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Choose The Right Hedge Plant

The plant hardiness zone in which you live is the first thing you should consider when choosing any plant. We are somewhere between zone 4 and zone 5 in Meredith NH. Your residential landscaping (or commercial) plan needs to consider all factors. If the plant you want won’t grow where you live, forget it. Ask our Landscape Designer / Landscape Architects about hedge ideas. We can have our Landscape Architects work with you on your residential landscaping and your long term goals. A hedge is one possible consideration.

You will need to assess your needs and your site conditions when choosing the right hedge plant.

Think of the following considerations:

 Why do I want a hedge? To hide a view all year round? If this is the reason, you might want to consider an evergreen hedge. If you want a border but it doesn’t need to be evergreen, then you have more choices than you may realize.

 How much space do I have to work with? Your residential landscaping plan will have all these measurements laid out. Not only do you need to know the length of the hedge, but how wide of an area is available? Your plant choice should fit into your size constraints. You won’t want to choose a shrub only because it gets 15’ tall, for example, if you don’t have the proper amount of space to let it spread out. Too often, people may start out with good intentions thinking they’ll keep up with pruning and keep a plant at a small size, only to find out that the plant quickly overgrows the space. This goes for the height of the plant too. Let’s say you want a hedge to stay at a 6’ height, but you choose a plant that will get to be 12’ tall if left alone. Well, trust me, you would’ve been better off choosing a plant that’s easier to maintain. You’ll be constantly fighting a losing battle of pruning.

 Do you want a formal clipped hedge look? Then choose a plant that tolerates pruning well and looks good tightly pruned. Don’t forget to consider plants that may not normally be considered ‘hedge’ plants. For example, Rhododendron, Weigela, and even Spirea can make an informal hedge that doesn’t require all that pruning. Again, your Landscape Architects will assist you in getting the right style.

 Consider plant spacing. Do not place plants too close together. You might be tempted to do this since the plants are small to start with. Always plant them according to their mature size. This may mean that if you want a hedge where you should place the shrubs 8’ apart, you will be left with tons of space in between at first while the plants are small. Consider purchasing more mature plants in this situation…no one wants a few plants that look tiny and miles apart for years until they mature. And, here’s a basic rule; choose your plant spacing so that the mature plants will overlap a little bit. For example, if the mature size diameter of the plant will be 8’ wide, then instead of planting them 8’ apart, plant them approx. 5 or 6’ apart. This will allow them to grow together into a hedge.

 Take into consideration your sun and soil conditions as well as assessing to see if you have any deer problems. If you have deer, you should know that Arborvitae (for example) are salad as far as the deer are concerned. It’s best to avoid plants that will just get eaten.

 Here’s just a few great hedge plant choices:

TALL: Spruce, Hemlock

MEDIUM HEIGHT: Lilac, Spirea, Forsythia, Viburnum, Rhododendron, Arborvitae

SHORT: Boxwood

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