and dig a hole for each plant. Scatter some granulated cow manure in the hole and position the plant. Make sure you do not have a raised mound around the stem.
- To encourage branching, cut the tops of the new shoots. Continue to do this in the early years to create a dense, well branched hedge.
- Trim the hedge into shape. This should preferably be done with hedge shears as this allows greater precision.