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How to improve my hedge

Discussion in 'Gardening Discussions' started by JDQuinn, Jul 16, 2017.

  1. JDQuinn

    JDQuinn Apprentice Gardener

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    Hi guys,

    My hedge is on its 4th year now. It is a mix of copper and green beech, alder, oak, hazel, birch, Hawthorne and spindle. I planted it all from bare root 1ft long saplings in April 2013, single row only as advised by the seller. It is largely doing ok but every year something doesn't go as well as expected. This year the beech has really taken off along with the alder and hazel. The hawthorn which normally goes well has been stunted this year. I suspect from me applying verdone to my lawn in late march just as the leaf was breaking out of the bud. All others were fine as they hadn't leafed yet.

    I've attached some pictures as I've some gaping and ineven gaps at the base and also within the hedge. I'm just after some advice on what to do. I usually lightly trim the runaway stems a few times a year to keep the growth steady and to encourage thickening. Will the hawthorns return to full health next year?

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    • Tetters

      Tetters Super Gardener

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      That hedge is looking pretty good to me, and I think the very best thing to do with it at the moment is absolutely nothing! It just needs a coat of patience, and plenty of rain.
      I can tell by your very smart and stripey lawn that you are seeking perfection, and maybe a more relaxed and laid back approach would be best. Invest in a nice garden seat :snorky:
       
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      • Verdun

        Verdun Passionate gardener

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        Hey Tetters....stripey lawn doesnt necessarily mean perfection. Just as quick with a lawnmower that "stripes"....i.e. having a rear roller....than one without!
        However, I do like my stripes :rasp:
        I do agree though patience and a relaxed approach will pay dividends JDQuinn.:) That could be weedkiller damage but prob only affecting the leaves.
         
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        • Tetters

          Tetters Super Gardener

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          Verdun, Verdun, Verdun....we all know about you and your stripes :cheerup:
           
        • Verdun

          Verdun Passionate gardener

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        • Tetters

          Tetters Super Gardener

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          Be a little devil and put some stripes up as your avatar picture why don`t you.....it would look rather nicer than a dull empty grey box - raise the tone of the place!
          @JDQuinn ..... do you feel a bit happier about your excellent hedge now :huh:..hope so.
           
        • Verdun

          Verdun Passionate gardener

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          I would Tetters but it seems I cannot upload an avatar......will try again later :noidea:
           
        • Verdun

          Verdun Passionate gardener

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          Right Tetters.. had to log out and log in again but here is my avatar. Taken in my prime as you can (enviably) see :snorky:
           
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          • Tetters

            Tetters Super Gardener

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            Oh crikey, it only needs ears and it would be Mickey Mouse ...[​IMG] should have known.
             
          • Verdun

            Verdun Passionate gardener

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          • clanless

            clanless Super Gardener

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            The trick with hedges is to keep them trimmed short until the bottom thickens out and then let them grow to height :blue thumb:.

            If you don't keep short - gaps will not 'fill in' at the bottom of the hedge - as all of the plants energy is going into top growth.:spinning: Your hedge plants are trying to grow into a 'tree' shape - stop them by keeping the tops trimmed.
             
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            • CarolineL

              CarolineL Gardener

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              @JDQuinn Hawthorn is tough as old boots. So even if the leaves got hit accidentally, it should recover. The main problem with a mixed hedge (I have one) is the varying growth rates and patterns. Until they start growing into each other to form a tapestry, it will be a bit lumpy, but after that, it will be fine! But as @clanless said, you have to be quite harsh and trim it so it branches low, rather than trying to form trees.
               
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              • JDQuinn

                JDQuinn Apprentice Gardener

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                Hi guys,

                Thanks for the replies. My lawn is far from perfect with lots of creeping buttercup and coarse grasses which I struggle to control but I do have a good sward of grass as well. I don't have a striping mower just a cheap husqvarna mower with a blower blade instead of mulching.

                I have tried to keep the hedge low to encourage thickening but I'm a little concerned the hedge may not grow to full height then. I have some wildly varying growth rates and different stages of leaf but in full leaf I am generally happy with the hedge appearance. I just was a little concerned about the gaps. It seems I've nothing to worry about now. Thanks guys.
                 
              • JDQuinn

                JDQuinn Apprentice Gardener

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                The hedge is currently about 2.5ft to 3ft high now. Should I lower it to encourage thickening and if so by how much?
                 
              • Tetters

                Tetters Super Gardener

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                After 4 years I would think it is time to just let it get on with the job on it`s own. I have been watching the farm hedges that have been planted out around here in the past 5 or 6 years, and they are all just left to their own devices. Nobody walks miles with secateurs giving them TLC, and they are all doing just fine. There are some nice tough plants in there - stop worrying.
                With a mixed hedge (I have grown a few from cuttings) you will get the occasional casualty, but it`s easy enough to shove another plant in to fill up any gaps.
                DSC00025.JPG I didn`t mess around with this lot at all and they thicken up every time they get the chop - about every other year.
                 

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