Archive for the ‘Advice’ Category

For the love of dog! Prune Dogwood now to get radiant colour in winter.

Dogwood varieties are invaluable in winter, their fiery colours and stunning architectural displays are emphasised by the surrounding dismal weather, bare beds and colourless plants. They truly come into their own over winter taking centre stage in any winter garden design.

Dogwoods aren’t just for Christmas! These vibrant plants need to be nurtured in order for you to get the best of their wondrous winter display. Brighter colours are emitted by new growth therefore strategic pruning allows this plant to re-establish throughout the year, ready for winter.

The ideal time and method to prune Dogwood for a winter spectacle is in late March to mid-April, just before the new growth develops. Cut back almost a third of the stem, we suggest keeping the stems about 5-20cm above ground level. It’s a hardy plant so it can withstand such a harsh prune and has a fast growth rate you can cut into the back rest assured that it will grow back. Take a look at the image below of a trimmed Dogwood hedge.

Take a look at our ultimate guide to Dogwood hedge plants for more information on this colourful shrub.

Plant For A Spring Spectacle

As we turn our backs on winter it’s time to focus on spring and if like me, you’re eager to see new leaf growth, flowers and fruits, Hedges Direct have a great selection of plants with spring interest to satisfy our impatience.

For those wanting features as soon as possible, species such as Blackthorn, Flowering Currant and Forsythia boast beautiful flowers early in the season, so early that new leaves haven’t started to appear yet! Gorse also produce early spring flowers, but being evergreen, its buttery yellow flowers stand out next to the spiky green leaves that remain year round.

The UK didn’t have a white Christmas but you can bring this stunning colour to your garden in spring as Dog Wood, Hawthorn, Pyracantha, Viburnum lantana, June Berry and Wild Cherry, all produce white flowers in different shapes and sizes.

Alternatively, brightly coloured flowers appear on Hypericum, Berberis, Purple Leaf Sand Cherry, Weigela and Potentilla. To get the most of your flowering plants, there are some great tips on pruning spring flowering shrubs in this short video from Gardener’s World Magazine.

You can also access fantastic spring colour with the long awaited new growth of Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’, which offers beautiful displays of red glossy leaves.

Christen the season with catkins! These long, hanging fruits dangle from the branches of Alder, Hazel, Hornbeam and Willow, attracting a range of British birds and other wildlife to your garden.

The species mentioned above are just a handful of spring spectacles. We’ve included a list of our entire collection of plants that offer fantastic interest in spring below:

 

Replacing a 20 year old conifer with a Beech hedge – Green Garden Services 1946 Ltd.

Replacing a hedge may seem a daunting task and a 20 year old, fully established conifer hedge, is as pretty much as daunting as it gets. Luckily for one customer, Tony Work and his team from Green Garden Services 1946 Ltd were on hand to help.

Green Garden Services 1964 Ltd are one of our approved members of The Hedging Network and with over 60 years of gardening experience they are highly qualified and have a strong passion for what they do. Located in the South East of England, they cater for anyone looking for professional gardening services in West Sussex.

Their replacement process began by cutting away the thick foliage of the mature conifer hedge. After heaps of leaves and twigs were removed and loaded into the trailer, the exposed main tree stem is taken from the ground and disposed of.

Tony Work explained we are sure that the old hedge of 20 years did not grow too well due to the planting was direct from the growing pot which should have been broken up so the roots could travel & find their own space”.

Top Tip: Potted plants are cared for in plastic containers which forces the root system to take the shape of its restricted space. When planting pot grown plants it is important to break up the root system so that its structure no longer takes the shape of its container, thus allowing the roots to fully form in their new positions. You can do this by simply shaking off excess soil and freeing the roots with your hands.

The team then placed each pot grown Beech plant in their new position however keeping them in their pots and above the soil. This is to ensure that the spacing between the individual plants is even before they go in the ground.

The plants have been positioned in a double staggered row. When fully grown, this planting method creates a thicker hedge as it will have a substantial depth compared to a hedge initially planted in a single row. Large stakes are then positioned 1.5 metres apart with string tied to each one to ensure the plants are planted in a straight line.

