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Home > Essentials of Gardening > Hedges > Tips for Hedging
Tips for Hedging
Tips for HedgingEvergreens make fine hedges because they retain their appearance in winter, but for simple purposes tall growing annuals or even ornamental grasses may be used. It is well to consider how you want the hedge to look in winter as well as in summer before you make your selection. Also the cost enters into the question.

Although deciduous (leaf-losing) material should not be planted until late October or November, when the plants are dormant, cuttings may be propagated in summer for planting in spring, making the hedge cost very little. Although these plants will take several years to grow from cuttings to hedge size the cost of the operation aside from the labor will be quite trifling.

If evergreens are used the best time to plant them is about September 1. When this is done the roots will become established during the cool fall months which are to follow and will be pre- pared for the winter by the plentiful fall rains. In the spring the evergreens make new growth and there is a great advantage in having had several months of growing weather in the fall to first establish the plant underground. Spring planted evergreens face the hot trying conditions of summer while in a weakened state because of the demands of new growth and the root shock due to transplanting.

In planting hedges, as in any other type of garden material, it pays to be careful. If your soil is very good it may be all right to excavate holes big enough to receive the individual plants, but if you want quick sturdy sure growth the best way is to excavate a trench and fill it with good soil, breaking up the subsoil to insure drainage and possibly adding some sand or cinders to the bottom in especially bad situations.

After the plants are placed the ground should be shaped so that water runs toward the plant when applied to it. After the growing season, however, the water should run away from the plant and the ground should be shaped accordingly.

There are some materials which will serve for hedges and grow in damp places, but the majority of them need drainage. If this is the case, in damp spots, it is well to dig a trench or a wide drain, as we illustrate, using the excavated ma- terial to form a ridge upon which the planting may be done.

This same method also may be well used on a steep hillside to act as a waterbreak to prevent washing away of the soil about the plant roots and also to hold some of the water for deep penetration. Be sure to plant deep enough.

In most instances a single row of plants will be sufficient, but where a very heavy screen is desired it may be necessary to use a double row. In this case, the plants should be staggered in two straight lines a suitable distance apart according to the material used. In all cases, a line should be used to get a straight row.

Most types of privet and many kinds of flowering shrubbery are propagated from cuttings. In the early summer this may be done from softwood cuttings by merely setting them in a saucer depression, where the ground has been well worked up and mixed with sand to insure thorough drainage.

The depression enables easy watering as the soil must be kept moist (but not wet) at all times. The cuttings are taken from the plant about 8 inches long and containing three or more joints or nodes with a node at the top of each. Insert them into the soil, heavy end down, two inches deep. Seed stores offer newly discovered preparations which will cause them to root faster and more freely.

As several months are required to establish this root growth before cold weather, the cuttings must be placed in boxes if taken late in the summer so that a glass frame can be used to cover them on cold nights to prolong the season well into freezing weather. After this the plants can be protected by covering with leaves.

Hardwood cuttings may be taken in the same manner after the plants become dormant. The wood should be one year old, firm and strong, and should have two or more nodes. They are then packed in peat moss and kept in a temperature of fortyfive degrees, where they will form a callus on the end, which when planted outdoors in the spring will develop husky new plants.

It must be remembered that raising plants from cuttings is a long process, and that it may take several years for them to develop into plants ready for use.

If an immediate effect is desired it is much better to purchase two or three year old stock from a reliable nursery. In addition to improved appearance this will minimize the necessity for replacement.
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