Shrubs And Hedges

What you need to maintain your hedges

While home landscaping can incorporate beautiful artificial elements like rock gardens or fountains, adding some green brings a natural rhythm and order to your yard. And green isn't just for those do-it-yourself landscapers who have every weekend to care for the yard, or those who live in ideal planting and growing locations.

Shrubs and Bushes

Shrubs and bushes are essentially the same type of plant; both are shorter than trees and have broad leaves and dense foliage.

The large variety of shrubs appropriate for residential use, which total more than 400, allows you to choose shrubs or bushes that can anchor your landscape by providing borders, background and balance.

You'll have no problem finding foliage that's an appropriate size and color and works within the climate and environment in which you live.

Shrubs and bushes range from 2 to 25 feet tall. Colors vary, especially when you consider the variety of flowering shrubs you might use to augment your landscape. Also, there are certain flowering shrubs and bushes that thrive in very wet, very dry or exceptionally windy conditions.

Hedges

Hedges are specifically designed to serve as a barrier or to create a natural wall, giving you privacy in your yard without forcing you to resort to fencing.

A correctly laid hedge is a natural boundary for animals; it keeps your pets in your yard, where they belong, and inhibits wild and feral animals from gaining access to your yard. These shrubs can also protect against soil erosion.

Evergreen shrubs are commonly used to line entry ways or driveways. They make excellent hedges because they're easy to groom and maintain. Your shrub hedges can be even more attractive if you pick a flowering plant, like mountain laurel shrubs.

Plants commonly used for a hedge fence include hawthorn, beech, yew, hemlock, holly, oleander and lavender, though there are almost 100 commonly available shrubs that can be used as hedges.

Keeping Green Looking Good

Bushes and shrubs are considered easy to take care of, but they require regular maintenance, primarily through pruning, to continue looking attractive and healthy.

Hedge trimming involves using tools like two-handed hedge shears or motorized tools with long, serrated blades, usually called hedge trimmers, to prune the plant. In your hedge's first year, you may need to occasionally cut away at the width, thickness or height of the hedge to prevent outgrowth. After that, your maintenance methods will change – primarily, you'll want to thin out the top of your hedge to make sure the lower branches are getting sufficient sunlight.

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