The Q&A Archives: about hedges/shrubs

Question: This may sound like a crazy question but when you plant a hedge do you need to set it so far off of the property line like you do trees or do you just trim them on both sides? I want to plant a hedge on N. side of our property but I want to make sure it does not encroach onto my neighbors property. How hard is it to get a hedge growing? Sorry about all the questions from this beginner gardener.

Answer: We're here to help so feel free to ask as many questions as you like. Some hedging plants don't mind being pruned and others resent it so the answer to the first part of your question really depends on the types of plants you want to use as a screening hedge. The easiest way to keep a plant from encroaching on neighboring property is to look for the shrubs' mature size on the plant tag. Some, like columnar arborvitaes, will grow 15 feet tall but remain only 3 feet wide at maturity. Others, such as viburnums, can grow 15 feet tall and 8-10 feet wide at maturity. Whatever plant you decide to get should be planted far enough inside the property line that they won't encroach on your neighbor's property - unless you plan to prune them annually. Hope this sheds some light on the question. Hedges are usually easy to grow. Just water deeply once or twice a week, choose a plant that is hardy in your growing region, and prune annually if you plan to prune at all. If you wait until a plant is quite overgrown and then try to prune, you can damage the plant and create an eyesore, all at the same time! Good luck with your landscape!

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