Hedges have been used as natural architecture for decoration, privacy, screens, fences, and even sculpture (a la Edward Scissorhands). I’m not going to show you how to create your own pruning museum, but I will give you a basic understanding of the fundamentals of pruning. If you are planting your own hedges, make sure to select hedges with many stems, the more stems, the healthier the hedge, and the more you will have to work with. Also, remember to cut the growth back 6 inches after planting. This ensures branching on the lower end of the hedge, a common problem with many hedges. After one year, again cut away half of the growth to induce branching.
The hedge won’t be ready for shaping until the third year. A cone-like shape is best for your hedges, because it is important to make sure that sunlight will be able to reach the lower and interior branches. Taper the hedge so the top is more narrow than the bottom. It is also important to prune openings, holes, or thin-growth areas throughout the outer growth of the shrub to allow sunlight penetration to the inner part of the plant. This grants the plant the inner growth it needs 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. 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. You should also make sure to remove gathered snow or ice on hedges, as it can break branches and distort your shapes. 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 Robinson Landscaping’s custom pruning services.