Hedging your bets

Wanting to screen out the neighbours, the noise or the view?
There are many plants that make a great choice when it comes to screening, having a living fence or creating rooms of definition within a garden. We often start by asking whether you would like it to be a formal or informal hedge.

The difference between the two is that a formal hedge is clipped and kept very neat and structured, and an informal hedge or screen is where the natural habitat of the plant creates a nice screen but it is not clipped into a rigid shape.

You can also use tall hedges and screens to act as a sun block, reducing the heat in your immediate surroundings dramatically.

They will also create habitat for small birds, and when choosing flowering species provide a food source for pollinators and other good bugs, plus birds and other wildlife.

Plant Choices: 

Let’s look at a few different plant choices for varying hedge and screening heights.

BES-HedgeLow: 1-1.5 metres
‘Desert star’ Carissa, Rosemary ‘Tuscan blue’, Lavender dentata, Westringia fruitcosa and ‘Jervis gem’, Acmena ‘Allyn magic’, Leucaphyllum ‘Lavender lights’, Rhaphiolepsis ‘Minikin’

Medium: 2-4 metres
‘Jaboticaba’ Myriacaria cauliflora, ‘Grummichama’ Eugenia brasiliensis, ‘Port wine magnolia’ Michelia figo, ‘Yesterday today and tomorrow’ Brunfelsia latifolia, ‘Cinnamon myrtle’ Backhousia myrtifolia, Westringia ‘Wynabbie gem’, Syzygium ‘Cascade’ and ‘Resilience’, ‘Night scented jasmine’ Cestrum nocturnum, Grevillea assorted cultivars, Plumbago aurantifolia, Viburnum assorted species, Rhaphiolepsis assorted species and cultivars, Rondelitia amoena, ‘Coffee’ Coffea arabica.
Graptophyllum illicifolium ‘Holly fuchsia’

Tall: 5-10 metres +
Eumundi quandong elaeocarpus eumundi, Lemon myrtle Backhousia citriodora, ‘Riberry’ Syzygium leuhmannii, ‘Fraser Island Apple’ Acronychia, Elaeocarpus obovatus, Francis’ water gum’ Syzygium francissii, Callistemon and melaleuca assorted species and cultivars.

Of course, there are many more choices and it’s best to check in with your local independent nursery or garden centre as to what grows well in your area and the height and habit you require.

Keeping hedges and screens looking good:

  • At planting, soil preparation is critical to give plants the best start. Adding Rocky Point ActivGrow Soil Improver will ensure a good organic rich soil in which the plants roots can grow and establish in.
  • Water and fertiliser are also key to maintaining plant health and optimal growth. Fertilising during the growing season with organic fertilisers, like Rocky Point ActivGrow or Poultry Manure Pellets, and watering deeply once to twice a week will give your plants the opportunity to look their very best and have optimal growth.
  • Mulching to conserve soil moisture and suppress weeds. Long lasting mulches such as Cypress, Tea tree and pine bark are ideal for permanent plantings like this.
  • Pruning – this depends on what you have chosen to plant and whether you want the formal or informal look. As a general rule of thumb after flowering or fruiting, and during the growing season is a good time for a major pruning. If you have a formal hedge or screen you will need to prune a little more often to maintain that tight and neat foliage habit.

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