Beech plants have an average to fast growth rate reaching around 30-60 cm per year. A complete Beech hedge will display fantastic bursts of bright green in spring before transforming to a coppery colour in autumn. Alternatively, you can get a Purple Beech hedge for a richer, unique looking feature in spring that will showcase autumnal foliage later in the year. Beech is a native species and therefore offers additional wildlife value.

Tony Work and the team at Green Garden Services 1946 Ltd have a number of ongoing projects so keep your eye out for our blog to see more of their work. You can get their contact details or find local horticultural experts in your area with our Hedging Network.

If you’d like to share your planting process with a chance to be featured on our blog, or are a landscaper, grounds maintenance company or garden designer and want to become an approved member of our Hedging Network please contact trade@hedgesdirect.co.uk.

Hedges Direct Provide Plants For Kingsground Community Project

Hedges Direct recently received an order to help a community project in Eltham. The project was run by Greenwich Conservatives and aimed to screen an area on a busy street in order to provide flats with privacy and prevent a build-up of rubbish discarded by the public.

Matt Clare, the Transport and Environment spokesperson for the Greenwich Conservatives was more than happy to share some information and pictures of the mission.

You can see their planting area below, unfortunately, this open area was littered with a substantial amount of rubbish thrown away by passers-by.

After getting the rubbish cleared up and new bins installed at a nearby bus stop, Matt and his team of volunteers began their work.

They planted pot grown Cherry Laurel plants in a single row spaced around a foot apart, using a spade to dig a hole big enough to simply take the root system out of the pot and plant into the ground.

Top Tip: It is important to break up the roots once removed from their pots to allow them to travel and find their own space in their new position. 

Cherry Laurel plants were chosen for their dense foliage which, when fully grown, will have merged into a close-knit feature that will prevent people from throwing rubbish into the grounds, provide residents with more privacy and help absorb noise pollution from the busy roads.

Being an evergreen species, a Cherry Laurel hedge will keep its lush green leaves offering an effective screen year round. It can either be trimmed to shape to form a more structured look, or left to grow for a naturalistic appearance.

Matt Clare said “Many passers-by spoke to us to share how pleased they were at seeing improvements and a local Facebook group have also been very complimentary. We are speaking with other private landlords in Eltham and very much hope to deliver other projects like this”.

Well done to Matt and his hard working volunteers.

If you have a community project you want to share, get in touch with the marketing department by email marketing@hedgesdirect.co.uk or give us a call on 01257 263873.

Popular pests and diseases to look out for

Our gardens are our sanctuary, a place where we can escape into our own little patch of nature. We pride ourselves in the time and effort it takes to make our backyards one to show off. So, to ensure our gardens remain impeccable is to keep it healthy and one of the best ways to maintain a healthy garden is to familiarise yourself with the common garden pests and diseases.

Not every leaf spot, scab or miscolour is an indication of a pest infestation or fungal/bacterial disease, some symptoms are caused by planting conditions or environmental stress. It’s important to spot early signs of pests or diseases as precautions can be made to prevent any unwanted damage as the sooner a pest or disease is identified, the easier it is to eliminate.

But what are the main signs to look out for? Here is some information and expert advice on the 10 most common pests and diseases of hedging plants in the UK, including what to look for and how to deal with them.

Firstly, pests. As all gardeners are aware, there’s always some kind of pest eating away at your plants, but that’s just nature. It doesn’t mean your garden is fighting off an infestation as the healthiest of gardens have all types of bugs which do a sterling job in all sorts of ways, from helping to decompose plant matter, enriching the soil, to aiding with pollination, letting your plants blossom. However, it’s the ‘bad bugs’ which warrant action. Here’s a list of the most conventional UK pests we encounter in our gardens and some advice on stopping them.

Aphids

Aphids are the first on our list as this 3mm long insect is the most common pest your hedge plants will encounter. This sap sucking bug will usually infest young, soft growing tips of plants in spring and summer. With over 500 species in the UK, they are mostly referred to as ‘greenfly’ or ‘blackfly’ but come in all kinds of colours such as yellow, light green and even pink, with some covered in a woolly layer, as with the beech woolly aphid. Aphids multiply quickly, but move slowly so with early identification and correct methods of removal, they are relatively easy to control.

aphids

Aphids themselves are difficult to see however the impact of an aphid infestation is visible to the naked eye. Look for misshapen, curling leaves with a yellowing distortion. You can also check the underside of affected leaves as these troublesome bugs tend to hide there. If leaves or stems are covered with a sticky honeydew, this is an indication of an aphid infestation as this substance is produced by the insect as waste.

