Question: hedges

Good morning I would like to make a hedge; before I had jasmine but it died from the harsh winter ... what could I put evergreen that doesn't make a big trunk .. I was thinking of Berberis but all the leaves fall! Is that true or is there an evergreen quality?

thank you

Hedges: Answer: hedges

Dear Ilenia, welcome to the expert's column on our website. To create a beautiful hedge you can find many species with good ornamental value but the choice depends on the climate that characterizes the area where you live. Assuming that you live in a continental climate area with cold winters and hot summers, we can exclude some evergreen Mediterranean species that would be very nice to make a hedge in the garden.

Berberis is a beautiful plant and luckily there are also evergreen varieties that might be right for you. Just to name a few we can recommend the berberisi buxifolia, a compact dwarf evergreen plant, the dome-shaped berberis candidula, the berberis verrucolosa which has a bushy shape and reaches 1.5 meters in height but grows slowly. and then many other species that can be found both on the internet and in nurseries.

As an alternative to berberis there are species such as photinia, viburnum, laurel, cherry laurel ... all plants suitable for making a hedge, able to cover railings and borders very well, giving an excellent covering effect of privacy. Photinia is perhaps the best species to create hedges as it is very resistant, it is not attacked by fungi and diseases (such as viburnum) and has a great ornamental value thanks to its leaves that continuously change color during the year passing from green to red to orange in a continuous variation of colors.

Garden furniture

A hedge it is not to be considered only as a fence, or a means of separating internal and external environments and contributing to privacy.

Hedges can create a real internal framework in your garden, they allow you to create secluded areas and areas, or they can cover some parts of sight, finally they can finish and decorate walls and gates. High hedges work as a screen, protect from brackish air, hot and dry winds, road dust, and even slowing the wind, they still allow the air to transpire, unlike walls, which, creating a barrier, could cause annoying currents in the garden. Low hedges, on the other hand, can form paths or finish internal roads as edges. In general, we distinguish the hedges in formal, that is well worked, square, or in informal: these require less maintenance, having, with less schematic pruning, a somewhat more natural line, they can in any case be flowers or leaves.

When we think we want to place hedges in our garden, the first step is to reflect on the purpose that the hedge must cover and the height we want to reach, also considering the time it will take for the plants to develop. In addition, hedges of fast-growing plants will quickly reach the height that you have assumed, but then they will need more attention and regular, regular control over time. Here are some types of plants and hedges, which depending on the size of the area under consideration, may be a suitable solution for your needs:

  • plants such as escallonia, photinia, viburnum or barberry with narrow leaves are suitable for forming tall hedges and rows of colorful flowers
  • if you want to attract birds and animals to the garden and create a noisy and lively environment, you can create hedges of native trees and shrubs, especially berry or fruit ones
  • conifers, especially cypresses, form an elegant and green hedge that grows quickly, high, suitable for closing walls and acting as a screen
  • low formal hedges are obtained by working plants such as yew, honeysuckle or the Japanese euonymus

Each type of hedge, some thicker, some less, require adjusting pruning.

Pruning takes place starting from the bottom, so that the branches fall free. The light must reach every area, so the hedge must be slightly wider in the lower part. Brushcutters and shears provide greater control, and are useful if you want to create hedges with particular designs. Remember when pruning, do not use an automatic pruner on large-leaved plants, you could damage the foliage.

Polygala myrtifolia

There Polygala myrtifolia is an evergreen shrub native to South Africa. This plant is considered among the most present species of ornamental hedge in the two major islands and on the Ligurian Riviera, because its growth is favored by the mild climate.
It looks like a thick shrub, 1m to 2.5m tall with a straight, branched and robust stem, the leaves are green, flat about 2.5cm long, the flowers are a beautiful purple color, even if it exists a variety with white flowers, gathered in 2,5 / 3 cm long twigs.
It blooms intermittently all year round. It resists the sun well, but prefers shady places.
The multiplication is carried out by cuttings, a system widely used for many plants that allows the rooting of a small young branch.

Useful to speed up this process and ensure greater success, can be the use of products based on rooting powder hormones. These in fact favor the formation of robust and healthy roots. We at Portale del Verde have chosen this pack of 3 jars, with an excellent quality / price ratio. Click below and buy them on Amazon.

In young plants of Polygala myrtifolia topping is recommended to favor the emission of lateral shoots.
Pruning is recommended in February, to encourage branching, reducing the length of the branches by half.
Polygala is a hedge plant that does easily adapts to all types of well-drained and sunny soil.

When and how to prune garden hedges and save money with the DIY method

There are two types of pruning for hedges. The first "formal" requires great dexterity because it is used for hedges with very particular shapes and geometries. Let's say it is an artistic pruning that aims to compose shapes and designs.

