How to Garden Hedges

Overview

Learning how to garden hedges begins with an understanding of how these beautiful, functional plants enhance the landscape. Hedges define the borders of a yard, offer privacy, muffle traffic noise and screen unwanted views. Choose hedges that suit the required location based on sunlight needs, soil quality, mature size and desired flower or foliage characteristics.

Step 1

Choose the proper location for each hedge shrub based on the plant's growing requirements. Select a spot based primarily on sunlight and soil needs.

Step 2

Provide an optimum growing environment by increasing the organic content of the soil. Peat moss or compost work well to improve soil nutrients and drainage in difficult soils. Turn over the entire length of the hedge garden and incorporate soil amendments to a depth of 12 inches.

Step 3

Plant individual hedge plants 18 to 36 inches apart based on grower recommendations. Stagger plants at this distance in a double row to create a dense wide hedge. Ensure the tops of each root ball are 1 inch below the garden surface. Increase spacing on hedge plants you won't maintain with regular pruning to allow plenty of room for plants to reach mature width and height.

Step 4

Water hedge plants regularly to ensure moisture penetration deep into the soil. Accomplish this by watering near the base of each plant slowly with a light trickle of water or a soaker hose. Apply a 3-inch layer of mulch around the plants to conserve moisture.

Step 5

Thin the plant once a year by removing old wood throughout the plant based on the recommended care instructions. See resources for information on thinning.

Step 6

Hedge trim the plant twice during the remainder of the year to groom the plant into a pleasing shape with pruning loppers or hedge clippers. Aim to prune each hedge plant to have a wider base to allow light to flesh out bottom branches. Pruning should follow the plants' normal growth patterns to promote thick foliage.

Step 7

Perform regular maintenance grooming throughout the growing season by trimming back straggler branches. Add mulch each year and provide water to the plants during dry spells.

Things You'll Need

  • Peat moss or compost
  • Shovel
  • Mulch
  • Pruning shears
  • Pruning loppers
  • Hedge clippers

References

  • Purdue University: Hedges
  • South Dakota State University: Hedge Shearing

Who Can Help

  • Information on Hedge Pruning
Keywords: hedges, keeping hedges trimmed, hedge care

About this Author

S.F. Heron is an avid gardener with three years of experience in online writing and a working background in aviation and earth and ocean sciences. She is published on various sites, including Helium, eHow and Xomba. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.