Hedges for the garden
Dig the chosen hedge site well, incorporating adequate quantities of humus-making material, such as gardenor rotted manure.
The best hedges are made from shrubs 60-90 cm (2-3’) tall. Most hedging plants should be planted 30-60 cm (1-2’) apart during the winter. Remove any damaged and exceptionally long roots and plant the shrubs to the depth of their originalmark on their main stem. Make sure the roots are well-spread out. Tread in firmly and keep well-watered.
Evergreens should be left untrimmed after planting, except to tidy any very straggling shoots; deciduous shrubs, if planted in autumn, can be cut back by a third the following spring, but if planted in late winter or early spring should be left untrimmed until the following winter. Do the same in the second winter, then cut the sides hard and the leading shoots lightly until the height required is reached. Then cut the leaders hard. Trim the evergreens in autumn, and the rest in mid to late summer.
Water and mulch in early summer, particularly the first year and while the evergreens are establishing. Every spring, cut through any invasive roots on the kitchen garden side with a sharp spade.
Contrary to what might be expected,- a solid fence or wall is not particularly satisfactory as a windbreak. This is because when high winds hit it, they are driven upwards, only to come down very violently further on and create an area of intense turbulence for some distance in front of the wall.
Research has now shown that the most effective windbreak is one that allows a little under 50”,, of the moving air to pass through. Such a screen will provide considerable protection for a distance often ten times its height. These windbreaks can be either artificial or living.
It is possible to buy (or make) an efficient screen, which is composed of 2.5 cm (1”) x 9 mm slats, nailed to three cross-members, with a space of 2.5 cm (1”) between them. These come in 1.5 m (5’) and 3 m (10’) long panels and heights of 60 cm (2’), 1 m (3’) and 1.2 m (4’), which can be superimposed one upon the other to give any desired height. Branches of gorse or pine tied thickly to a frame supported by strong posts are equally effective.
There are also a number of wind-resistant trees and shrubs that can be chosen to form hedges of different heights according to the area that needs protection. Two especially good ones for the coastal garden are the large evergreen Griselinia litioralis, 2.4 m (8’) tall, best in the south and west of Britain, and deciduous tamarisk Tamarix gallica, about the same height, both of which make excellent filters for salt-spray.