Top 3 Things to Avoid When it Comes to Maintaining Your Hedge

A beautifully maintained hedge can add elegance and class to your yard. They are a great way to define borders without having to use a fence. When hedges are not properly cared for, they can become scraggly, yellowed, and just be a real eyesore!

(1) Not Pruning at the Right Time

Hedges should ideally be pruned in late winter. This is because plants are dormant at this time and have yet to produce buds. If you take off a plant’s bud, it will take much longer for the hedge to fill out. Evergreens should be pruned early in the season because they grow slower.  If you have flowering shrubs, wait until the day after the bloom turns brown. This way, the plant will have time to set buds for next year.

(2) Shearing without Hand-Pruning 

Using shears to take off branch tips keeps hedges neat and tidy. It also stimulates bud production near the plants’ edges. The problem, however, is that as buds multiply, a shrub can get so thick that sunlight can’t penetrate it. This can prevent interior growth. This is why you see some hedges that grow bigger and bigger each year, but are lifeless and empty inside.

It is important to use bypass hand pruners to create some spaces in the hedge for light and air. At every few feet, reach inside and clip a branch or two at a 45-degree angle – just above a nub or leaflet that’s growing in a direction you want to encourage.

If your hedge is old and/or overgrown, implement the 3 year rule: Remove up to 1/3 of the thickest stems down at the base of the plant, stimulating new growth. Repeat this in the next 2 years. This will result in a healthier shrub that is smaller in size.

(3) Not Shaping a Hedge so that it is More Narrow at the Top

When a hedge is not properly cared for, it will start to widen at the top because of the sunlight. The result is a hedge in a V-shape that shades out lower branches. A sheared hedge should always be wider at the bottom, regardless if the top is pointed, rounded, or flat.

Sound too overwhelming? Not to worry! We can help! Call ATC Landscape today and be on your way to having healthy and beautiful hedges! Proudly serving the Tri-Cities (Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody), Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge since 2001.

  Proudly serving the Tri-Cities (Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody), Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge since 2001.

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