A lot of pruning just doesn't fit a busy modern life style. Consider the time you spend pruning hedges. It maybe hours or even a day every month or two spring through fall. Certainly there are other fun things you could be doing.
You won't be a slave to your hedges if you pick plants that grow no more than the desired height and let them develop naturally. If you only need a small hedge in the three-foot range choose a dwarf yaupon holly or an Indian hawthorn. They are going to need some guidance but never shearing.
Many gardeners would like a hedge to block a view. If a five to six-foot tall planting is adequate, select the dwarf Burford holly, suspensum viburnum or thryallis. But if you really need height, some eight to ten foot selections include the anise, feijoa, Florida privet, ligustrum, pittosporum and Walters viburnum.
Now here is the secret - put the shears away and let the hedge grow. Only a little guidance is needed following these good hedge producing tips.
- Trim once or twice a year just before a flush of new growth.
- Begin trimming when plants are young to encourage the desired shape.
- Selectively cut lanky or overgrown shoots back to branch angles or limbs within the plants.
- Remove the tips of new growths to encourage branching as needed to fill in the empty spots.
- Fertilize in March, June and September if needed to encourage growth.
One of the big problems gardeners have with hedges at this time of the year is the lack of water. New hedges are particularly vulnerable to drought or just a few days of dry weather. Make sure the root balls stay moist until the plants send roots out into the surrounding soil. And don't forget to maintain a two to three inch mulch over the root systems. Old or established hedges can go a week or two without rain or irrigation. Look for any sign of dry foliage during the hot dry weather and water as needed. A thorough watering is best that wets the mulch and soil below.