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Hedging your bets

WE want to put a hedge in our front yard. It will be by an existing vertical iron rail fence and its primary purpose is privacy. Any recommendations and advice on the time it will take to grow?


THERE are several native shrubs that make excellent hedges, including tanguru (Olearia albida), Chatham Island akeake (O. traversii), Griselinia littoralis, corokias like 'Geenty's Green', the many attractive Pittosporum tenuifolium varieties and totara (Podocarpus totara). These are all relatively slow-growing, so they don't need trimming too often. They're also tolerant of relatively poor soils and seldom suffer any pests or disease.

Other non-native varieties you could consider are Photinia 'Red Robin' or the new 'Superhedge', both of which have bright red new growth in spring and summer. There's Abelia grandiflora, which has glossy bronze foliage and pale pink flowers, or for winter flowers there's Camellia sasanqua (pictured).

How long any of these take to grow will depend on your conditions, but of the plants I've mentioned abelia and 'Superhedge' are the fastest and totara the slowest. With the others, allow at least five years to reach fence height (1.8m).

Start trimming almost immediately after planting to encourage bushiness. The secret of a good-looking hedge is to trim often, only taking a small amount off each time. And while the hedge is young, feed with a general fertiliser in spring and autumn and water in dry periods to encourage growth.

Weekend Gardener, Issue 165, 2005, Page 24

Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.

Andrew Maloy Weekend Gardener

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Last updated: October 25, 2005