For all other hedges, used to delimit spaces, informal pruning is used. The aim is to redefine the structure of the hedge and shorten the height. For each hedge, based on size, you will need special tools. For small hedges, a large scissor is enough. If the hedge is very large, it is easier to use a hedge trimmer.

The advice is to start from the top of the hedge. First, however, it is good to spread a cloth that will allow you to collect the twigs easily. The pruning of the sides follows, trying not to create inequalities. The cut will have to maintain a single direction. One trick involves pinning two long strings to the corners of the hedge. These will provide a cutting guide.

Free gardening quotes

The pruning of the hedges is essential to allow the plants to grow in a healthy and orderly way. Find out in this article what the costs are and how to intervene correctly.

How much does it cost to prune hedges?

To have a garden that is always in order, regular and systematic pruning of the hedges is necessary. This is usually a job that is part of routine maintenance, along with tidying up the lawn. The costs vary mainly in relation to the tools used and the time required to carry out the intervention. The prices are generally those shown in this table:

Pruning hedgesDetailsGardener rates
With shears 25 - 30 € / h
With powered tools 35 - 40 € / h
TotalFor garden of 15 m²80 - 150 €
For garden of 30 m²150 - 200 €

What do the costs of pruning hedges depend on?

Prices change mainly in relation to the extension of the hedge, but above all for the time needed to complete the work. The type of intervention you want to carry out also affects this last factor, whether it is just a matter of adjusting the branches or defining the shape from scratch. Generally, to prune plants in a medium-sized garden, the total cost is € 90 - € 200.

When to proceed with the pruning of hedges?

The perfect time to make a nice hedge cut depends on the type of specimens you have chosen and when you planted them.
During the first three years, the interventions will be more frequent, to allow the plants to grow correctly and guarantee them a good vegetative vigor, as well as allowing the roots to anchor well to the soil.
Once the hedge has acquired the optimal shape and strength, starting from the fourth year of life, maintenance can decrease and reach one or two interventions a year, in June and August.
For hedges made up of evergreen plants, it is still recommended to wait until the end of summer, when their development slows down, so that the plant will have more time to strengthen before the winter frost. On the vines, on the other hand, it is possible to intervene at any time of the year.
If the hedges produce flowers on what is called the "new wood" (formed by mid-June), however, they must be pruned in late winter or early spring. If this happens on the wood of the previous season, it is necessary to wait for the end of this period.

Types of hedges and different pruning

The costs also depend on the type of hedge, the formal one has elements with a well-defined crown, the informal one instead has a less rigid but always orderly development of the branches. In the first case, the intervention will have to be more precise, while in the second it will be faster.
The type of cut also depends on the function of the hedge, if it is used as a perimeter fence, the cut will be sharper and more approximate, because the aim is simply to prevent the plant from becoming too high. These types, in any case, do not need particular maintenance, because they are very resistant.
For the decorative specimens, however, the intervention becomes topiary, or a specific pruning done to give the plant a specific geometric shape. To maintain this conformation, it is necessary to intervene very frequently and always keep the plant under control.

Pruning technique

For a correct pruning, the cut must always be clean and oblique, near a bud or a knot. It must be done with sharp tools, to avoid frayed cuts that lead the plant to develop fungal diseases. The blades must be disinfected, because if they are used to cut sick and healthy twigs, they will in turn become infected.
Gardeners usually proceed from the bottom up, with an oblique cut towards the tip, so that the hedge has greater thickness.

The tools for pruning hedges

The most used tools are shears, possibly accompanied by a hacksaw for the largest branches, or hedge trimmers, electric or petrol.
If it is just a matter of removing a few twigs, it is not necessary to use too sophisticated tools. If, on the other hand, the operation is more complex, hedge trimmers with an electric motor will be required. The latter are used to cut, thin out and shape hedges or bushes giving them a precise shape.

The advantages of pruning

This work is essential to keep hedge plants healthy, allow the leaves to have a good turnover and maintain a uniform and healthy color. Pruning also guarantees good aeration of the foliage, making development healthier.
This is something you can do on your own, especially if you have been planting hedges for more than three years, as it is easier to do, and you have the right tools. By contacting a professional, however, you can get a correct pruning quickly and above all without effort.
Gardeners usually also take care of collecting and properly disposing of the branches and leaves that are cut. They will arrange your hedges to perfection and you will always have a tidy garden.
Since these are interventions to be carried out periodically, the ideal would be to plan them in advance and also combine them with the mowing of the lawn, in order to complete the arrangement of the outdoor space in a single day.

The hedge - Oleander bush

Ideal for large spaces, the Oleander is a perfect plant for those who love hedges full of flowers. Bushy varieties can be found that they shield low heights (until 2 meters) and other shrubs that instead cover heights up to three meters. Be careful because it is one toxic plant for pets.

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