Posts in Hedge Tips
How to Plant a Hedge for Privacy
Hedge with a multi-story house in the background

So, you decided that you want some privacy to drown out traffic noise, nosey neighbours or to create some green space.

You don’t want to build a wall or a fence that doesn’t give you the privacy you want. Additionally, you want to add greenery that will add depth and dimension to your garden.

So, what is the answer?

Hedging plants.

A hedge that grows densely will keep out noise and prying eyes. And yet, it’s something that adds texture, colour and a home to local birds and insects. Growing a hedge is a great alternative to building a fence.

Picking Out the Right Shrubs

Before you can plant, you need to purchase the right shrubs for the spot where you want to plant them. You also need to know how high your woody plant will be—and if it creates the privacy you desire.

For example, how high do you want your hedge to grow—2m or 4m? To envision how high a plant will be, have someone stand on a ladder to give you a visual of that height. Some hedging plants, like photinia, grow up to 2m while michelia figo can grow up to 4m.

Then, you need to decide if you want a hedging plant that flowers or one that is an evergreen. Fortunately, you have a lot of varieties and species to choose from to create the perfect privacy hedge.

5 Popular Hedging Plants

Here are our five favourite hedging plants that reduce noise, create privacy and add to your garden’s greenery:

 
Close-up of bamboo

1. Bamboo: Do you want to add a song to your garden? Then you need bamboo. It’s fast-growing and a popular privacy screen. When the trees sway in the wind, they sound like they’re singing.

 

 

Bush hedge of pink flowers

2. Camellia: Which variety gives you a living privacy screen—japonica and sasanqua? The sasanqua is the faster growing of the two types. The sasanqua has small leaves and a higher sun tolerance compared to its japonica cousin. Plus, it provides beautiful blossoms in autumn.

 

 

 
Green hedges

3. Griselinia: A New Zealand native, the kapuka (another name for griselinia) is an evergreen hedging plant that does well in drought and coastal conditions. It also attracts bird to its berries.

 

Magnolia Figo hedge

4. Michelia figo: The michelia figo is part of the magnolia family. It’s an evergreen that produces fragrant blossoms. It works well as a privacy screen due to its density.

 

 

Photinia red hedge leaves

5. Photinia: The vibrant red leaves look brilliant as a hedge in your garden. This hedging plant also produces blossoms.

 

  

How to Plant Your Natural Privacy Screen

Now that you know what kind of hedge you’re going to buy, it’s time to plant it. You can plant each hedge in individual holes or a trench. It’s better to plant them in a trench, but you’ll need to keep them well-irrigated and fertilised.

 

Here are five steps to planting your natural privacy screen:

1. Preparing soil
For your hedging plants to succeed, you need to first prepare your soil. For example, you want loose soil so roots can anchor and water can percolate deep in the ground. So, if you have heavy clay soils, you need to work it to make it loamier. Likewise, if you have sandy soil, you need to add compost or organic material to it for better water retention.
 

2. Spacing between plants
How much space do you need between plants? It depends on your hedge variety and how dense you want it. Generally speaking, if you’re planting a 2m plant, you want to space the plants 1m apart.
 

3. Don’t mess with the roots
It’s tempting to comb out the roots of your new plants, but don’t do it. You can kill your new hedges.
 

4. Don’t forget to fertilise
 When you’re finished installing your hedges, feed them fertiliser, so they get a good start growing a deep root system. Plus, cover them and then add mulch to protect the roots as well as to keep the soil temperature even.
 

5. Make sure you water your new plants 
After you finish planting your hedges, you must water them immediately. And they need a good soaking, up to 3-5 cm of water. You also need to continue watering your plants every day for the next two to three days, then cut back to two days a week, and finally to one day a week. Of course, this routine is based on your region, including the season, weather conditions and soil type. Your goal is to keep the soil moist.

 

Crewcut operator trimming hedge with long trimmer

Maintaining Your Hedges

After your hedges get established, their maintenance is pretty simple:

  1. Regularly fertilise them

  2. Get a hedge trim about twice a year.

 

Your local garden centre can help you pick the right fertiliser to use. Each hedging plant has different fertilising needs. So make sure you follow the package directions. For pruning, it’s essential that you properly trim your hedges to respect the plant’s natural shape. But there is also more to it than a hedge trim every now and then. You also need to make sure that light and oxygen can get into the centre of each plant.

 

To save you time and aggravation, you want to hire a professional hedge trimming company to keep your privacy screen growing densely and beautifully. At Crewcut, our hedge trimming crews will bring new life to your natural privacy screens to protect you from wind, nosey neighbours and noise pollution.

