Categories: Garden Care

Hedge & hedging plants – information for allotments

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Hedge versus fence & wall?

Hedges, Fences and walls can all serve similar purposes – marking and maintaining boundaries, keeping children or pets contained or to provide a greater sense of privacy. It is fair to say we are a little biased! But here are some good reasons for choosing a hedge.Hedges have greater ‘kerbside appeal’ offering beauty and interest in all seasons while softening the lines of buildings making houses look more in keeping with their gardens. Hedges reduce strong wind by filtering them, solid fences and walls cause greater turbulence. Well-grown prickly hedges provide better security than a fence or wall. Hedges filter dust, pollution and noise. A well-maintained hedge will last hundreds of years, longer than any fence or most walls and at a fraction of the cost. Hedges provide a better quality of privacy, fences and high walls can give a sense of imprisonment. Hedges provide shelter and food for wildlife and are environmentally friendly.

Things to consider when choosing a hedge

‘Which plant makes the best hedge’?…one of the most common questions asked. The answer is a matter of both personal taste and the growing environment (soil, climate etc) in your garden.
It can be helpful to look around to see the hedges that do well in nearby gardens with similar conditions to your own. We are very happy to identify and match any mystery hedge you might like, just e-mail a photo or post a few leaves with your name and phone number.

These are some important points to consider when choosing a hedge:

Site & soil

A newly planted hedge will need to thrive in its environment to grow and develop. Most hedges will grow in any reasonable soil but some have a dislike of extreme conditions, for example:

  • Beech and Yew hate boggy wet conditions
  • Photinias and Pittosporum may suffer damage in very cold exposed gardens

All of this information may be found in the pages of our website and catalogue but please call or e-mail if you are not sure.

Future maintenance

Fast growing hedges will cover quickly giving privacy and screening in the shortest time. Often there are situations where fast-growth is of prime importance but these vigorous hedges will require more frequent clipping in future years. There is often a strong case for using less vigorous hedging plants for example planting a Thuja hedge instead of Leylandii.

Toxicity & safety

Parts of some hedging plants are poisonous or may be very thorny making them unsuitable for some situations especially if you have young children.

Root damage

The roots of some more vigorous hedging species have the potential to damage drains, driveways and foundations if planted close by. Professional advice (e.g. structural engineer) should be sought and followed if you think this might be an issue.

Personal choice & budget

With the issues above covered you may have a ‘shortlist’ of suitable hedging plants. All that remains is to choose your favourite (or the plant you dislike the least!) and choose the size that best suits your budget.

James Middleton

An obsessive gardener since 1982. Day-time job - web designer and developer and University lecturer.

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