Natural predators will do their best to reduce the presence of aphids however you can get rid of them by wiping the infested leaves with a damp cloth or spraying with cold water. Chemical control is also available or use insecticidal soap or horticultural oil.

 

 

 

Scale insects

Another sap sucking insect, is the Scale, these are limpet-like insects with a protective shell-like casing. There are more than 25 species of scale insect and they are active all year round.

scale

They weaken the growth of young plants, and some species produce white egg masses on stems and on the undersides of leaves. Like aphids, they too leave behind a sticky honeydew substance as a manifestation of their presence.

It is possible to remove scale insects with a brush and warm soapy water or you can purchase an effective insecticide spray.

 

 

 

 

 

Winter moth caterpillars

When discussing winter moth caterpillars, we are not referring to one specific pest. Winter moth is a common name given to the species that have adult moths, they are present and lay eggs from November to April. This name can be deceiving to us gardeners as these insects do all of their damage during the caterpillar stage and can lead us searching for the wrong pest. The caterpillars appear in spring, chewing their way through new growth, leaving holes in leaves and disfigured foliage behind.

Using pesticides in late March to April will prevent winter moths from infesting your plants as they have not hatched, leaving them vulnerable to chemical control. In conjunction with this, attracting birds to your garden is an effective way of eliminating hatched winter moth caterpillars. These insects are favoured among bird species such as tits, so encouraging them with the correct bird food or planting bird friendly hedging will benefit you and your efforts to prevent a winter moth caterpillar strike.

Spider Mites

If you’re a greenhouse gardener, these insects may be your number one enemy as they enjoy wreaking havoc on indoor plants, but will also enjoy attacking outdoor plants, especially Buxus sempervirens. Spider mites are made up of around 1,200 species, live in colonies and are often found on the underside of plant leaves. They leave tiny yellowish green mites and egg shells under affected leaves and if left untreated, a heavy infestation will see fine silk webbing in addition to leaves losing their colour, turning yellow, and may dry up and fall off.

spider-mites

We recommend discarding the use of pesticides as they are quick to develop resistance to them. Regular clipping of the hedge, ensuring that the clippings are disposed of immediately, is an effective way to prevent spider mites from infesting your healthy plants. Insecticidal soaps, horticultural oil or simply washing your plants with a strong blast of cold water are all valuable methods of removing spider mites.

 

 

 

 

 

Vine Weevil

Vine weevil is a beetle known to infest a wide range of ornamental trees, hedging plants and fruits with the tendency to favour plants kept in containers. These 10mm, dull black bugs can be found on plants in spring and summer and will leave irregular notches on the leaves as a sign of their plague. Adult weevils are difficult to find as they mostly come out at night. Give your plant a good shake if there are vine weevils present, as they will fall off your plant when force is administered. In addition to the vine weevil beetle, in autumn and winter, root-eating, soil borne grubs target the roots of a plant which will inevitably cause plants to weaken and die.

vine

Precautions can be made to prevent a vine weevil attack such as chemical and physical control. Check your planting areas, root balls and pots for vine weevils before planting or repotting. There are also a number of insecticides that can be used to treat damaged plants and give protection against a potential attack.

Fungal Diseases

It’s recorded that around 85% of most plant diseases are caused by fungal-like organisms. Their symptoms result in miscolouring, leaf markings and unusual substances covering the surfaces of plants.

