Spending time in the backyard during the summer has become a pastime. Being able to fire up the grill, spend quality time with friends and family, and enjoy the warmth is what makes spending time in the backyard so great.
There are also some of us who enjoy our privacy. While a fence is probably the most obvious way to achieve this, it is also not the most feasible. Fences can be difficult to install with no experience and can be quite costly to have professionally installed.
So, what options are there for a little bit of privacy when installing a fence is simply not an option? Thankfully, installing fast-growing hedges is a possibility.
Why Fast-Growing Hedges?
As mentioned, achieving a little bit of privacy for your yard can be achieved through a fence or a fast-growing hedge if spending that kind of money is simply not feasible.
After all, fast-growing hedges not only provide privacy, they can offer a bit of peace and quiet, hide eyesores such as air conditioning units or sheds, and provide a little bit of shade.
In the hot summer months, that last bit can be particularly valuable. Being able to make your yard a little cooler can make it even more comfortable to hang out in. That makes it an even better destination for friends and family to spend time in.
The great thing about fast-growing hedges is that there are a ton of varieties available and they are capable of growing anywhere from one to four feet per year, depending on the conditions of your yard and the climate in your area.
Even better, these kinds of hedges are perfect for hedging. This means being able to prune them fairly easily so that they can be kept right and at any height that you desire.
How to Encourage Fast Growth
There are certainly different varieties of hedges that grow faster than others, but the biggest factor in growth rate is the environment in which the hedges grow. Just like any other type of plant or shrub, it won’t grow with negative environmental factors.
That means that they need proper water, should not be exposed to extreme temperatures, or get too much sun or shade. While they may grow, they likely will not grow at the rates that you expect them to.
For getting a tall hedge as fast as possible, there are five factors to keep in mind.
Choosing the Right Space
One of the biggest factors in getting the best growth out of your hedges is to choose the right spot. Pick a bad spot and the hedge won’t thrive.
It also depends on the type of hedge that you choose. If you have plants that are full sun plants, they need to be planted in a place where they will get consistent sun exposure.
Plants that are considered to be water-loving can’t be planted in areas where droughts are possible. Be cognizant of plants that might be damaged by frost and cold winter weather.
Whatever the case, make certain that you do a little bit of research on the plant that you choose and what conditions will suit it best. The best plants for growth are ones that have a tolerance to both sun and shade.
Planting at the Right Time
Another factor to keep in mind is when to plant your hedges. It might not be the best idea to begin planting in the middle of July, when temperatures are at their highest. The best time to plant tends to be in the fall; this is after the hedges have been dormant.
If you live in an area where the ground doesn’t freeze, planting through the winter is a possibility. Spring, like fall, tends to be a very good time to plant your hedges as well.
Picking the right time saves you a bit of worry and work. Not only that, it saves the plants stress, which can hinder their ability to grow in the long run.
Watering Your Hedges
One of the cool things about having a hedge in your yard is that, after the first few years, where it has had a chance to root itself deep into the soil, it won’t need much in the way of water. But in those first one or two growing seasons, water is of the utmost importance.
Making certain that your hedges get ample water during the first couple of growing seasons after planting can really set the tone for the kind of growth that you can expect out of your hedges.
The best way to ensure that it gets the right amount of water is to lay a drip line along the length of the hedge and run it for an hour at a time every couple of days.
This allows for deeper watering, giving the hedges the proper amount of water that they need to grow through the first couple of seasons. Without the right amount of water, the growth could wind up being stunted and you may need to begin all over again.
Fertilizing Your Hedges
Again, once the hedges reach their optimal growth, they become very low maintenance, requiring little in the way of water and anything other than pruning. But to achieve that optimal growth, it depends on the type of fertilizer that is implemented.
For the best results, try using a high-nitrogen, slow-release fertilizer. Like finding the best time of year to plant, it is also imperative to choose the right time to fertilize. Applying it in the spring tends to be the best time, right before the hedge’s growth period begins.
When you get the right amount of water and fertilizer into the mix, you can set your hedges up to grow optimally right out of the gate, preparing them for a long, healthy life.
There Are Right Times to Prune
It is important to note that pruning can’t be done at just any time. Spring tends to be the best time to do a little bit of pruning.
