Hedge trimming tips and contractors
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Whatever the size of your garden, a hedge is a great asset. It can act as a windbreak, for privacy or security and will attract wildlife if it is of the right mixture and looked after appropriately. Hedges are not natural features, however, an established hedge can give a natural appearance and feel to the garden if the hedging plants are selected carefully. The use of broad leafed native species coupled with expert and carefully planned hedge trimming can benefit almost any garden. A conifer hedge is probably the fastest to establish but is probably the least flattering and will not attract much wildlife.
When choosing your hedging plants from a garden centre, look for healthy plants, in good sized pots that are not root bound with a lot of yellowing leaves. If the soil in the pots is dry, look around, if watering at the garden centre is not done with care, it probably means that the plants are probably not of good quality. If you must have evergreens, bear in mind that the yew is toxic and most of the others are slow growing unless you choose something like the Leylandii which is definitely not everyone's cup of tea. Leylandii and similar plants have roots that can be quite invasive too, so are best used in hedges away from the building. Privet is a popular evergreen choice too and if left to flower is excellent for insects.
Native species such as hornbeam, whitebeam and beech are great for hedging, beech hedges are particularly beautiful as they can retain their autumn leaves throughout the winter. If you are a bit paranoid and want to plant a hedge for increased security, include spiky plants in your planting scheme!
When trimming a hedge, there are two ways (or maybe 3 ways if you take into account the local council or farmers method of flailing a hedge into submission) of going about it, the amateur way (get the hedge trimmer out and do a nice flat top and vertical sides) or the professional way. A professional will take into account the needs of the individual plant species that make up the hedge as well as the aesthetics of the garden. If you decide that hedge layering is not for you, your hedge should be trimmed to an 'A' shape, sometimes called 'keystone' shape. This ensures that your hedge plants will all get a decent amount of light. With amateur straight sided hedges, very soon, the base becomes thin and straggly as lower levels of light reach the leaves and they become weaker and die. A professional will either have developed an excellent eye for getting a hedge height an line that suits your garden and it is well worth the money to call in a professional a couple of times. After that, you will probably have seen how it has been done and will be able to get somewhere close to re-creating the effect.
If you leave a hedge too long between trimmings, when it is trimmed, bare patches will appear. This can look unsightly and may persist for several years until the foliage recovers. Trimming your hedge lightly and several times during the growing season is better overall. A neglected hedge can require trimming with a saw or chainsaw.
Finally, remember to include some flowering plants in your hedge, rambling roses and honeysuckle are great favourites as they will enhance the beauty of your garden.