The hedge trees

The hedge: what it consists of, its many functions

The hedge is a green, compact wall, obtained by planting trees very close to each other, usually in rows, and pruning them regularly, so that they can perform a particular function. It is a structure that does not exist in nature, but depends exclusively on man’s active but also passive behaviors. It can be formed by deforestation, when human intervention consists in progressively reducing the plants present in a territory. For the prolonged absence of human activity in a limited space of land, as often happens behind highway fences, where both the wind and the birds determine the birth of new plants. Most of the time, however, a hedge is created for a conscious choice of man, with specific trees and plants. The hedge can perform several functions,

Generally a hedge is formed with trees of the same species, in order to have a uniform and orderly result, other times it is preferred to alternate more species and varieties of the same genus to obtain a more decorative effect. The suitable species is chosen based on the function you want to give to the hedge. For a defensive hedge, which must guarantee constant protection, evergreen shrub species are suitable, easy to grow and with few needs, such as conifers, very dense and dense, such as cypress, thuja, yew. Particularly suitable are also the intricate and thorny shrub species, such as pyracantha and cotoneaster, which are also very decorative. For a traditional ornamental hedge, evergreen trees that do not suffer from pruning, such as boxwood; any kind of ornamental plant is good for informal gardens, depends on personal tastes, flowering plants are suitable, and a sure effect can be achieved with a hedge made up of species with different flowering periods. Then there are broad-leaved hedges, large and therefore suitable for large properties, such as chestnut, ash, elm, poplar, beech.

The general rules for creating beautiful hedges

After choosing which plants to form the hedge with, it is advisable to work the soil before planting. We proceed by digging a beautiful hole for each tree, 40 cm wide and 50 cm deep, adding fertile universal soil, peat and fertilizer to the bottom to make it fertile and well drained. Once the trees have been planted, sprinkle some organic matter on the surface and irrigate abundantly. The trees should be planted all together in early autumn or early spring. They can be placed in a single straight row or on several parallel bands, depending on the function they will perform. The distance between the specimens varies depending on the species chosen, for the Leyland cypress it is about 1 meter, 80 cm for pyracantha, cherry laurel, laurel, viburnum and yew. Remember to respect the distances that the hedge must keep from the border and that, if there are no local regulations, they are regulated by the civil code; the maximum distance is 3 meters and is foreseen for tall trees, such as cypresses and poplars.

Hedge trees: How to keep a well-formed and healthy hedge

The most important and demanding intervention in the care of hedge trees is undoubtedly pruning. For the first 2 years the hedges must be pruned with caution, just to give harmony to the shape, later the pruning will have to be more decisive to contain their development, air the internal parts, eliminate dry or diseased branches. For some species it will be necessary to do it even twice a year, as for the Leyland cypress or the pyracantha. The linear and geometric hedge is pruned at the end of winter, but it must be checked and finished often throughout the growing season, usually from March to November. Flowering trees are pruned after flowering. It is a good idea to mulch the soil at the base of the plants to avoid the growth of weeds and to keep it cool and slightly humid during the summer. At the end of winter it is advisable to proceed with fertilization. Hedge trees do not require assiduous care, they are quite self-sufficient, it is enough to ensure them a well-drained and fertile soil.

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