Low maintenance hedges – There are certain occasions where a fast-growing plant is required for hedging to quickly cover or camouflage an area and others where slow growing plants are a must for low border hedges but generally speaking plants with a steady medium growth of around 30cm per year are preferable for the average gardener to keep trimmed well – low maintenance hedges.
As an informal hedge Deutzia Scabra is a very pretty summer flowering shrub, easy to grow and maintain, whereas at the other end of the spectrum for prickly hedging to deter intruders there is Berberis hedging (both Green and Purple) and Blackthorn with its early spring flowers and later the sloe berries. For evergreen low maintenance hedges, the larger leaved Laurels, Cherry or Common Laurel and Caucasica Laurels are perfect for giving good dense cover, of all the Laurels however the Etna Hedging Laurels and Compact Laurels are the easiest to maintain.
The traditional Leylandii conifer hedge is of course way to vigorous to be regarded as a low maintenance hedge. There are however several excellent alternatives including the king of hedges – English Yew hedging plants. Also the beautiful Thuja Smarage hedge makes an excellent slower growing conifer hedge. Thuja plicata ‘Atrovirens’ is also a slower growing alternative to Leylandii that can be clipped just once a year. All of these conifers will regenerate if cut back hard into the old and unpromising brown wood, as useful trait if the hedge does become overgrown.
Sometimes only the fastest growing hedge will do, but in many other situations it can make a lot of sense to choose a hedge with more moderate growth. This can save a lot of trimming later on - and you will have a much smaller volume of clippings to dispose of!
Morris Hankinson BSc (Hort)
Founder and Managing Director
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