Many gardens need a small hedge as a foil to the architecture of the house, as a screen to provide privacy, or as a garden division. Short hedges are used to emphasise the points of interest in the building, sometimes by merely repeating a horizontal line, or by introducing a green column. Dwarf hedges are used, too, to fill up an awkward narrow bed between the house wall and a concrete path, and in such a position they can create a very attractive garden feature.

Other hedges are informal in type, and are made of one variety of shrub which is of particular interest in itself, but does not have to be meticulously trimmed to shape. It is usually chosen for its flowers or berries as well as its foliage.

Preparing The Soil
Whatever the type of hedge or the use to which it is put, the soil preparation must be adequate before planting takes' place, for it will never be possible to disturb the soil deeply, so long as the hedge lives. Dig the area thoroughly to one spade's depth, and, if the soil is not likely to become waterlogged, dig even lower by removing the top spit of soil, and stirring or turning over the next spit. A "spit" is a spade's depth of soil, somewhere in the region of nine inches. Thus, by double-digging, the soil is stirred to a depth of eighteen inches. Well rotted manure or compost should be dug into the lower layer so that the nourishment is

down in the soil for the plant roots as they need it.

Planting a Hedge
Plants for hedges are placed much closer together than if they were to grow to a natural form in the shrub border. Cypresses, which grow into tall, or broad trees, according to species, and which, in some instances, cover a very wide area, are planted from two feet six inches apart in the case of the Pencil Cedar type, to five feet apart if they are of horizontal growth. Shrubs which are usually given as much. as five feet to develop in, can be planted its close as two feet in a hedge row. The reason is, of course, that the shrubs are expected to intermingle in such a way that there is
no break in line between the plants. So grown, their united strength gives protection from wind and some amount of privacy, as well as becoming the framework of the garden.

Staking The Hedge Plants
If the plants are in an open position they should be staked to prevent them from being blown out until such time as they are strongly rooted and vigorous. Drive the stakes in deeply before any planting is done. In this way there can then be no injury to the roots, and the stakes satisfactorily mark the positions of the plants. Even if there is actually little danger of the shrubs being blown over, stakes are important, as the plants may be disturbed by wind, and thrown out of line. A hedge must be truly symmetrical to' make a pleasing garden setting. The stakes can be removed when the trees have developed good strong stems.

Tie the plants to the stakes every few inches, but do nut use a harsh string for thepurpose.  Sewing twine, the soft string which is used for sewing sacks, is one of the best materials for the purpose. Binder twine is stronger and tougher, without being harsh, and can be used if greater strength is needed. The string should be passed round the stake and the plant, with an extra turn round the stake alone, and tied with a reef knot at the back of the stake. The extra turn of string round the stake strengthens the tie and still gives play for the developing stem. One point must be remembered, though: the stem thickens as the tree grows, and the ties should be examined every few weeks, and loosened as is necessary. If this is not done, the trunk as it expands will become restricted and will grow over the ties. Largish trees can stand this treatment. Young ones could be killed by it.

<< Previous Hedge Plants | Back to Home Garden | Next >> Home Grown Tomatoes