 

If your natural screens need pruning, you can contact us by clicking the buttons below


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All about Autumn pruning
Brown dog lying on autumn leaves

Autumn in the garden can be a dismal time. The food supply is dwindling, the lawn is soggy and when you gaze upon your domestic forest you’re faced with the full trifecta. There's summer overgrowth, a shaggy orchard and the resident maple dropping its leaves in the guttering.

Tree pruning is necessary to keep nature in check and ensure the garden is a safe place. Untamed or diseased trees will not only fail to flourish or bear good fruit, they can be a real health hazard to humans. Branches that are overgrown or weakened by disease can take an eye out or crush a person. Remember to be sensible and call in the experts if a tree pruning job is too big.

 

Cut don’t kill!

It’s vital that no diseases develop as a result of your tree pruning efforts. If your tree develops a disease it could die, which is devastating if it’s a fruit tree that has only just started to bear after years of nurturing. To minimise the chance of spreading infection and to ensure you give your tree the best shot at post-surgical recovery:

  • Clean/sterilise equipment so you don’t transfer bacteria between plants
  • Prune on an angle so water doesn’t pool in the cuts (use pruning paste if you wish)
  • Prune on a dry day so cuts heal quickly
  • Cut away all dead, dying and diseased wood

 

Pink flower bush

Flowering trees

Don’t be shy about cutting back your dried out dead hydrangeas now: leaves, stalks and all. They will bounce back with new growth next spring. 

Trim into shape sun-loving shrubs that prefer to hibernate over winter and won’t fancy their snooze being disturbed by a nasty haircut. This includes lavender and rosemary. Deadhead your roses but wait until winter before you do any pruning – any new growth will suffer in the winter cold. (However, if you live in the north and your climbing rose has exhibited runaway growth due to the hot wet summer, wait for flowering to finish and then you go for it!).  

With all flowering trees and shrubs, remember to cut at least 2cm-3cm above new bud growth, in a downward direction away from the new bud.

 

 

 

Climber tree with red fruit

Climbers

The long, hot, wet summer means the Crewcut gardening team has been overwhelmed with demand for a garden tidy up service. Jasmine, wisteria and other climbers are running riot, canes sprawling over the deck, garden and into the vegetable patch. In a couple of months deciduous vine leaves will be falling too fast for you to sweep up, so now is a great time for pruning trees that should be thinned out.

 

 

Fruit trees

Berry bushes – once finished, thin out to ensure bumper crops next season. Use secateurs to maintain control when you prune back tendrils to encourage fresh growth in spring. Remove spent branches, dead wood and unproductive ‘traffic’ clogging the main highways. When your stonefruit have finished bearing, it’s safe to pick up your loppers and start tree pruning. There are several things to consider before you start. First, the age of the tree – just like people, it’s best to shape trees from infancy. So, if you want to block the view of an ugly telephone pole, leave the central leader (trunk) and prune the lower branches.

Prefer a low, spreading lemon tree that’s easy to harvest for cocktails? Remove the central leader to encourage sideways spread. This will form the tree’s future shape. Remember – you want the tree to put its energy into producing fruit, not sustaining extraneous growth, so don’t be shy about pruning away branches that are crowding the party. Tree pruning is trickier with saplings, but you must try to envision the future shape of the tree and imagine what it will look like with branches full grown. You don’t want to cut off a branch at the base if it will leave an ugly gaping hole in the eventual shape of the tree.

 

Hairy hedges

There are some extraordinary hedges about at present – solid dark green boxes with metre-long pea green shoots waving wildly from the top. Crewcut has dedicated and experienced hedge trimmers but if you’re going to tackle these yourself, remember to put safety first. A stable ladder and preferably a second pair of hands to pass you equipment and keep the ladder steady. Check the underside of your ladder’s feet for the state of the grip – it may need new rubber shoes. Don’t overstretch, get down regularly to move the ladder or set up a trestle. If you’ve a super thick yew, you might be tempted to walk and cut at the same time but this will likely result in a sprained ankle.

 

 

Dead trees are deadly

Every winter, the country is subjected to increasingly violent weather events, resulting in loss of property and occasionally life. In January, a Rotorua woman died when a tree fell on her car and earlier this month in the Northeastern United States five people, aged six to 77, were killed by falling branches and trees during a two-day storm. Five people in one storm killed by trees!  

 

We can’t stress enough the need to ensure the safety of your family, property and passing pedestrians and motorists. Make tree pruning a priority before winter. Take a good look at each tree and if in doubt, have an expert come and assess your property for anything that might pose a safety hazard should a big storm hit. It’s better to be safe than sorry so take it out or lop it off. Two children in the US were actually inside their homes when trees fell through the walls. Trees near the street and out on the berm should also be inspected for signs of rot and your local council notified if necessary. The hot, wet spells in summer that give us wonderful vegetable harvests have the flipside of fostering rot and disease. In the past, nature evolved together with the weather. Now, climate change has thrown it out of kilter and it’s struggling to establish its defences.

