of a Hedge:

A row of shrubs or trees planted closely enough to form a fence or boundary. In most landscaping applications this shrub spacing works out to an average of 3 to 4 feet apart on center.

For many people, the thought of a hedge reminds them of the neatly trimmed boxwood hedges forming the maze at historic Williamsburg, Virginia, or the privet hedge in the backyard of their youth. Fact of the matter is, a hedge can be comprised of just about any type of tree or shrub, but certain varieties of plants do seem to dominate the selection list. Some woody plants make better candidates for shearing, and some varieties, like privet, tend to be less expensive than say, boxwood.

The primary factors to consider
when planting a hedge:

  • What (eventual) height and width would you like the hedge to be?

  • Is the planting area sunny or shady?

  • Do you have space limitations?

  • Is deer-browsing going to be a problem?

  • Will the hedge grow naturally or be sheared to shape?

  • What tools and capabilities (or limitations) do you have for trimming the hedge?

  • Should the hedge be evergreen for year-round cover, or would a deciduous hedge be alright?

  • Will you mulch the area beneath the hedge, and if so, with what sort of mulch?

Photos of Hedges

Boxwood hedge along a front porch

More hedge and shrub photos

BOBscaping "how to" video



Bridal Wreath Spirea
Bridal wreath spirea is an
old-fashioned favorite for hedging



  • Rule #1 - Shape the hedge so sunlight can reach the lower branches. Keep the sides wider at the bottom, or at the very least, keep the sides 'straight up and down.' Bottom line: Don't let the top get wider than the base.

  • Rule #2 - If the hedge is a flowering variety, trim it within one month of when it finishes blooming. This allows time for the hedge to form new blossoms for the next flower show.

  • Rule #3 - Mulch the base of the hedge to ease mowing and prevent weedeaters from damaging the bark on the trunks.

  • Rule #4 - Remove weeds, vines and other plants that attempt to grow up inside the hedge. Maple trees and vines can be tough competitors!

  • Rule #5 - Be careful working from ladders. Consider keeping the hedge at a height you can trim while standing on the ground.

  • Rule #6 - If you have trouble cutting the hedge straight 'by eye' consider stretching a string line as a guide. Most home centers and hardware stores sell mason's line that can be stretched taut. Place the line where it won't get in the way or cut by your trimmers.

  More shrub pages

Fertilizing Shrubs

Planting Shrubs

Trimming Bushes

When to Prune Shrubs



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