How to Grow a Hedge Fence

Hedge fences are lines of shrubs or small trees that run along the border of a yard or garden, providing privacy, protection, and a decorative addition to an outdoor space. Many people choose to grow hedges instead of installing wooden or wire fences because the hedges blend into the fauna around them; another advantage is their height, which can reach over 15 feet (or 5 meters). Depending on how large you want your hedge to be, you can use any number of plants, from short azaleas to taller Japanese yews. Whatever your choice, your "living fence" will require regular care and maintenance in order to remain full.


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    Plot a straight line for you hedge to grow along.
    • Normally, a hedge border runs along the edge of a property or a garden. Plot a line that runs over level ground with even access to sun and consistent soil along its entirety: remember that your hedge plants will need to grow evenly.
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    Choose a hedge plant and buy several bulbs of that plant.
    • Consult your local nursery for advice on which plants grow best in your climate. For a short hedge of up to 5 feet (or 1.5 meters), consider azaleas, dwarf oleander, or Indian hawthorn. For a tall hedge of 10 feet (3 meters) or greater, look at Japanese yew, pittosporum, and wax myrtle.
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    Remove weeds and other plants from your hedge line.
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    Till the ground.
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    Deposit 4 inches (or 10 cm) of fertilizing soil or compost.
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    Plant the bulbs.
    • Bulbs should be placed about 4 feet (or 1.2 meters) apart for most plants. Bury the bulbs about 3 inches (or 7.6 cm) into the layer of fertilizing soil or compost.
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    Lay 2 inches (or 5 cm) of mulch along the hedge line.
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    Water the hedge line so that the soil and mulch settle.
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    Water the plants a few times a week, or more during the summer.
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    Fertilize the plants with standard garden fertilizer twice a year.
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    Prune the plants at least once a year.
    • Pruning involves clipping leaves and branches from the top and sides of the hedge with garden shears. Remove any especially long branches or dense masses of leaves. Your goal is to create a consistent, full look along the length of the hedge.
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    Wait 3 to 5 years for your hedge to reach full-grown size.


  • If you need the protection of a fence before your hedge is fully grown, consider installing a temporary wire fence along the hedge line for a few years. Make sure that the fence does not interfere with the growth of your plants and, once the hedge has grown tall enough, remove the fence.
  • Because of the arrangement of the plants, the best way to water a hedge is to lay a drip irrigation hose along its line so that all the plants are watered evenly. Depending on your location, you may not need to water the hedge in cooler months. To gauge how much water the plants need, observe the greenness of the leaves and make sure the ground around the roots is not entirely dry.


  • A common error when growing hedges is to allow the top of the plants to grow wider than the bottom. Your hedge will try to do this naturally; however, it's important to prune the top so that the whole plant has equal access to sunlight. Otherwise, your hedge will appear lopsided and lower leaves will fall off, leading to gaps along the bottom of the hedge.

Things You'll Need

  • Shrub or tree bulbs
  • Fertilizing soil or compost
  • Gardening shears

Article Info

Categories: Growing Trees and Shrubs | Walls Fences and Decks