The Q&A Archives: How Do I Get The Shrubs to Grow Taller

Question: I have hedges I purchased (July 2007). I wanted the hedges to cover; form a privacy fence in front of a 7 foot chain link fence in the back yard. I purchased them at about 5 feet in height, spaced them 2 feet apart (20) to cover 40 foot length back yard fence.

It's been over a year now and I would have thought they would have grown taller than the fence by now; however they have not?

Please provide some tips as to what I can do to speed up the growth process. They seem to have grown three inches in height at the most. They did grow in width during the spring; however, not in height as far as I can tell.

Answer: You didn't identify the shrubs so I don't know what their natural growth habit might be. But in general, landscape trees and shrubs can take a full year to become established before they really begin to grow at their expected rate (which varies from shrub to shrub). You can encourage new growth with light pruning in the spring and a second light pruning in mid-summer. Pruning results in additional growth and using shears over the entire shrub will encourage a denser and taller plant. You won't need to prune off more than just an inch or two. Make sure your plants are getting the sunshine (or shade) they crave and adequate water to encourage healthy growth. Water deeply once or twice a week during the growing season so the roots won't have to struggle to support the growth of the plant. You can feed in the spring, which should also encourage new growth. Be careful not to over-fertilize. I think it's best to feed with half the amount as recommended on the fertilizer label, applying the first half in spring and the second half in mid-summer.

Hope these tactics help your shrubs grow tall and thick!

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