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Hedge-ing Your Bets

Posted on April 20, 2016

The first things to consider when planning a hedge are size, purpose, location and ongoing hedge maintenance and hedge cutting.

Here's our guide to the top hedges species to consider.

Hedge Size

Hedges need regular maintenance and trimming to keep them healthy and flourishing.

Hedges are maintained to an appropriate height and shape based on the species of hedge and also their desired purpose i.e security, privacy etc.

Depending on how quickly you need to establish your hedge you can acquire smaller transplants which are usually called Whips and are around 60cms tall – these tend to establish themselves a little more quickly than more mature plants. However, purchasing mature or semi-mature plants is the way to go if you need your full size hedge in place more rapidly.

Hedges are usually grouped into the following size categories:

SMaintain at 30-90cm (1-3ft)
MMaintain at 90-120cm (3-4ft)
M/LMaintain at 90-180cm (3-6ft) or as taller hedges or screens
LCan be maintained at over 180cm (6ft)

Ideas for Small Hedge Types:

If you need a small, low or slow growing species why not go for something like a flowering Compact Laurel or English Lavender. Elegant, attractive and easy to maintain, these options will allow you to create shape and structure in your garden with the added benefit of attracting bees and butterflies. 

Ideas for Medium & Medium-Large Hedge Types:

This is far and away the most popular size of hedge we work on and are asked for. There are a large number of species that are ideal for this size of hedge the most popular being

  • Privet:
    Fast growing semi evergreen and easy to maintain.
  • Cherry Laurel:
    An evergreen with bright leaves and is also fast growing.
  • Hawthorn:
    Deciduous, inexpensive with attractive scented flowers.
  • Escallonia:
    Fast growing evergreen with flower options in red, pink or white.

Ideas for Large Hedge Types:

Perfect for providing security and privacy, larger hedge types need seasonal hedge maintenance to retain their size and shape and to keep them healthy.

Species that are perfect for this size hedge include

  • Leylandii:
    It’s crucial to keep hedge trimming Leylandii regularly, very fast growing and generally inexpensive.
  • Bamboo:
    An ideal solution when you need height but don’t have the room for bulky bushy plants.
  • Western Red Cedar:
    Easier to look after than a Leylandii, this conifer can be trimmed back into the previous season’s growth.
  • Yew:
    This one is low growing so takes some time to get to the required size but provides a very dense hedge when established. 

If you need a Hedge for Security reasons you’ll need a species that has thorns or prickly leaves and can achieve a dense look and feel. Ideal hedge types include

  • English Holly:
    Spiked leaves and dense clusters of berries this is a great security hedge option and any trimmings, off-cuts can be used for Christmas decorations!
  • Hawthorn:
    The choice for many miles of British farmland hedging. Bright leaves, strong branches and sturdy thorns.

Location. Location. Location.

If you live by the sea it’s worth doing an extra bit of research before you commit to hedge planting because the wind and salt sea spray can have an impact on your hedge.

Take a look at species like:

  • Griselinia:
    Perfect if you live in a more temperate climate, this option has bright green leaves and is very attractive.
  • Gorse:
    Beautiful yellow flowers, thorny and with the appearance of an evergreen. 

You can find out a great deal more on hedging species from the Royal Horticultural Society.