By Jennifer Poindexter
When growing a hedge, many times it’s for added privacy. However, it can be difficult to have the privacy you desire when your hedges are leggy.
Have you ever wondered how you can grow a thicker hedge? There are a few tricks that seasoned gardeners use to make their hedges appear plush.
If you’d be interested in gaining some knowledge in this area, you’re in the right spot. I’m going to walk you through a few tips and tricks that you can try to make your hedges grow thicker.
Here’s how you can encourage your hedges to become thicker and create the look (and privacy) you desire:
1. Plant Your Hedges at the Appropriate Time
If you’d like to have thicker hedges, they must be healthy. To grow healthy hedges it starts by providing appropriate growing conditions and planting them at the right time.
In most cases, hedges should be planted from fall through the early portion of spring. By planting them during this time, typically the plants are dormant.
Therefore, you don’t have to worry about new growth forming later in the season and frost weakening your plant.
However, you can plant hedges during other portions of the year, but it’s vital that the plants are cared for properly.
Be sure to water hedges regularly the first year they’re planted to keep the roots damp and encourage them to become established.
By planting your hedges at the right time, you’re starting them off on the right foot. This should encourage them to grow and become full over time.
2. Provide Adequate Care to Your Hedges
The next step in creating a thicker hedge is to provide appropriate care. What do hedges need from you? In most cases, they need water and fertilizer.
Over time, hedges will need less care. Yet, in the beginning, these plants will need consistent nutrients and moisture.
Hedges should be watered regularly and deeply their first two years after planting. By watering the plants deeply, you’re ensuring that they don’t become oversaturated, and you’re encouraging a stronger root system.
Hedges should be fertilized each spring to provide a boost of nutrients to the plant as it prepares for new growth.
Give your hedges what they need to ensure they remain healthy and become full as they mature.
3. Prepare the Soil for Your Hedges
Some hedges aren’t particular about the type of soil they grow in. However, if you want your plants to have every reason to thrive, take the time to invest in their soil.
How should you go about amping up the soil for your hedges? There are a few simple ways. The first thing you should do is remove any weeds or grass from the area you’re planting in.
This will ensure the hedges don’t have to compete with anything in their growing location. The next step is to till the soil and add approximately three inches of compost.
Once the soil is ready, dig a hole deep enough to support the hedge root ball, but don’t plant the hedge too deep.
Instead, make sure the top of the root ball is at soil level. After the hedge is planted, be sure to water the plant deeply and surround it with a layer of mulch.
This will not only help retain moisture, but it will also help with weed suppression. Growing conditions make all the difference in the health of a plant, and the healthier the plant, the lusher it becomes.
4. Provide Proper Spacing to Your Hedges
When you plant something do you become overly concerned about ensuring it has enough room to spread its roots?
This is prudent gardening, but there are also times when you should consider planting a little closer. When planting hedges, it’s a good idea to keep average sized shrubs spaced by about three feet.
If you’re growing smaller hedges, they should be about two feet apart. Only extremely large hedges will need more space than this mentioned here.
Why does this matter if you’d like thick hedges? Thick hedges, many times, equate to planting closer together. As the plants grow closer together, they look fuller and provide the aesthetic and privacy you desire.
5. Prune Your Hedges Properly
Pruning hedges is an important aspect of ensuring they become thicker. If you prune a hedge wrong, it will become leggy.
You should prune hedges with the mentality of pruning for shape, removing any diseased areas, or removing any branches that are leggy. If there are branches growing the wrong way, they should be trimmed away, too.
By removing these certain things, it should encourage better health in your plant, encourage more growth, and also discourage pests or diseases from spreading any further around the plant.
To ensure your plants remain healthy during pruning, try to only prune during late winter or early spring while the hedges are still dormant.
However, if you have odd branches sticking out all over the plant or a pest or disease issue, be sure to remove any necessary pieces as soon as possible to keep your hedge healthy and thriving.
6. Give Established Hedges a Specific Trim
Do you have established hedges, but they aren’t thick? If your hedges appear leggy, and they’ve been growing for a while, they may need a specific type of trim.
Try pruning the hedges into a triangular shape when you’re pruning during the dormant phase. By leaving the bottom bushy and the top narrower, it encourages even growth.
The more evenly your hedge grows, the thicker it will appear and become. Don’t give up on your older shrubs that appear leggy. Give them a new type of prune and see if they bounce back.
7. Use the Right Tools to Trim Your Hedges
Did you know if you don’t use the appropriate tools when pruning it could do more harm to your hedges than good?
By using the right tools, you’re ensuring you remove the pieces of your hedge by slicing through it. With the wrong tools, you’ll tear the hedge.
This only invites odd cuts, damage, and this can lead to a pest infestation or disease. When these problems arise, you have an unhealthy hedge which will shrivel instead of becoming thicker. Take this into consideration when pruning your shrubs.
8. Fill in the Gaps Around Your Hedges
Our final option for creating a thicker hedge is to fill the gaps. Sometimes, you don’t learn things until after the fact.
Let’s pretend for a moment that you’ve already planted your hedges. Maybe you planted them too far apart to create the privacy screen you desire. Maybe you planted different varieties of shrubs that don’t quite fit together.
Therefore, you’re left with large gaps in your hedges which makes things look thinner instead of full. In this case, prepare the soil in front of your hedges.
After you’ve removed all the grass, weeds, tilled the soil, and applied compost, you’re ready to fill the area.
You can select smaller shrubs that prefer a shaded growing location. By planting shorter shrubs between your hedges, it can thicken up the area which leads to a fuller look and can help with providing privacy.
Now you know a few ways you can encourage your hedges to grow thicker. Even if you’ve already planted your shrubs, these tips should help thicken existing hedges or fill empty gaps in the growing location.
Hopefully, this information will help you as you create the landscape you desire for your home. Pick the tips which most apply to your growing location and apply them to thicken your hedges.