Finally, before you go outside, remember the first rule of tree pruning – safety first. Protect yourself against falls, cuts and eye injuries and call on your Crewcut team for advice or assistance any time. 


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There's More To Hedges Than Trimming

One of our valuable Crewcut customers wrote us this piece while looking for help with their hedges

 


The hedge is nature and human working together to create the ideal wall – easy, cheap and environmentally friendly. With ongoing care, it can also be beautiful. But what else can be done aside from hedge trimming to give you the best hedge on the street? North Shore Crewcut operator, Larry, says that when it comes to ongoing care, there is no ‘best’ tree species for a hedge.


“It really comes down to personal choice. If thought is put into the planting of the trees, then the hedge can be kept looking good through regular maintenance.”


If you want a low maintenance hedge, he suggests buxus as a good choice and says that, along with acmena and pittosporum, it’s very popular with Kiwis.

 

It’s all about the base

Garden shovel in the ground

Planting has a big effect on how easy the hedge is to control in the future. Larry says that foresight is crucial. “You have to plant for how things are going to look in the future.”
Consider your needs are before you choose the trees. I wanted a fast-growing hedge to screen out the neighbour’s wall and I wanted a tree with light foliage that would be easy to prune and would not block out the light. Attractiveness was important because the hedge is near our front door and finally, my partner had insisted on a native. After much enjoyable research I chose pittosporum tenuifolium Wrinkle Blue, with a height after 5 years of three metres, although I’ll be keeping it at about two.

 I dug a trench rather than individual holes so that I could play with the distance spacings marked on a piece of string (also, it was a lot easier on the back!). This method meant I could lay fertiliser along the trench to be reached by future root growth, rather than just under the root ball. Because of the proximity of the wall I tossed in some small bits of scoria for drainage and scattered sheep pellets and fresh compost on top. Early and continual pruning of the branches at the back ensures the hedge won’t become congested against the wall.

 

 

Lady trimming the hedges

Too close for comfort

Surprisingly, Larry says that many hedges aren’t the result of meticulous planning but of overeager gardeners. “The main thing people do wrong is they plant things for how they look now, so they plant trees too close together and end up with a hedge.”

This strategy will be difficult to keep looking tidy if the trees have different growth rates and characteristics, however it can make for an interesting effect. I am actively hoping to incorporate an existing camellia into my new hedge. It’s at the end of the hedge line – I doubt it would have survived in a more central position.

 

 

Flower bank

Pink flower bush

Camellia hedges are very popular, with sasanqua and hybrids the best for hedging (I have a japonica Roger Hall and it’s quite woody, with slow, straggly growth). “If It’s a flowering hedge then the best time to trim depends on when the hedge comes into flower,” says Larry. Sasanqua are winter bloomers, so early Spring is the time to get out the shears or call in a hedge trimming professional before the hedge launches into its annual growth spurt. Water well because they have shallow roots but since they are also prone to root rot from waterlogging, mulching is especially important. (If you’re a camellia fan, make a seasonal visit to the impressive forest at the Auckland Botanic Gardens).

 

Let the light in

Larry says that when you trim your hedge depends on its growth stage and the type of tree. “Some people like to trim it in spring because it will grow faster.”
If your hedge is difficult to control, trim the trees twice yearly, in early spring and late summer. I keep a garden diary and it’s invaluable. Over winter, make a note of whereabouts your house becomes dark and gloomy due to lost light and which parts of the garden are dampest and sunless. Are they shaded by a wall of greenery? If so, you may wish to significantly cut back hedging in spring.  Likewise, if you are planning to plant a hedge later this year, make a note of where your house gets its winter sun and don’t plant where it will be blocked. You’ll be glad you have the information.

 

Don’t leave it too late

Although common advice is to prune deciduous hedges in winter when the trees are dormant, I detest gathering fallen leaves, so I trim in early Autumn. This isn’t limited to hedges – we have a leaf blower just to cope with the wisteria. A single morning spent carrying branches and green clippings to the garden bag is preferable to the misery of raking up leaves all Autumn. You know it makes sense.

 

Taming the hedge hog

Have an enormous hedge, inherited from a previous owner? The kind that as a kid you had great fun making huts inside? Rampant real estate inflation has dramatically increased the cost per metre of property, but you can regain some of your precious section by cutting back heavily. We cut back our monster laurel hedge and salvaged enough space for a bike shed.

However, it’s not your own hedge that is giving you trouble but the behemoth encroaching from next door, don’t get out the chainsaw as a first response. Asked what should be done if the neighbours’ hedge is a problem, expert Larry says, “Personally, I’d go and talk to them about it.”

 


If you're looking for someone to look after your hedges this coming Autumn, be sure to leave it to the professionals. Contact Crewcut for your free, no obligation quote on 0800 800 286


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