 

 

 

Honey fungus

According to the RHS, honey fungus has been the most commonly reported garden disease for 20 years running and is deemed to be the most damaging fungal diseases in the UK. Made up of several destructive species, honey fungus spreads underground attacking the roots of healthy trees, shrubs, hedging, woody and perennial plants.

honey

Honey fungus hinders the growth of developing leaves, whilst causing mature leaves to become pale. At ground level, white fungal growth appears between bark and wood and in some cases, golden brown mushrooms appear briefly on infected stumps, usually in autumn. Honey fungus is a tough disease to get rid of, often digging out the affected shrubs and surrounding plants is the only option to minimise potential spread to other parts of the garden. If you have a known honey fungus contamination in your area, we have a number of plants resistant to this disease. Species such as Box, Hornbeam, Griselinia, Lavender, Lonicera nitida, Yew, Holly, Hebe, Hazel and Blackthorn – all are great choices.

 

 

 

Powdery mildew

Powdery mildew is a fungal disease which occurs on specific species and targets the foliage and stems. Often associated with water stress, powdery mildew appears in summer and autumn. If your plants are experiencing this disease, it can be easily identified as a white powdered substance will be materialise on the foliage.

powdery

You can neutralize powdery mildew both naturally and chemically. Raking autumn leaves and disposing of them will impact the level of water stress your diseased plants will encounter. There are also heaps of chemical products to treat powdery mildew.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phytophthora

Phytophthora is a genus of plant-damaging Oomycetes that can also have a negative effect in natural ecosystems. This fungal disease attacks the root system and is the common cause of root and stem base decay of a wide range of trees and shrubs. Its presence derives from heavy or waterlogged soils causing large roots to appear blackened and finer roots to rot away. Above the ground symptoms arise once the root decay is well advanced. Deciduous plants will yellow and branches are likely to die back, whereas conifer plants will turn a dark matt green or brown.

As this disease is caused by waterlogged soil, it is important to improve the drainage with grit or land drains and for potted plants, ensure the pots have an effective drainage system.  If you are experiencing a Phytophthora infestation, remove and destroy all infected plants and replace topsoil in effected areas as soon as possible. To fully avoid this disease, you can plant species which are less susceptible to Phytophthora, such as Berberis, Hornbeam, Leylandii, Hazel, Hawthorn, Photinia and Western Red Cedar.

Bacterial Diseases

Bacterial Canker

Bacterial Canker (Pseudomonas syringae) is a disease caused by two closely related bacteria that affect the stems and leaves of a number of the Prunus genus, although Prunus laurocerasus (Cherry laurel) and Prunus lusitanica (Portuguese laurel) are more resistant to this bacterial disease than their relative species.

This disease is also known as ‘shothole disease’ as infected plants display small brown patches on its leaves in midsummer, which eventually fall out to leave small round holes. Alongside these unsightly leaf disfigurations, sunken dead areas of bark will joined by a gluey ooze.

To prevent Bacterial Canker from infecting your plants, carrying out all pruning in July or August when tissues are more resistant is an effective way to reduce the chance of infection. On infected plants, cut out all cankered areas, pruning back to healthy wood. You can then paint all pruning wounds with a wound paint to protect your plant from reinfection. While mentioning the possibility of reinfection, it’s important to remove and destroy these cuttings.

Firebright

Hedging plants such as Cotoneaster, Hawthorn, Photinia and Pyracantha can be effected by this waterborne bacteria. Most apparent in late spring and autumn, this disease attacks the shoots of blossoms, giving the plant the appearance of drying out and sun scorching. Cankers on branches, especially where infected shoots join larger branches appear and a slimy white liquid will leak from infections in wet weather.

Prune and destroy all signs of infection immediately, soaking your cutting tools with disinfectant between cuts to avoid spreading the bacteria. Jersey fluid or methylated spirits are recommended by the RHS.

Here at Hedges Direct, we ensure that all of our stock is pest and disease free. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above but are unsure on whether you can correctly diagnose your plants, we have an expert service team who are more than happy to help identify any pest or disease infestation and offer advice. We simply require you send in some pictures of the plants in question to helpdesk@hedgesdirect.co.uk

Go For Gold!

The Rio 2016 Olympic Games are truly under way and I must admit, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching all the different sporting events and getting in the Olympic spirit by cheering on team GB.

I’m sure that you can guess that my recent obsession with the Olympic Games inspired me to write this blog. Like the thousands of athletes competing in Rio, I too am going for gold. However, I’m not talking about the prestigious gold medal presented to the winning competitors, I’m talking about golden foliage as a glittering addition to a garden design.

