Maintaining Healthy Hedges

Hedge pruning is a very important part of your garden maintenance. Often it is done incorrectly. Frequently, hedges are sheared into uniform shapes without any knowledge of the species involved or consideration for the future of the plant.

When pruning, it is important to make sure that sunlight will be able to reach the lower and interior branches. One way to accomplish this is to taper the hedge so the top is more narrow than the bottom. The next important step is to hand prune openings, or holes, throughout the outer growth of the shrub to allow sunlight penetration to the inner part of the plant. When this step is not followed, the plant continues to grow larger, often becoming badly shaped, and lacks the inner growth to sustain the proper shape of the hedge.

Some of the more common evergreen hedges are Yew, Boxwood, Hemlock, and Arborvitae. All of these hedges must be pruned at least once yearly, preferably twice, in order to maintain a thick and healthy appearance. Best times to prune are late winter or early spring before the new growth begins, and summer when the majority of the new growth is finished.

Healthy Hedge

Deciduous hedges, such as Privet, are fast growers and need to be pruned more often, although they will recover from drastic pruning more readily.

Fertilization, insect control, and proper watering also are essential aspects of maintaining a healthy and vigorous hedge.

Well-maintained hedges provide privacy, structure and beauty to a garden for many years. Hedge pruning requires knowledge, expertise and skill and is a unique aspect of McFarland’s custom pruning services which we feel are unrivaled.

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