How To Prune Forsythia Hedge?
For some time now I have been working with a few clients to get them started planting Forsythia hedges. One of my first tasks was to provide advice on what type of hedge they should plant. After all, it’s not just a matter of choosing the right species or variety, but rather selecting one that will suit their specific needs best. For example, if your yard is very dry, then you might want to choose a tall hedge instead of a short one. If you live in an area where there are many other plants growing around, then you may need to plant them closer together than if you lived in a place without such competition.
There are several different types of hedges available for home gardeners to use. Some of these include:
Forsythia (Asteraceae) – This is the most common hedge species used in landscaping today. It is native to North America and grows well in almost any climate. These plants tend to be taller than other varieties and require a bit more care. For example, they need more sun and water.
Trees – While not as visually appealing as shorter hedges, these can actually be a better option for homes that are located in arid or dry climates. The benefit of using trees is that they help to provide more shade and can even help reduce the amount of moisture in the air through transpiration.
A hedge is an excellent way of helping to block out your neighbor’s house or just providing some privacy. The key is to find the right type of hedge for your needs.
Forsythia is a beautiful and popular hedge species that has many benefits including:
They are available in different varieties and sizes. Almost any size hedge can be found, from a short privacy screen to a tall ornamental one.
They are easy to propagate so they are very inexpensive to plant.
They grow well in most areas and tolerate most soil types.
They provide a long season of interest both in terms of beautiful flowers and shiny leaves.
They are deer resistant in most cases.
They provide ample amounts of food and cover for birds.
Some varieties have fragrant flowers.
Before you begin, you need to decide how tall you want your hedge to be and the overall shape. A standard height for a formal hedge is about 4 feet but they can range from 2 feet to 6 feet depending on your taste and needs. Most hedges are shaped as squares or rectangles but ovals and circles are also possible. If you choose an oval or circle, you can create a more informal look but it will require more maintenance to keep it that way.
The next step is to mark off the area that you want to plant. If the area is not already level, this is the time to level it if possible. This can sometimes be done by simply scraping away topsoil until you get down to the level sub-soil. In some cases, it may be necessary to dig a small trench and fill it with gravel.
This will ensure that the soil is level and not sinking in certain spots.
You should also consider where the sun is going to strike the hedge most of the day. This way it can be planted in a way so that it will receive the most sunlight. However, it is best to rotate the hedge 45 degrees from the direction of the sun each year. This will ensure even growth because if it doesn’t receive sunlight on one side for a long period of time, it may start to bend towards the sun.
Planting and maintenance:
The type of soil you have will help determine when you should plant. Most plants need to be installed soon after purchasing to ensure they haven’t suffered any transplant shock. Ideally, you should only buy nursery plants if you are able to plant them within a few days. Never store nursery plants for long periods of time or they may die.
The actual planting is very easy. First, add some good quality compost or manure to the bottom of your hole. This will help the hedge grow healthy and strong. Add some of the soil from the hole back into the bottom of the hole.
This will help create a little hill that the plants will be placed into.
One technique that is sometimes used is called “toeing in”. This involves placing the plant into the ground at an angle so that only the “toe” is actually in the ground. This allows the plants to get a good start before they are placed into the hole completely.
The plants can then be placed into the hole and filled in with the soil that was dug out. The hole should be refilled until the plants are slightly higher than they were in the nursery. This is very important because hedge plants are usually planted a little deeper than what they were in the nursery so that they aren’t visible above the top of the hedge when it grows tall.
Maintenance of your new hedge will depend on whether or not you bought a large or small plant. If you bought a small plant, it will only need to be “toed in” (see above) for the first year after planting. After that, it should be mulched to conserve moisture and keep weeds down. This can be done by simply spreading shredded bark or wood chips around the base of the plants.
If you bought larger plants, then some type of hedge structure will be needed. Often, gardeners will use some type of wire fence. Be creative! Barbed wire fences, old cribs and anything else you can find will work.
Be sure to anchor the structure firmly into the ground. If your soil is very loose, this can sometimes be accomplished by pounding rebar stakes into the ground then attaching the fencing or netting to it.
After the hedge is in place, it should be cut back severely to about 2 feet tall.
Sources & references used in this article:
Adventitious rooting: examining the role of auxin in an easy-and a difficult-to-root plant by YY Ford, EC Bonham, RWF Cameron, PS Blake… – Plant Growth …, 2002 – Springer
Forsythia× intermedia by TK Lim – Edible Medicinal and Non Medicinal Plants, 2014 – Springer
Urban hedges: A review of plant species and cultivars for ecosystem service delivery in north-west Europe by T Blanusa, M Garratt, M Cathcart-James, L Hunt… – Urban Forestry & Urban …, 2019 – Elsevier