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Hedges for Sale - Buying & Growing Guide

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Hedges – Buying & Growing Guide

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by John Haryasz | Horticulture Writer and Landscape Designer – last update on December 2, 2021

While you can create privacy with walls and fences, there is another option that often proves to be more attractive. A privacy hedge can take some time to develop, but once it does, it will give you a sense of seclusion and exquisite foliage textures.

Types of Plants to Grow as Hedges

Type  Growing Zones Mature Height Sun Features
Boxwood, Buxus ‘Green Mountain’ 5-9 3-7 feet Full sun to part shade: 4-8 hours Responds extremely well to shearing, dense foliage
American arborvitae, Thuja occidentalis 2-7 20-40 feet Full sun to part shade: 4-8 hours Reliable foliage year-round and excellent cold hardiness
English yew, Taxus baccata  6-7 30-60 feet  Full sun to part shade: 4-8 hours Soft but dense needles, prominent red berries
American holly, Ilex opaca 5-9 15-30 feet Full sun to part shade: 4-8 hours Bright red berries and recognizable leaves
Eastern white pine, Pinus strobus 3-8 50-80 feet Full sun to part shade: 4-8 hours Long needles and noticeable cones
Canadian hemlock, Tsuga canadensis 3-7 35-50 feet Full sun to part shade: 4-8 hours Tiny needles and cones with rough-textured bark
Privet, Ligustrum 6-8 5-15 feet Full sun to part shade: 4-8 hours Dense but deciduous leaves, white flowers
Forsythia, Forsythia x intermedia  5-8 8-10 feet Full sun: 6-8 hours Bright yellow, early spring flower, fast-growing 
Azalea, Rhododendron 5-9 8-20 feet Partial shade: 3-4 hours Broad-leaved evergreen with excellent spring flowers

How to Plant Hedges

There are a few principles to remember when planting a hedge. The first is that your hedge’s location is crucial. Where you grow your hedge determines the quality and amount of privacy you achieve. 

Spacing is another essential topic for anyone creating a hedge. You’ll need to respect each plant’s need for a distinct growing area while making sure it does not take too long for your hedge to form. 

The ideal spacing for your hedge will vary depending on the species. What you should know is that placing your plants too far apart means it will take a long time for your hedge to develop. Planting too close may cause stress for you hedge plants as they compete for the same space and soil nutrients. 

Regarding space, you should also avoid planting a hedge in a place where it will eventually grow to conflict with existing structures in your yard. You’ll also need to respect each plant’s individual care requirements and follow fundamental planting practices for woody plants. 

How to Maintain Hedges

The main maintenance chore you’ll need to perform for your hedges is pruning. While it may seem simple, pruning for hedges is different from the pruning you would do for other plants. At times, getting hedge trimming right can be difficult.

Avoid shearing your hedges too much. Several hedge species will not produce foliage on old wood. That means that excessive shearing could leave your hedge looking bare. 

The best way to prune a hedge is by hand. Focus on individual branches and stems and remove them selectively. Only after doing that should you move on to a light shear. Use your hand pruning to remove dead or damaged limbs and use moderate trimming to maintain the shape you desire for your hedge. 

As is the case with other plants, hedge plants will need certain amounts of sunlight, water, and fertilization. If you want your hedge to look its best, meet its specific needs and  prune carefully.