Planting a fast-growing hedge on your property increases your privacy while adding a sense of texture to the visuals of your home’s landscaping.
If you’re a gardener looking for a way to transform your property into a secluded haven, or simply block out the passing traffic, then consider adding a few hedges to your garden this planting season.
A hedge acts as a natural, luscious green screen that’s a more attractive and far more natural solution than building a wall.
Hedge Planting Tips
- 1 Hedge Planting Tips
- 2 Select the Right Hedge for the Planting Area
- 3 Select the Right Planting Time
- 4 Water Well for the first 2-years
- 5 Feeding Your Hedges
- 6 Prune Your Hedges Properly
- 7 Speak with Your Neighbors
- 8 Top Hedge Varieties
The ideal time for planting fast-growing hedge species like the Leylandii is in the fall to early springtime. We recommend that gardeners avoid planting in periods where frost may occur, especially if they are planting a young hedge.
Garners can plant outside of this optimal time-frame. However, they’ll also need to pay more attention to watering, ensuring that the roots don’t turn dry.
When planting your fast-growing hedge, it’s critical to prepare the soil first. Weed the planting site at least 6-weeks before planting, and ensure that you remove any secondary weeds sprouting when you want to plant your hedge.
Add a low dose of plant food to the soil when planting your hedge.
Gardeners can get more growth out of their hedges in a season if they start with mature hedges. You can get mature or juvenile hedges from your local garden center, and most of them come as a bare-root, root-balls, or in containers.
Those gardeners wanting the fastest growth from their hedges should consider going for container-grown plants.
For the Leylandii and Laurel varieties, spacing your hedges at least 25-inches apart is ideal. For those gardeners not concerned with privacy, they can plant the hedges up to 3-feet apart. The hedges will take longer to form a screening effect, but they’ll get there eventually.
Privet hedges suit closer planting, with four hedges suiting a 3-foot planting area. The size of the plants you buy determines the planting depth. For mature hedges, we recommend that you plant at a depth of at least 30-inches, but check with the consultant at your garden center before planting.
It’s also important to note that growing conditions play a significant role in the growth rate of hedges. Stress from extreme temperatures, dry conditions, and too much or too little exposure to the sun can stunt growth.
For those gardeners that want to ensure the fastest growth possible out of their hedges, follow these 5-tips.
Select the Right Hedge for the Planting Area
Hedges need an optimal growing environment to thrive. Check with your garden center about the right exposure for your plants.
Some hedges prefer full sun all day, while others prefer a bit of afternoon shade. Failing to provide your hedges with the right growing conditions results in slow growth. Make sure you research the variety you intend on planting.
Select the Right Planting Time
The time of the year you choose to plant your hedges makes a significant difference in growth rates as well. Those gardeners that plant an Amur Maple hedge in the height of summer, and limited watering, will set the hedge back significantly in its growth.
The best time of the year to plant your hedges is in the fall, after the long summer days start to cool off, and the first signs of changes in the season begin.
Planting in winter is not an issue, provided that you live in a region of the United States that does not receive any frost. Frost will kill the roots of young hedges, and damage the roots of mature plants when transplanting in colder conditions.
Water Well for the first 2-years
It takes your hedge some time to establish a root system that primes it for growth. In the first two seasons after planting, you can expect your hedge to grow slowly. However, after the roots take and establish themselves in the ground, the tree starts to take off.
During these first two years, you’ll need to ensure that you’re watering the hedge at least two to three times a week. Hedges are thirsty plants and leaving them with dry roots stunts growth. After the second year, the hedge should have a robust root system and will require less water.
For novice gardeners, the best way to ensure your hedge gets the water it needs is to install a drip line irrigation system along the length of the hedgerow bed.
Feeding Your Hedges
Gardeners can take solace in the fact that hedges don’t require much maintenance. However, if you want to accelerate growth, consider adding some fertilizer with a slow-releasing product that’s high in nitrogen. Apply the fertilizer in the spring before the start of the growing season.
Prune Your Hedges Properly
Spring offers gardeners the best opportunity to prune their hedges. Pruning in the spring stimulates growth, ensuring that no new shoots freeze if they pop out close to the wintertime.
Annual pruning is all that’s necessary for your hedges during the first two to three years. When the plants reach full maturity, you’ll find that you need to prune once or twice during the growing season as well.
Speak with Your Neighbors
Some areas of the United States rely heavily on the sense of community. If you start putting up fast growing privacy hedges in your yard, it might annoy your neighbors. If you live in an area where the community is a concern, then make sure you run it past your neighbors as a courtesy, before you start planting.
Top Hedge Varieties
Here are a few of the most popular fast-growing hedge varieties found in the United States.
Flame Amur Maple
A fast-growing deciduous hedge, with beautiful foliage colors in the autumn. Watch it burst into hues of orange, red, and yellow during the fall.
This variety is a very cold hardy variety and survives in temperatures down to as low as -40ºF. The multi-stemmed characteristics of this hedge make it an excellent choice for privacy in the garden.
English or Cherry Laurel
This variety grows quickly into an enormous hedge that’s ideal for creating a private sanctuary in your yard. Some of the fastest-growing hedges in this variety gain more than 3-feet in a growing season.
The hedge is very heat tolerant, making it the ideal choice for coastal areas and arid regions of the U.S, where temperatures run high. Gardeners will have to prune two to three times per year, and it’s a drought-resistant plant that grows in almost any soil type.
The English Laurel is tolerant of salt in the air, and it’s naturally resistant to pests like deer. It’s the ideal choice for large areas where the homeowner needs plenty of privacy.
Also known as “Skip Laurels,” the Schip Laurel hedge is another fast-growing variety, growing tall and thin. This hedge can tolerate full sun or full shade, making it one of the most resilient hedges available.
The Schip Laurel also grows readily in a variety of soil types, and it’s not got any aversion to salt or smog in the air. The Schip Laurel does well in colder environments up to USDA Zone 6. We like the Schip Laurel for covering fences in the yard, bringing a natural aesthetic to the perimeter.
This stunning hedge is both fast-growing and easy on the eyes. It’s the ideal variety of coastal regions and areas of the United States with warmer climates. The spreading habit of the Portuguese Laurel makes it easy to maintain, and with annual pruning, it quickly forms a dense.
The Portuguese Laurel is very drought-resistant once it establishes a root system, and it does well in coastal regions, as salt and smog in the air are not an issue for this hedge. The hedge grows well in any soil type, and it’s also resistant to pests like deer.
The Portuguese Laurel suits planting in the shade or the sun, but for best results, we recommend full sun for optimal growth.
The thickness of this hedge makes it one of the best choices for a fast-growing privacy hedge.
The privet is gaining popularity with homeowners across the United States. However, those homeowners seeking a formal-looking hedge for landscaping purposes might find the privet the attractive option for a hedgerow.
The dense growth of the hedge makes it an ideal choice for privacy, and the spreading also makes it easy for shaping. The privet grows at a pace of 12 to 25-inches a year. If gardeners use fertilizer when planting and during the early springtime, then they can expect rapid growth rates.
The Leylandii has to be the second most popular hedge after the Laurel. It’s becoming popular with homeowners in the United States due to it requiring little maintenance during the growing season, and it provides a dense hedge that’s ideal for increasing the privacy in your yard.
The Leylandii can grow as much as 35-inches per year, making it one of the fastest-growing hedges available.