At Hedges Direct, we offer a range of hedge plants with lavish foliage displaying golden tints, perfect for creating a garden worthy of first place.

Golden Bamboo is certainly the first to mention. Its strength and speed are similar to those of a 100m sprinter with the intention to get to the finish line in the quickest time possible. This hardy species breaks our growth records achieving 60+cm a year. The Usain Bolt of the plant world.

gold bambooGolden Bamboo

Our conifer varieties boast fantastic shades of gold. Golden Leylandii and Monterey Cypress ‘Goldcrest’ are beautiful, evergreen species with golden yellow spray-like foliage. Monterey Cypress ‘Goldcrest’ has the brighter foliage of the two species and has a lemon scented fragrance in summer, especially when cut or brushed.

Gold leylandii

Golden Leylandii

Monterey

Monterey cypress ‘Goldcrest’

Golden Elder, which displays an attractive bronze colour when young, turns golden yellow with maturity. Lonicera nitida ‘Baggessen’s Gold’ is the perfect option for summer colour as it is well suited to sunny areas and its leaves are capable of reflecting sunlight which emphasises its golden tint. Golden colours can also appear on variegated foliage, Golden Privet and Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald n Gold’ have green glossy leaves with an outline of golden yellow giving these hedge plants a contrasting appearance.

Lonicera

Lonicera nitida ‘Baggessen’s Gold’

Privet

Golden Privet

Euonymus

Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald n Gold’

This blog couldn’t have arrived at a better time as Hedges Direct welcome a new hedging species to their team, Ilex Crenata ‘Golden Gem‘. Slow and steady wins the race with this plant as it will achieve 10-20cm per year and will therefore require little maintenance. It’s a golden alternative to the green Ilex Crenata and the popular Buxus sempervirens as it is used for creating a low garden border.

Ilex

Ilex Crenata ‘Golden Gem’

You can utilise the brilliant foliage of these plants as individual features or as a bright setting to offset the colours of other plants. So bring home the gold with my suggestions and make your garden a winner.

 

 

 

How to improve your soil

When it comes to improving your soil, there’s many different ways to do this, as well as many benefits. Your soil can be improved by targeting two different aspects, the amount of nutrients and the structure.

By using the following products and processes, you can increase the success of your plants as well as well as the general condition of your soil.

Topsoil

This is the ideal, easy solution to improving your soil ready for new plantings. Topsoil is a specially selected, graded product and, as the name suggests, is the top layer of the soil – the upper 2-8 inches to be more precise. This section of the soil plays an important role when planting new hedges and shrubs as it supplies the bulk of the nutrients and it’s where the majority of growth takes place for the first few growing seasons.

Topsoil has a variety of uses in the garden, suited to the planting of hedges, shrubs and trees, whilst also being beneficial to new turf. From levelling your planting surface to increasing the nutrient count in the soil, topsoil is the perfect planting product and reduces the need to apply further compost or fertiliser.

For all round improvement and a nutrient boost for new plants, topsoil is the go-to option.

Topsoil1-min

Rootgrow

No garden should be without this planting companion. Made from a combination of native fungi, known as mycorrhizal fungi, Rootgrow is an all-natural product that is hugely beneficial to the roots of plants and the surrounding soil. When applied to the root system during planting, Rootgrow provides a sort of secondary root system that gives the plant easy access to the nutrients in the soil as well as reducing the impact of drought and other environmental factors that can affect establishment.

It only takes one Rootgrow treatment to reap the benefits and notice a difference to your plants within a few weeks.

 

Well-rotted organic matter

Adding well-rotted organic matter such as compost or manure to your soil is both a traditional and effective way to improve your soil. You can start by improving the texture, digging into the soil and breaking up any large lumps which will be helpful to the root systems of new plants trying to establish. You can then dig in about half a wheel-barrow full of organic matter, ensuring as you dig back over you are making sure it’s fully incorporated into your soil.

The list of benefits associated with adding organic matter to your soil include: increasing the nutrients in the soil; improving the structure which provides easy access to the nutrients; improving the water holding capability; and attracting worms and other insects that play a part in continually improving the health of your soil.