This is because pruning can actually be a way to stimulate new growth and it also ensures that there are no tender new shoots that will be frozen if they start to emerge closer to winter.
It might seem to be kind of counterintuitive to do pruning in the early years – after all, we want fast growth – but it can actually help to create thicker, more dense hedges.
Like watering, fertilizer, location, and planting time, all of these factors contribute to create the perfect fast-growing hedges that you have been looking for.
The Best Kinds of Fast-Growing Hedges
Now that we know the factors that go into creating the perfect amount of growth for our hedges, it is time to find out what kind of hedges that work the best.
The different types of hedges provided here depend on your location and preference, but have a generally good track record when it comes to growing in most climates across the United States.
1 – English Laurel
Also known as the Cherry Laurel, this type of fast-growing hedge grows throughout the United States. The only portions of the country where it doesn’t do well are in the colder, northernmost territories.
Best of all, the English Laurel can produce a truly enormous hedge. Under the right conditions, it has the potential to grow up to three feet per year and tends to do the best in heat.
With a glossy evergreen foliage, it makes for one of the more attractive hedges out there and requires regular pruning; around one or two times each year.
While it does well in the heat, it can grow in partial shade as well as in full sun. It has a versatility when it comes to the type of soil that it accepts and tends to be quite tolerant to droughts once it has established its roots.
With a tolerance to smog and salt (as well as the fact that it is ignored by deer) makes it a tough and versatile fast-growing hedge. When it comes to filling privacy needs, going with the English Laurel is one of the best options there is.
2 – Flame Amur Maple
One of the leafier of the fast-growing hedges, it also has wonderful colors come the fall. If you want hedges that produce vibrant oranges, yellows, and fiery reds, the Flame Amur Maple is the hedge for you.
Even better, it can stand up to the cold much better than some of the other hedges, making it more common across nearly the entirety of the United States, and safe for the hottest parts of the country. With a multi-stemmed natural habit, it can easily be grown as a hedge and is maintained with just one pruning each year.
Like most other hedges, it is tolerant to droughts once the roots have established themselves. This is also a quite versatile hedge as it is able to grow in part shade or full sun.
Providing ample shade throughout the summer, this is one of the few hedges that will still allow light through the winter to make things feel brighter even when it gets darker earlier.
3 – Schip Laurel
Also known as a Skip Laurel, these are one of the more popular fast-growing hedges in the United States. They have a great versatility in that they can grow across most of the United States.
The only areas they do not do well in are the coldest areas of the country since they struggle in some of the cold-hardy areas.
One of the biggest advantages offered by this type of hedge is that they tolerate full sun to full shade. That means that nearly anywhere you plant them, they are able to hold up to the amount of sun they get.
With the ability to grow in many different types of soil, this is one of the most versatile hedges there is. It also is not bothered by salt or smog and can be quite resistant to drought once the roots become established.
4 – American Arborvitae
This is one of the more popular plants in the United States for fast-growing evergreen hedges. Because it is extremely cold-hardy, that makes them the hedge of choice for the northern portion of the United States.
Though it does grow rather quickly, it is fairly easy to maintain as a clipped hedge. All it takes is one pruning each year to do the job. Even better, it is very low maintenance to care for and tolerant to drought after the roots have established themselves.
Unlike some of the other hedges on the list, deer can be an issue. Be aware of that if you live in an area where deer are seen on a regular basis. There are measures that can be taken to thwart those deer, but it can be a pain.
Still, this is as versatile a hedge as there is and it can grow in just about any climate, creating an easily-maintained privacy hedge for your property.
5 – Virescens Western Red Cedar
This is more common in the warmer regions of the United States, though it is capable of growing in some of the cold areas as well. It is especially common in the warmer regions where something such as an Arborvitae may not be able to thrive.
What makes this type of fast-growing hedge unique as opposed to the others is its upright branching habit. This unique branching makes it more responsive to hedging and makes for a great way to provide privacy or hide fencing.
With very little maintenance required, it only takes a single pruning each year to maintain a nice-looking hedge. Even better, it grows very tall and narrow, making for one of the better privacy options for hedges out there.
Finding the right hedge means being able to provide it with proper care early on and a nice trimming once or twice per year. But they can provide ample privacy and shade when you need it.
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