A Quick Guide to Hedge Plants
Many people like to put hedge plants around their yards for privacy. What plants you choose can help determine how thick and tall a barrier you build to keep people from seeing into your yard. A hedge is absolutely nothing more than a wall that is made of plants. Some people go more for decorative and less for private, but either way there is a desire for a hedge that looks nice and does exactly what you want it to do.
Evergreen hedge plants or shrubs are one of the most popular choices. Boxwoods are one of the most traditional hedge plants. They have been grown in Europe for centuries and didn’t take long to move to America along with the immigrants. There are many forms of holly which are used to make attractive hedges. English holly is perfect at combining good looks with privacy considerations. There is also a Japanese holly that has small, green leaves. It reaches the three to four-foot range, which is ideal for a hedge.
Along with boxwoods, yews are another of the traditional hedge varieties. They grow quite high enough to create privacy but they grow very slowly, not the best choice if you want immediate privacy. Mountain laurels are another evergreen with broad leaves which are excellent choices to keep people from knowing what’s going on behind the hedge.
If you are one of those people who resides in one location in the summer and another in the winter, you may be happy with deciduous hedge plants or shrubs. The problem with these is that they drop their leaves in the fall just like deciduous trees. That means you have excellent privacy in the summer and barely any at all in the winter. If you are strictly a summer resident, they will work out wonderfully for you.
The most popular deciduous hedge shrubs are lilac bushes, forsythia bushes and rose of sharon. All you have to do is plant the bushes in a row and you will have an instant hedge. A line of lilac bushes will look beautiful during the spring bloom. Some locations can grow azaleas and privets as hedges but you have to be careful to make sure that the temperatures where you live will be high enough to support their growth.
If you are not a big fan of shrubs or you simply do not want to even have to think about pruning a hedge, give some thought to using trees as hedge plants. Trees are excellent choices if you want a hedge for a windbreak. European Beech Trees are used for both windbreaks and privacy hedge plants. They have been used in Europe for centuries. Arborvitae trees grow very dense branches and foliage and are a great choice as well.
There is one tree you can prune to your liking and that is Canadian Hemlock. It needs frequent pruning the first few years, but then can be left for one good pruning every two-to-three years. When you do prune hedges, the goal is to make the bottom wider than the top. You want the sun to reach the bottom growth so that it stays healthy.
If you want a low-maintenance yard, then hedge plants are not for you. Hedges will require at minimum, yearly pruning, and getting your hedge to continue looking like a hedge requires developing some skill and patience. It may even involve measuring out where to cut the hedge and placing some guides along it to get it right.