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Old Skills Make a Really Thick Hedge

Hedges can be just privacy screens.  But they often have big gaps.  Trained properly, they can be thick; thick enough to be more than a visual barrier.  In old days (and in other countries today), hedges are living fences so they must be impenetrable thickets.

Even though we’re not trying to keep the cows in anymore, we still want thick hedges.  But hedges often have holes. I hear lots of people say, “Can we get another one of those plants to squeeze in where that gap is?”

To thicken this hedge up, I'd just pull some branches from different plants down and zip tie them together.   That stimulates vertical growth in the now empty spaces.

To thicken this hedge up, I’d just pull some branches from different plants down and zip tie them together. That stimulates vertical growth in the now empty spaces.

The picture to the right shows the common problem.  The easy solution is to bend some branches, to weave the plants together.

The pictures below are before and after of the same space.   We planted 3 gallon, 3′ tall shrubs, bent branches together, and zip tied them.  That was the first summer after we renovated Seibel’s Garden of Historic Columbia Foundation.  After that, the hedge was on its own.  It’s 8 years old now and is a thick barrier, physically and visually.

Here’s a link to Felder Rushing’s article and pictures of traditional style hedge row planting and pruning.  Felder’s hedge link.

Podocarpus hedge before planting. 2007.

Podocarpus hedge before planting. 2007.

Hedge after 6 years of growth.

Hedge after 6 years of growth.

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