Making the home as attractive as possible is something many yearn for as well. Truth of the matter is, there are many ways to enhance the beauty of your home, but there are those ways that go beyond just the beauty. Talk of a hedge for instance, and you only begin to understand why these plants are the most preferred. There are many reasons why one would plant a hedge around their home, so before we discuss how to plant a hedge, let us begin easy by discussing the role of these plants in our homes.
What is a hedge?
A hedge, or otherwise known as a hedgerow refers to a line of closely-spaced shrubs and tree species planted and trained to form a barrier or to mark a boundary of an area. Most hedges are planted for either of the following reasons; as a living privacy fence to provide privacy from the street traffic and neighbors or to limit your view to mask distant objects, as a living snow fence to reduce snow, as a sound barrier to reduce noise or as a windbreak to protect against harsh winds.
What to plant
Most shrubs and trees have the potential to make hedges, though there are those species that are more suitable than others. These plants may be supplied either as bare root specimens, pot-grown plants or sold root-wrapped where the roots are in a soil ball contained by a fabric casing.
When to plant
The timing is very important, as the different hedge-plant species flourish differently under different weather conditions. Evergreen and semi-evergreen hedges for example have been known to flourish well in early autumn. Examples of these plants include box, yew and privet. On the other hand, deciduous hedges such as hawthorn, beech and hornbeam will do well if planted anytime from mid-autumn to late winter. In addition to the weather condition, the soil condition should be considered too. In case the soil is water-logged or frozen for instance, then planting should be delayed.
How to plant a hedge
-Prepare the ground by digging over a strip 2-3ft wide and one spit deep.
-Remove all the weeds if a herbicide has not been used beforehand.
-Add organic matter like garden compost or a proprietary tree and shrub planting mix then spread it over the soil, mixing it into top 10in of the soil using a fork.
-You may require to permanently drain all waterlogged soils or form it into a ridge about 6-8in high and 20-28in across to plant into.
-Generally, the planting distances will vary from 1-2ft depending on the size of hedge required, the final size of the plant or the vigor of the plant. For hedges thicker than 3ft, plant a staggered double row 18in apart and with plants 3ft apart.
-Damaged roots should be trimmed back to healthy growth using old pair of secateurs or a good hedge trimmer.
-Spread the roots and ensure the planting depth is correct, using the previous soil mark on the stem to show how deep the plants were grown in the pot or nursery.
-Work soil between the roots and firm the plant in to ensure the soil is in close contact with the roots, then water if the plant is dry.
-Lastly, mulch to a depth of 3inches to prevent weeds.
After planting, all is not rosy until the hedge grows to maturity. There are common problems that might hamper the growth of hedges including the following;
Maturity period – As some hedges might take 3-7 years to attain their desired sizes, an alternative is buying a semi-mature size which will give an instance hedge, despite the fact that they are costly.
Shelter – If the hedges are planted on exposed sites, they may require shelter in their initial years.
Additionally, just like other trees and shrubs, all hedges face establishment problems as well as pest and disease invasions. All these considered, due aftercare should therefore be given to hedges to ensure they reach their full maturity. This kind of care comprises the following;
-For the first two years of planting, the hedge should be well-watered during the dry spells.
-Every year, the hedge should be top-dressed with a general purpose fertilizer as well as mulch re-applied as required.
-Lastly, the edge and 18in on each side should be kept weed-free.