Digging in organic matter

By using the above methods, the overall condition of your soil will be dramatically improved, including the drainage and surface of your site, allowing for more successful planting all year round. And, as the saying goes, it’s always better to ‘feed the soil, not the plant’.

When is the best time to plant a hedge?

We often get asked when the best time to plant a hedge is and the answer is completely dependent on the root type of the hedging plants. Each root type has a specific time frame in which to plant to achieve the best results –

Bare roots

Bare root hedging must be planted when dormant, from November to April, however this planting period can be extended through to early May with the use of cold stored plants. Always check the ground is not frozen before planting and that frosts have not been forecast. All hedging plants are dormant during this period, however evergreen hedge plants hold their leaves whilst deciduous hedging loses them.

Root balls

Similar to bare roots, root ball hedging can only be planted during the dormant season, however this is slightly long for root balls, lasting from October to May with the exception of Box hedging, which can be planted in root ball form all year round.Yew root ball hedging

Pot grown plants

Pot grown hedging can be planted all year round other than when the ground is frozen, frosts are forecast or during very hot weather. You can store pot grown plants for a few weeks before planting in the ground, providing you keep them well-watered.

Cell-grown plants

Cell grown hedge plants can also be planted at any time of the year with the same exceptions that apply to pot grown plants.

Instant hedging

Instant hedging is available to buy and plant year round but we recommend that you avoid planting during both freezing temperatures and extremely hot weather.Griselinia instant hedging

Pleached trees

Pleached trees are grown as root balls so are only available for planting from October to May when they are dormant.

Ivy screens

These green screens can be planted any time of the year, providing the ground is not frozen or the weather is really hot.

Turf

The best time of year to lay turf is between mid-autumn and late winter, providing the soil is not frozen or waterlogged. You can also lay turf during spring but it’s best to avoid laying from mid-spring to early autumn as this period can involve spells of high temperatures and drought. Turf should be laid within 24 hours of delivery.

 

After planting, always ensure you keep your new plants well watered – our irrigation kits are great for this – and consider adding a mulch such as our weed supressent fabric to keep your site free of weeds. For more tips and advice on planting, take a look at our advice pages.

Greening Grey Britain

Since Easter this year, the RHS have been campaigning to Green Greying Britain and recently, more and more people are joining the crusade to transform our front gardens into sustainable spaces instead of just plain old paving. With over a third of London’s gardens now being completely paved over and many other parts of the country losing their green spaces to concrete, it’s more important than ever to do your bit to get Britain green again.

Earlier in the year, Sean Murray, winner of the Great Chelsea Garden Challenge, had the chance to showcase his idea for a sustainable garden at Chelsea and more recently, Simon Fagg, revealed his Spiralling into Control show garden at RHS Tatton Park. Both garden designers managed to incorporate the objectives of the Greening Grey Britain campaign to create gardens that were both sustainable and functional, without forfeiting aesthetics.

Spiralling into Control show garden

Why Greening Grey Britain is important

Often people forget the part that their own garden plays in the larger environment and so don’t consider the damage that paving over their space can cause. Gardens host a huge range of benefits for the environment, local wildlife and our physical and mental well-being, and as our climate continues to change, we need to do everything we can to protect Britain against the negative impacts of losing our green spaces, particularly in urban areas.

Not only does paving take away all the ornamental value of your front garden but it can contribute to increased temperatures and the risk of flooding. The rise in urban temperatures is triggered by hard surfaces, such as paving and concrete, absorbing heat during the day and releasing it at night, resulting in ‘the heat island effect’ which not only makes it difficult to sleep but also results in poorer air quality – gardens are able to regulate temperatures much more easily. And, whilst turf, soil and plants can all absorb rainwater, paving does not and can cause up to a 50% run off increase into street drains, which often cannot handle this volume of water, resulting in floods.

How you can help in Greening Grey Britain

Many people pave over their gardens simply for practical reasons without realising that there are plenty of options that allow a parking space as well as room for plants, shrubs and turf. Here’s a few simple things you can do to join the campaign to get Britain’s green spaces back:

– Choose space saving plants

Climbers and wall shrubs are the perfect solution to add some greenery to small spaces, and Ivy screens and Pleached trees can provide both ornamental and environmental value, when the need to create a parking space may mean compromising your garden.

