By: Amy Grant
The popularity of edible gardens has sky rocketed in the last few years. More and more gardeners are shying away from traditional vegetable garden plots and simply interspersing their crops in amongst other landscape plants. A great idea for incorporating edible plants into the landscape is by using fruit trees as hedges. Growing fruit trees hedges has the added bonus of not only the tasty fruit, but will act as a privacy screen as well.
Dispense with the traditional boxwood and privet. There are plenty of fruit tree varieties that can make hedges. Hedge fruit tree varieties are not only edible, but mark a boundary between one garden and the next, act as a windbreak, provide a backdrop to flower borders, accent a wall, and mute intrusive outside noise all while creating an eye-pleasing secret garden.
First of all when growing fruit tree hedges, you need to consider whether you wish to stick to one species for your hedge or whether you want to mix it up and plant several. A single species hedge looks tidier and more uniform while a mixed species hedge adds visual interest with differing shapes, textures and colors, plus you have more edible options.
Some fruit trees are more accurately bushes and with very little care easily grow together to form an impenetrable hedge. Take bush plums or myrobalan plum, for example. This fast growing tree or bush grows to between 4-6 feet (1-2 m.) in height and width. The fruit can be eaten fresh or turned into wines, liqueurs or preserves. This plant is so apropos for use as a fruit tree that can make hedges; it was originally cultivated to create orchard shelterbelts. The stunning pale-pink blooms lure pollinating insects to the garden ready to pollinate other fruiting trees. Plant a selection of seedlings to ensure pollination and fruiting.
Speaking of apples, many fruit trees can be trained to form a hedge and can be mixed and matched. This practice is called espalier, which is the practice of controlling woody growth for the production of fruit by pruning and tying branches to a frame. Belgian fence is a more complicated method of espalier in which tree limbs are trained into a lattice-like pattern. A little more time consuming than letting some bushes grow together but stunning in the effect and well worth the time. You can espalier apples, cherries, peaches, figs, pears, and citrus trees to create an edible fence.
To maximize space even more and increase your bounty, try under-planting with edible plants such as blueberries. You could have a few types of rock fruit or apple varieties growing espaliered at a higher level and closer to ground level several lowbush blueberries.
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Every homeowner wants to have some privacy at home, both inside and out. The landscape can offer another form of privacy. Building a fence of stone, wood, or wire is one way to do it. Growing natural privacy hedges with greenery and foliage that is attractive and environmentally-friendly is another.
Many homeowners don’t like the fencing option because it takes a lot of time, effort, and money to install. Plus, fences don’t provide aesthetically pleasing scenery in your yard like hedges and bushes.
Grow your own privacy screen with attractive leaves and flowers of deciduous plants and evergreens that you can enjoy year round. It just takes minimal time and effort to get the privacy you want.(virynja/piep600/nadtochiy/tnphotoca/aungmyat/pellinni/123rf.com)
There are two ways to determine what are the best hedges for privacy for your property – formal or informal. Formal privacy hedge trees need to be sheared and shaped every year to look neat and tidy and to form a “perfect” hedge.
On the other hand, informal fast growing evergreen bushes or shrubs for privacy, only need low-maintenance care year-round. Occasional pruning, if any, may help to provide a little shape to your hedge but it is not required.
If you prefer to go with privacy hedges that offer a variety of maintenance care options, that’s okay, too be mindful of what to plant together when the time comes so that the plants complement each other in appearance and in growing style.
If you install hedge plants for privacy around your home, think about maintenance, location, size, and hardiness zones. After you iron out these details, you’ll be ready to plant the perfect privacy hedges.
The site of your fast-growing shrubs and privacy hedge plants is critical. One crucial detail to note is that the roots of most trees and shrubs grow laterally down into the ground. The bigger the bush, the longer the roots will be.
We do not recommend planting large privacy hedge plants near driveways, sidewalks, pools, or foundations if the fast-growing shrubs grow here, it’s likely that the cement and landscape will crack over time and require extensive repair. You may even need to cut down the hedge plants in these areas to keep from incurring even more damage.
When selecting all year round plants and shrubs for privacy, choose an appropriate size for your landscape the mature size of the hedge plants will matter the most. If you have questions concerning the final size of your plants or shrubs, ask a gardening specialist. Often, the tags that wrap around the plants at a nursery have this information.
Hardiness zones vary depending on where you live. Hedges that thrive in hot weather will likely not do as well in colder climates. Do some research to figure out which plants will thrive at your home before heading to the gardening center to make your selection. Before planting, get rid of plant flies and clear the land of weeds.
These zones will also determine how much maintenance you’ll have to perform on your shrubs annually. The new growth and growth rates are affected by the type of soil, how much rainfall the area receives, and the overall climate.
Typically, fast-growing evergreen shrubs for privacy require more maintenance to look presentable. Otherwise, they can appear spindly and unattractive.
Both flowering shrubs and deciduous plants flake off debris like dead leaves and flowers during the summer and fall months. Once again, hardiness zones determine how much maintenance is needed and how much waste will come off.
Privacy hedges do not all grow at the same rate. Some growing conditions require several years of maintenance, whereas others only take a couple of years to reach maximum height.
Doing a little research in advance and checking out the plants listed here will help you find the best fast growing privacy shrubs for your yard. Note the soil, watering, and sunlight requirements for each one and determine what will work better for your property. Pretty soon you’ll have a nice hedge that offers shade and privacy!
The time of the year you choose to plant your hedges makes a significant difference in growth rates as well. Those gardeners that plant an Amur Maple hedge in the height of summer, and limited watering, will set the hedge back significantly in its growth.
The best time of the year to plant your hedges is in the fall, after the long summer days start to cool off, and the first signs of changes in the season begin.
Planting in winter is not an issue, provided that you live in a region of the United States that does not receive any frost. Frost will kill the roots of young hedges, and damage the roots of mature plants when transplanting in colder conditions.