Hedges and Edges FAQ

Why plant a hedge?

- Noise reduction
- Shelter
- Screening - Privacy
- Establish a boundary
- Add structure
- Add beauty
- Cheaper than a fence

What are the best plants for hedging?

Just about any upright shrub, tree or rose can be used for hedging. The best plant is the one that is most suitable for your site, size requirement and soil type. Consider how much maintenance you are prepared to do to keep your hedge looking good. Hedging plants can be deciduous or evergreen, tall or small. Not sure what to plant - take a walk around your neighbourhood and check out which hedges are growing well. For those of you who live in the North Island, Hamilton Gardens and the Auckland Botanical Gardens have fine examples of different types of hedging.

What's the difference between deciduous and evergreen hedges?

Deciduous hedges loose all their leaves in winter though a Beech (Fagus) hedge will hold on to its brown autumn foliage well into winter. Deciduous hedges are naturally more open and will act as a wind filter rather than a wind break especially when bare. Deciduous hedges don't have to be pruned/trimmed so often and are more forgiving of less than perfect trimming. Evergreen hedges look good all year round and provide a permanent looking screen/shelter/structure.

When is the best time to plant a new hedge?

The very best time is autumn when the soil is still warm and has started to regain moisture.Autumn planting means you won't have to worry too much about watering your new hedge through the winter and following spring. Planting can be done anytime from autumn right up to early spring but keep in mind the later you plant the more you will have to care for your new hedge through the hot summer months.

What preparation do I need to do to?

- If you want to ensure your hedge is straight then it is a good idea to put up a string line. Once the line is agreed upon (and there is often vigorous debate) then you can use luminous spray-paint to mark the line/s.

- Manually get rid of the weeds by scraping off the turf with a sharp spade or if you prefer spray with a gentle herbicide - do not use anything with residual hormones in it as this will remain in the ground and you won't be able to plant for several months.

- Prepare the ground by digging over to at least a spade's depth.

- Add a layer of compost and work this into the soil.

- You are now ready to plant. Either spray-paint the ground to mark out the required spacing or make yourself a measuring stick to use between each plant.

- Incorporate a small amount of slow release fertilizer into each planting hole.

- If the soil is dry at the time of planting water well upon completion.

How far apart should I space my plants plants?

As a general rule the space between plants is usually half that of the required finished height.

- Small - up to 50cm finished height - space at 25cm apart

- Medium - 1-1.5m finished height - space at 50-75cm apart

- Large - 2m finished height - space at 1m apart

How do I maintain my hedge once it is has started to grow?

- Ensure your new hedge is well watered during any dry spells especially for the next 2 years.

- A nice layer of mulch will assist in keeping moisture in and weeds out. Do not place the mulch against the stem of the plant just around the drip line.

- We recommend that your hedge is fed every year with a slow release, well balanced fertilizer. This is because there are a lot of plant roots competing for nutrition in a relatively confined space.

- Formal evergreen hedges are usually trimmed twice a year - once in spring after the first flush of new growth and once again in late summer early autumn.

- Deciduous hedges are usually pruned once a year in winter though this not a hard and fast rule. Here at Wairere we trim our Carpinus (Hornbeam) hedge at the end of spring and autumn to ensure it is always looking smart.

Suggested Plants for Low Hedges
Abelia, Buxus, Choisya, Coprosma, Escallonia, Euonymus Hebe, Ilex, Lavender, Lonicera, Roses, Teucrium.

Suggested Plants for Medium Hedges
Ornamental Berberis, Camellia, Corokia, Griselinia, Feijoa, Ilex, Ligustrum, Photinia, Shrub Roses.

Suggested Plants for Tall Hedges
Fagus, Carpinus, Cupressus, Pittosporum.

Wairere Top Tip 1
Smaller hedge plants will be quicker to establish than larger ones
and will not suffer as much from weather extremes.

Wairere Top Tip 2
Hedges are favourite places for birds to build their nests,
try and time your pruning to avoid mass
evacuation and/or execution.

Wairere Top Tip 3
Think carefully about your required finished height
and don't plant tall if you only want small


Wairere Nursery
826 Gordonton Road, R D 1, Hamilton Ph: (07) 824 3430 Email:     Open 7 days 8:30am-5pm