How to Look After Hedges

Overview

Hedges are a valuable asset in landscape design. Not only are hedges a great visual accent for the home, they can also hide the house from the view of onlookers, reduce wind speed and provide shade and habitat for birds and other wildlife. Although hedges do not need a lot of extra care, there are a few practices that should become part of your regular routine when looking after your hedges.

Step 1

Train your hedge by cutting it regularly to the shape in which you wish it to grow to. Cut branches from the top of the plant once it has reached your desired height.

Step 2

Cut the sides of the hedge so that the bottom of the hedge is wider than the top to keep the bottom of the hedge from becoming too weak.

Step 3

Cut a hedge at least two times each season for deciduous hedges, once after the season's new growth, and once more later in the season to shape it.

Step 4

Cut narrow-leafed evergreens once a year, removing the leaf bud of the shoot on the end of each branch by pinching or cutting with shears. Shape the rest of the hedge with pruning shears.

Step 5

Prune broadleaf evergreens for shape once a season.

Step 6

Cut your hedge back by a third in its first year of growth, and again in the second year. This will encourage the growth of low branches. Cut back smaller amounts each year thereafter.

Step 7

Provide your hedge with an annual layer of mulch or compost, as well as an application of hedge fertilizer once at the beginning of the growing season.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Hedge trimmers
  • Work gloves
  • Mulch
  • Compost
  • Fertilizer

References

  • Arizona Cooperative Extension: Pruning Hedges
  • Perdue University Cooperative Extension: Hedges
  • Iowa State University Extension: Selecting and Planting Hedges
Keywords: hedge care, hedge pruning, hedge maintenance, look after hedges

About this Author

Cleveland Van Cecil is a freelancer writer specializing in technology. He has been a freelance writer for three years and has published extensively on eHow.com, writing articles on subjects as diverse as boat motors and hydroponic gardening. Van Cecil has a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Baldwin-Wallace College.