Nov 10

How to get a healthy hedge

How to get a healthy hedge

So you want to screen out your neighbours, cut out the traffic noise or enclose an outdoor area.

You could build fence 2 metre high, but how sterile is that? You are much better to plant a hedge or screen of native or exotic plants to filter and cool the air, produce flowers, attract birds and create a lovely outdoor room.

Why plant a hedge?

Firstly hedges are cheaper and far more vandal proof than standard fences. Hedges are planted for a number of reasons; the most common is for privacy. A good hedge can also be used with in the garden to create the illusion of different spaces or rooms in your outdoor areas. Remember not all hedges have to be 2m high it is very easy to use smaller, lower hedges to edge paths and garden beds.  Or have a taller hedge to block out building or eyesore.

Hedges add another living element to your garden and home; they are a thing of beauty. The act of trimming plants to formally create a hedge is a very ancient gardening practice. A good hedge adds value and character to your property, and best of all hedges are not that hard to grow.

Maintaining a healthy hedge:

As they are planted so densely hedge plants compete with each other for food and water, applying a slow release fertiliser and a good thick layer of mulch at the base of the plants after pruning will keep your hedges looking good all year round.


To keep your hedge looking dense and full it requires a little work, but there are not too many things more satisfying than having a great looking hedge on your property. These jobs include regular feeding; we recommend Osmocote® Plus Trace Elements & Plus Organics Fertilisers planting food. And regular trimming, the amount of trimming required depends on the species you have selected generally once to twice a year will be fine.



Slightly taper the hedge line to allow even growth and let light into the lower hedge

Formal hedges

A formal hedge is one that is clipped regularly.

Choose a dense, fine-leaved plant, such as Lilly Pilly.

Trim regularly to a square, or preferably to a wedge shape with the base wider than the top. This allows maximum light to reach the base and looks more solid. 

Try to keep the top no wider than about 60cm, so you can cut it easily from one side.

When using a hedge trimmer, start at the bottom of each side and work upwards in smooth, continuous swathes. Cut the top last.

Informal hedges

Choose a large-leaved deciduous plant, such as Syzygium australe (Bush Christmas lilly pilly)or Lilly Pilly (Syzygium jambos) which have flowers and berries, too. 

Cut back hard occasionally if you like the berries or give them an annual trim after flowering for a more regular shape.

Check first that birds aren’t nesting – it is illegal to disturb nesting birds; wait until the chicks have flown.

Renovating hedges

All hedge plants – except pines and cypress – respond well to drastic pruning.

Decide on the height or width you want and use canes and string to mark it out. 

Cut back up to 30cm further than this to allow for new growth. 

To retain a physical barrier, cut back one side of the hedge one year and the other side the next. 

Use loppers or a pruning saw on older hedges.

Once you’ve cut it back to the required size, trim regularly with a hedge trimmer.

How to plan and prune your Hedge:



  1. Begin by trimming out all dead or diseased branches, cutting off as close to the main stem of the shrub as possible. This will encourage new growth from the base and middle of the shrub, and allow light in to the inner branches.
  2. Position your stakes or poles at either end of the section of hedge to be trimmed. Set up your guide line at the desired finished height of the hedge. This makes it a lot easier to create a neat and straight edge when pruning a hedge.
  3. Starting along the top, begin shaping your hedge. Prune the top along the guide line at the planned height. Work your way along gradually creating a neat flat top all the way along your hedge. You may need a ladder for this if your hedge is very tall.
  4. Trim off all stray and overgrown branches, cutting as close to the main stem as you can. Trim back all new growth by tip pruning to encourage branching. At this point you should keep in mind your desired shape and height and work to these. Once you have done the top you can begin to work your way down the sides in sections, pruning to the desired shape, you can prune your edges either straight or slightly rounded.
  5. You can gradually move your guideline down the stakes as you prune down the sides of the hedge. This can be especially helpful for tall hedges that may be more difficult to judge by eye, and will help you to keep to the desired width all along the hedge, creating a border to help you prune your hedge to a neat symmetrical shape.
  6. When you’re done; gather up the hedge trimmings left on top of and around the hedge, making sure to brush all trimmings of f the top of the hedge. You can use a straw broom or a small hand brush or rake to remove all trimmings from the hedge. These can then be added to a compost pile or thrown away, don’t leave them on and around your hedge as they will encourage pests and diseases.
  7. Feed and Mulch your hedge plants after you have pruned them to encourage healthy and vigorous new growth.




Now is your chance to prepare the hedges for the upcoming season. Call Evergreen Tree Care today for a free Quote on hedging your hedge. We specialise in large and wide hedgers. We can also help with pests and diseases trees. We can mulch, apply slow-release fertiliser and soil injection for better plant health.


So call Henk from Evergreen Tree Care today:

Mobile: 0432 920 715

Email: evergreentreecare@hotmail.com

Web: http://www.evergreentreecare.com.au



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