7 Key Steps to Maintaining a Healthy and Beautiful Hedge
Jul 24, 2022

Aside from being aesthetically pleasing, people plant hedges as an alternative to fences for privacy reasons. Hedges serve as boundaries within a neighbourhood. Some thorned hedges even serve as protection from intruders.  Hedges are also perfect animal breeding and providing bird nests and shelters for wild animals. It also keeps the air clean and protects the soil from erosion.

Low hedges that are 1-2 meters high are perfect for garden and fences. Having hedges in your backyard becomes a responsibility to your neighbours and especially to the animals that live in it.


Why You Should Maintain Hedges

Protect Wildlife and Biodiversity Conservation

Different animals live in hedges. Some animals thrive in hedgerows to gather food. Some of these animals come to these hedges to breed and nest. Some of these animals help to spread seeds for pollination.  The bottom line here is that animals benefit from hedges. Hedges benefit from animals too.

Prevent Them from Outgrowing Another Property

Outgrown hedges can be sources of conflict between neighbours when they turn into obstacles. The outgrown hedges add up to your neighbour’s backyard maintenance jobs. It is right to show that you are a responsible hedge owner.

Prevent Erosion

Hedges serve as barriers to soil erosion. It improves soil structure and stability, therefore, reducing flood.

Keep the Hedges Healthy

Unmaintained hedges carry dead stems and dried leaves. The wrong timing of trimming grows into unhealthy hedges.

Maintaining Your Hedges


Having a beautiful hedge needs to be healthy. A healthy hedge is dense and full. Leaves are vibrant and firm. To grow healthy hedges, just like any other plant, it needs adequate watering.

Digging ditches next to hedges is an old way to water hedges. It serves as a water reserve. Today, people use irrigation pipes to water hedges. Porous pipes soak the soil with water slowly. Water sprays or sprinklers are not advisable because it wastes a lot of water and can bring leaf diseases.

The volume of water hedges depends on the type of plant, type of soil, and soil’s exposure to wind and sun. Plants with thin leaves need more water as these have fewer water reserves in their system. When the soil dries faster, it may need more water to keep it moist.

  • Try watering hedges in the early morning or evening.
  • Use an electronic timer to control the water.
  • Find out if your system has rain sensors.


Fertilizing hedges keeps the soil healthy. A healthy soil that holds hedges keeps the shrubs beautiful, vibrant, dense, and more productive. The amount and type of fertilizer depending on the hedge’s age, variety of shrubs, spacing, and soil conditions. Unhealthy soils with thin, sandy or rocky textures are often unable to hold moisture.

To find out which fertilizer is best for your shrubs, you need to test your soil’s PH level. The best time to fertilize hedges to give them ample time to grow lush foliage is in early spring.

If you opt to use chemical fertilizers, you need to use a small application for new hedges to prevent the root from burning. Sprinkle around the hedge’s base. Mix the fertilizer into the soil by watering.

If you are fertilizing existing hedges, you should ensure you apply the fertilizer as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Fertilize it in early spring or late autumn.

Organic fertilizers lessen the chances of burning the hedge’s roots. You can use animal manure, compost, or bone meal to put around the hedge’s base.


Killing Weeds

Watering and fertilizing hedges attract weeds. Weeds can spread rapidly around shrubs. These weeds steal nutrients from the soil and makes hedges unhealthy.

Using herbicides can potentially harm the hedges and the animals that thrive in it. The best way to kill weeds around the shrubs is to pull them by hand. Start killing weeds by placing shrub beds during spring and mulching around the plants. This is the perfect time to eliminate the chances of weeds to grow around your hedges.

Wear gloves when you pull out the weeds by hand. Dig them from the root. Installing headers prevents grass and weeds from growing near the hedges. You need a newspaper to cover the soil and prevent weeds from growing around the shrubs. Mulches are great covers to keep the soil moist while suppressing the weeds.


Pruning involves cutting out loose and dead branches of the shrubs. These branches can harm other plants and make a significant effect on blooming flowers and producing fruits. Cutting these ill branches helps in forming hedges.

Prune shrubs that bloom flowers on summers in early spring or late in the winter. Prune shrubs that bloom flower on spring in early summer or late spring. Ideally, you have to prune branches before the hedges start producing buds.

For thin branches, use hand shears. For thick and sturdy branches, use pruning saw or lopping shears.

For every few feet, cut up to two branches at a 45° angle above the healthy buds. For old hedges, you need to stimulate new stem growth by cutting 1/3 of the thickest stems from the base. Do this once a year within three years.


Pruning and trimming work together. Trimming involves cutting out overgrown branches to create a neat and tidy look. Trimming depends on how fast the shrub grows.

Hedges need maintenance trimming after formative pruning. The bottom of the shrub gets enough sunlight when you cut it narrow from the top.


Clipping goes along with trimming too. It gives the gardener a guide to follow a shape. Ideally, you have to put stakes or poles at both ends of the hedges. Stretch out a string and tie the ends in between the poles. These strings will serve as guides when you start to trim. Keep in mind to tie in string levels where you won’t have to cut too many greens and leave only the stem’s bare brown spots.


More Shapes!

If you are naturally creative, you may want different shapes aside from the boxed or round hedges. You can improve your garden’s landscape with more than strings and rods as guides for your hedge’s formative growth. You will need topiary frames to form your shrubs. Hedges that undergo proper formative pruning and regular trimming come with fewer problems to form other shapes.

Now you have to upgrade to topiary shears for larger shrubs. While your hedge is a basic form of topiary, shrubs, and trees formed in various topiary shapes are life to your hedges.


The Bottom Line

It takes an effort to give life to your fence. Living fences need careful maintenance for better growth. When they are properly maintained, they not only serve as fences. They can be a breath of fresh air, a shed for different animals like birds and butterflies, protection from intruders, or a masterpiece that compliments the beauty of your home.