When you hear the word “hedge,” do you picture a thick, opaque, lush evergreen wall? Me, too. Unfortunately, the hedges I’ve seen lately are more transparent than opaque – more leggy than lush. One hedge I saw recently looked like a row of lollipops—stick on the bottom, full on the top. I’m sure you’ve seen them. And, the saddest thing is that these leggy, transparent hedges are totally preventable. All they need is some proper trimming.
I’m always using tricks and tips to help me remember things, and the one I use for hedge trimming is a “Do/Don’t” tip. AV. A comes before V. Do comes before Don’t. When trimming your hedges, do think the letter A and don’t think the letter V. Trimming the hedge more like an A than a V lets more light get to the whole hedge—giving you the lush, opaque hedge of your dreams. Trimming in the shape of a V allows light to get to the topmost growth, but the V shades the bottom of the hedge, and in no time, you get the leggy lollipop look. Note: The illustration is from “The Book of Outdoor Gardening” by Workman Publishing.
A hedge that has reached lollipop status may never recover its once lush self. But, a hedge that’s lacy could rebound. If you want to see fantastic examples of lush hedges, make a trip to the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. There’s not a leggy one in the bunch. It’s worth the drive to check them out!