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Maybe a hedge is what you need?

Maybe a hedge is what you need?

Hedge Plants

Maybe a hedge is what you need?

You may like to define your front boundary with a tight green screen growing 1 to 2 meters or a side screen to keep the neighbours on their side of the fence!

We like to establish our patch; nursery staff are asked the question most what they can use to screen out the neighbours. ‘Keep on your side and no-one gets hurt’ sort of diplomatic gardening.

 

You can grow a hedge ranging in height from .5m to 15metres depending on function. Low hedges can flank a path to guide pedestrians to the destination, mid size hedges are often seen as privacy screens and tall hedges are used as windbreaks. A hedge can be just 300mm wide!

 

You can use many different plant species to form hedges with the main attribute being density. Look for plants that have a small internodal length, the space between leaves on the stems. Those little points, the nodes, are localised centres of specialised cells that can initiate new branches. Cut above a node and the meristematic cells call to action dormant branches below; a host of new branches that have the effect of thickening a plant up shoot out. This is an important concept to understand.

 

Taking the tips out of young plants results in a plant that is many times bushier than one without the pruning. If you tip prune when a plant is young, you will have a plant that is bushy from the ground up. So prune early, prune often. How often you ask? This depends on the species and the location.

If you are in the tropics, plants grow as though they are being fed spent nuclear fuel rods, so perhaps once a month. If you live in Melbourne, prune when the risk of frost is over (early October) and last prune in April that allows stems to harden before winter.

 

Species. Look for a plant that will grow maybe a little taller than the desired height. Go for plants with short intermodal length (exception Bamboo). Murraya (Mock orange) has been the standard species for decades along with Metrosideros Fiji Fire, Photinia Red Robin, Lilly Pillies, and Buxus. You may like to consider Camellia, Gardenia and even Westringea.

 

Hedges don’t need to be boxes! The Japanese and Chinese before them were masters of the shaped form. Why not sculpted mounds or articulated capping to your hedge?

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