– Garden for wildlife

In short, the more plants you have, the more value your garden will hold for wildlife. However, it’s understandable that often space is limited in front gardens, which is why planting a hedge is a great way to encourage wildlife without taking up too much room. Wildlife friendly hedges can provide food and shelter for a variety of different species, including birds, insects and hedgehogs.

– Choose permeable paving

This type of paving, as seen in the Spiralling into Control show garden, reduces the risk of flooding as the permeable materials absorb rainfall, reducing the impact of run off.

By making these small changes to your front garden and incorporating the objectives of the Greening Grey Britain campaign into any plans you have to alter your front garden, we can work together to make sure we don’t lose the green Britain we all love.

High hedge disputes

Hedges can create privacy, boundaries and a fantastic garden feature, but they can also cause disputes. Issues of high hedges are a common occurrence, with neighbours falling out over the ‘right to light’ and invasive hedges growing into the wrong garden.

High hedge disputes can be easily avoided with careful planning prior to a hedge being planted and the Government website is a great source of information for all things related to the prevention and resolution of high hedge issues.

If it’s your hedge that’s the issue then this blog should help you to find the best way to go about fixing the problem, and if it’s your neighbour’s hedge that needs to be cut down to size, this blog can give you advice on the best way to approach the situation and avoid it growing into an argument.

 

What causes high hedge disputes?

The most common causes of hedging issues between neighbours are as follows:

Right to light

This issue arises when a hedge in a neighbouring garden grows so tall that it prevents natural light from reaching either the garden or a room in the house. There are Government guidelines in place to measure the extent to which light is being obstructed. These guidelines consider situations which may involve sunlight being constantly blocked from reaching a garden, or the need to use lights inside the house which would not otherwise be needed if the hedge was not present. Once the magnitude of the problem has been determined, the Local Council will step in and make a decision on whether the height of the hedge needs to be reduced. However, the Council will only become involved after evidence has been presented to prove considerable effort was made by all parties to rectify the problem, previous to them being contacted.

Overgrown foliage

This becomes a problem when the foliage of a hedge begins to impact neighbouring gardens, often growing over a fence or, if the neighbour’s side of the hedge has not been properly maintained by the hedge owner, it can make the garden look untidy and possibly even affect the other surrounding plants. The responsibly of keeping the hedge under control falls with the hedge owner; the hedge should be pruned regularly on all sides and on top to prevent this issue occurring. As above, there should be an attempt to fix any problems with overgrown foliage directly before the Local Council are notified of the issue.

 

How do I prevent/solve a high hedging issue?

It’s always better to try and prevent a problem from occurring rather than trying to fix it, however, sometimes it’s not that easy.

Preventing high hedge disputes

The best way to avoid hedging issues, according to the Government, is with the correct planning, design and information. By ensuring you have all the information about the hedging species you choose, including growth rate and the level of maintenance required to keep it neat, you can avoid being surprised by a fast-growing hedge that is un-manageable. Your planning and design should ensure that your hedge is planted in a position that will not restrict the amount of sunlight that reaches your neighbours garden or cause problems with overgrowth encroaching into their garden.

Resolving high hedge disputes

Before involving any outside parties, we first and foremost recommend trying to resolve the situation in the most polite but clear way possible, regardless of whether you are issuing a complaint or receiving one. In order to keep your relationship with your neighbour as amicable as possible, it’s a good idea to speak to them directly about the problem and offer a solution to rectify it. And, if your neighbour comes to you with an issue, always try to see things from their side of the fence – it’s much easier to deal with the situation without the involvement of the Local Council. If you do find that the issue cannot be resolved in this way, then your Local Council will be happy to help as long as you can prove significant effort has been made to fix the problem before they were contacted.

 

There may not be laws in place to restrict the height of your hedge, or the need to apply for planning permission to plant a hedge boundary, however in order to be thought of as a good neighbour you should always take into consideration the impacts that your new hedge can have on your neighbours’ gardens before planting.