January 12, 2012

Popular Evergreen Hedges

Evergreens make wonderful, quick hedges and privacy screens. When planting, zig-zag your trees to give a fuller effect and to allow the trees to get air and sun. This will also help the hedge give with the wind, preventing breakage and wind tunnels. It’s wise to plant more than one variety of evergreen in a border, so that disease and pests won’t destroy the whole planting.Passing kids, nosy neighbors, wandering drunks, escaping pets, there are many different reasons for fencing your yard but it is quite expensive to fence your whole yard and lets be honest there are more natural and economic ways to get some privacy against prying eyes. A solution with evergreen hedge plants is much better way, it is much more natural, usually it will be less expensive and it is also more effective in the long run. Full grown hedge plants are very effective to keep out intruders and it is stronger then a series of coiled barbed wire.

The effectiveness of the hedge is depended on the size of the hedge plants, if you are on a tight budget, you will probably buy small sized plants because they are much cheaper then the bigger ones. This way it will take you longer before your hedge plants have grown to a size where your privacy is taken care of. But there is a combination solution for this problem. There are cane fences that will last just a few years that can provide you with the necessary privacy in the time your hedge plants are growing. They are very cheap and are a good useful solution for this problem.

When you have a bigger budget you can decide to take bigger hedge plants and you can decide to plant them yourself or to hire a professional. But before you decide you first need to take a decision about the kind of plants you are going to buy.

Soil Type is important

If you are smart you choose evergreen hedge plants that grow well in your area, the ones more native to your area will grow best and will be more resistant against diseases and weather conditions. But not every area has a wide variety native evergreen hedge plants to choose from and when this is the case you need to buy a soil kit and determine your soil type. (sand, chalk, moist, dry) When you have determined the soil type you can choose hedge plants that thrive well there.

Popular evergreen hedge plants are privet,yew and boxwood but there are many other plants to choose from and you can also combine different plants if you like a more natural look and feel.

It depends on budget and time

Planting hedge plants is not difficult but it is time consuming and hard work, because you need to dig a lot of holes. So it depends on your budget and on your health if you decide to hire a professional or if you do it yourself. If you have a bad back, we would advice to hire someone.

If you decide to do this job yourself it is best to put some stakes in the ground and run a clothesline tightly over the ground where the plants should be planted. This way your hedge will be reasonably straight.

Next you need to calculate the amount of plants you are going to need, this depends on the full grown size the plant will have eventually and you need to do some research on the plant you have chosen. In general, you need to keep at least two feet between the plants.

Now you have what you need, you need to dig a trench all along the line where the hedge is coming. And you need to dig in that trench of two feet wide and four inches deep bigger holes for the individual plants, these wholes need to be twice as big as the root balls. When you have placed the plants in the wholes you need to water them and close the holes and the trench.

As you can see it is a lot of hard work but it is so much more rewarding to have a natural hedge instead of the expensive fences you see everywhere around you.

1. Boxwood (Buxus)
Long a European favorite, boxwood respond very well to pruning and shaping. Besides making great hedges, boxwoods are a favorite tree for topiary. The tiny, evergreen leaves remain tidy when clipped. Korean boxwood is proving hardier than the English varieties. Prune in late spring, as new growth darkens. USDA Zones 5-8, H & S varies with species, Full sun to partial shade.

2. Yew (Taxus baccata)
Makes a dense hedge that responds well to pruning. Overgrown yew hedges can often be restored by hard pruning in late winter. Many yews used for foundation plantings remain squat. T. baccata grows to 6' tall and 16' wide, making it great for hedging. The uniformity of a yew hedge makes a great wall for enclosed gardens. Slow to medium grower. USDA Zones 5/6 - 8, H - 6', S - 10-16', Full sun to partial shade.

3. Arborvitae ‘Green Giant’ (Thuja ‘Green Giant’)
Introduced by the U.S. National Arboretum. Grow in almost any soil conditions, from sand to clay. Pyramid shape and requires no pruning. Pest resistant, even deer resistant. For a quick hedge or windbreak, plant 5 - 6' apart. For a more gradual hedge, plant 10 - 12' apart. Fast growers. Prune to shape, before spring growth. USDA Zones 2 - 10, H - 60', S - 20', Full sun.

4. Holly (Ilex)
Popular for their glossy green leaves, and bright red berries. Hollies look best if kept trimmed and full. Only the females set berries, but you’ll need a male to cross pollinate. There are some new varieties that don’t require 2 sexes. Hollies prefer an acidic soil and the addition of peat or garden sulfur may be necessary. The American holly is more widely adaptable than the English. Medium grower. Plant 2 - 4' apart. USDA Zones 5 - 9, H - 6-10', S - 5-8', Full sun to partial shade.

5. Firethorn (Pyacantha coccinea)
Firethorn can be a bit unruly, but it still looks striking in the landscape. Evergreen with white flowers in spring and orange-red berries from summer into winter. Popular for Christmas decorations. Drought tolerant. Plant 3 - 4' apart. Fast growers. Prune if necessary, after flowering. USDA Zones 5/6 - 9, H - 8-12', S - 3-5', Full sun to partial shade.

6. Leyland Cyprus (x Cupressocyparis Leylandii)
Columnar evergreen with flat scale-like leaves. Makes a tough privacy/wind screen that is salt tolerant. Many new cultivars are being bred for bluer color, variegation and more feathery foliage. Fast grower. Prune to shape, as new foliage deepens in color USDA Zones 5 - 9, H - 60-70', S - 15-20, Full sun.

7. Variegated Japanese Laurel (Aucuba japonica ‘Variegata’) aka Gold Dust Tree
Leathery pale bright green leaves mottled with yellow variegation make this tree a standout, especially when used to light up a shady area. ‘Variegata’ is a female and requires a male for pollination, to produce red berries. Good choices include ‘Mr. Goldstrike’ and ‘Maculata’. Prefers a moist soil, but can handle periodic dry spells. Slow Grower. Prune in early spring to summer. USDA Zones 6 -9+, H - 6-9', S - 3-5', Partial shade to full shade.

8. Cotoneaster
The most popularly grown cotoneaster, C. horizontalis (Rockspray Cotoneaster) only gets about 3-5' tall. However two species, C. lucidus and C. divaricatus, grow to 6 - 10' & 5 - 6' respectively. Both can be grown into a hedge with minimal pruning. Both have pink spring flowers and colorful fall foliage. Slow to medium growers. Prune after fruiting. USDA Zones: C. lucidus 6 - 8, C. divaricatus 4 - 7, Full sun to partial shade.

9. Heavenly Bamboo (Nandina domestica)
Nandinas are popular in the Southern US, where their fall/winter berries are the most striking. However Nandinas are tougher than their delicate foliage would suggest. White spring flowers come in Hydrangea-like panicles and are followed by bunches of red berries. The foliage blushes red for fall and winter. Medium to fast grower. Prune before new growth. USDA Zones 6 - 9, H - 5-7', S - 3- 5', Full sun.

10. Ligustrum (Privet)
A classic hedge plant, not all privets are evergreen. The dense foliage responds extremely well to pruning. Most have white summer flowers followed by black berries. Privet are very adaptable and will grow in just about any conditions. Fast growers. Prune after flowering. USDA Zones vary 3/6 - 7/8, H - to 15', S - 5-6', Full Sun to shade.

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