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The best hedge plants for your garden
The best hedge plants for your garden
Video: The best hedge plants for your garden
Video: Best Hedges for your garden 2023, February

There are privacy hedges, edging hedges, evergreen hedges, shaped hedges, fruit hedges, flower hedges - and which hedges did you think of? The more carefully the purpose of a hedge plant is considered, the easier it is to choose the right plant.

There are many reasons for the strictly formed hedge. For example, because there is not enough space for a freely growing one or because you want an opaque boundary for the property. Where good privacy is desired in summer, but more light is desired in winter, a deciduous leaf hedge is the right choice. Hornbeam and European beech are always suitable and of simple beauty. Both give every garden the right frame and reveal its finely branched, interesting interior in late winter. For flower lovers, flowering shrubs bring life to the edge of their own little garden world.

Low hedge plants or flowering shrubs

In addition to the classic boxwood and the dwarf barberry that grows dwarf, there are also semi-shrubs for low borders, for example lavender, saint herb, gamander or low cinquefoils. These plants are characterized by the fact that they can be kept small and compact by cutting without losing their beauty.

If you want a cut hedge with attractive flower or fruit decoration, you can choose, for example, the evergreen barberry, which bears golden yellow flower panicles in May, or the indestructible firethorn, which bends under red, orange or yellow berries in autumn. Many other flowering shrubs can also be formed without complaint, such as blood currant, forsythia, red and hawthorn or the snowball.

Planning is everything with hedge plants

Flower hedges are usually a combination of different hedge plants that complement each other in their growth. Tall, conspicuous shrubs are known as leading trees. You determine the final height of a plantation. These include: lilac (Syringa hybrids), tall ornamental apples (Malus species), rock pear (Amelanchier in species), wig bush (Cotinus coggygria), hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata), ornamental cherries (Prunus serrulata, P. subhirtella) and tamarisk trees (Tamarisken) parviflora, T. pentandra).

These are used sparingly so that they work well. The way in which you fill the gaps in between depends on their growth, flower color and flowering time. The structure should be slightly sloping towards the front.

If you want to plant lower hedges, you will choose the tallest shrubs as the leading plants, for example weigeli (Weigela), gold bell (Forsythia species), wild lilacs (Syringa species) or pipe shrub (Philadelphus hybrids). The design becomes harmonious when the flower colors of the leading trees are resumed or contrasts are created. In addition, upright and overhanging growth forms should alternate, so that there is a gapless green wall of flowers - after all, the flower hedge is also a privacy screen.

You shouldn't overdo it with the variety of hedge plants. Repetitions provide a rhythm in the planting and create a certain dynamic. With smaller shrubs such as ornamental quinces (Choenomeles species), it can even be important to plant two at a certain distance from each other so that they can assert themselves against larger shrubs. From early spring to late autumn there are decorative flower trees. It is wise to determine a time when larger groups will flower together.

Hckenpflanzen im Herbst
Hckenpflanzen im Herbst

Hedge plants are true factories for organic matter.

Photo: iVerde / Rene vd Burg

This is how hedge plants are planted

Neighboring law regulates the border distance from hedges. Ask your community about the distance to the neighboring property so that there is no trouble. A good selection of plants and advice are usually available in garden centers or nurseries. You have a choice of hedge plants: between bare-rooted plants, those with root balls or container plants.

Bare root plants are often only two to three years old = " and therefore the cheapest. They must be planted immediately after purchase, the roots must not dry out under any circumstances. Water the injured roots that are too long before planting them well and shorten the aerial shoots by a third.

Bale plants are usually older and stronger, but also a little more expensive. A linen cloth holds the well-rooted bale together. The sheet is also planted, but must be opened so that the roots can spread later.

Container plants are grown in pots and can be planted all year round (with the exception of frost days). Ideally, however, planting should take place in spring or late autumn.

Planting the hedge

The planting hole for all hedge plants must be twice as deep and wide as the root ball; Enrich the excavation with compost and fill the planting pit with it. Finally, firmly grip the soil all around and water each plant vigorously, so that any remaining cavities are clogged.

Planting distances

For privet and barberry, five plants are counted per meter; for holly and cherry laurel (Prunus "Rotundifolia") with a height of 40 to 60 centimeters two to three plants; for a tree of life, false cypress, yew tree with a height of 80 to 100 centimeters two to three plants; for hornbeam, beech, field maple with a height of 150 to 175 centimeters Three plants, wild hedges need at least two meters in width, and one plant per square meter within the planting strip.

Start, water and fertilize

Planting along a line results in exact rows. There must be no voids between the roots. Step firmly around the plants with the heel two to four times. If necessary, top up the soil. Important for the roots in contact with the ground, also water in rainy weather. Two earth walls parallel to the row of plants guide the water to the roots. Mix in full organic fertilizer for spring plantings.

This is how hedge plants are cut

In species-rich hedges, every shrub is an individual with a special task. Upright, tall shrubs form the framework, for example rowan berries, laburnum and rock pear. They bloom best when pruned every four to five years.

Forsythia, Weigelia, scented jasmine (Philadelphus) and shrub roses overhang arch-like from the center. Their growth character is preserved every three to four years by shortening or cutting out individual aged branches. Lower filling shrubs such as finger shrubs, spirals and lily of the valley compensate for pruning to a third every four to five years in a short time. Broom and cotoneaster bring lightness to the hedge with their filigree foliage.

Heckenpflanzen schneiden
Heckenpflanzen schneiden

Hedge trimming: Always process the hedge plants with good tools. So you keep the fun and save time.

Photo: fotolia / kritchanut

Cut well - made easy

A rule of thumb helps to systematically clear the thicket of branches: cut out branches that rub, grow inwards, that are no longer blooming or have not brought in annual growth. In slow growing shrubs, cut diagonally over a bud so that there are no dry stumps that can be attacked by fungal diseases. Wild plants and thin branches can easily be cut to the desired length. When removing individual, thick branches, use scissors or a saw as low as possible above the ground. Courage, the removal of three to four old branches per shrub encourages young shoots to sprout and promotes flowering. The plant reacts to strong pruning mainly with new shoots.

If you want flowers, you have to cut them

The time for the correct cut depends on the flowering time of the individual shrub type and the age of the flower branches. Many spring bloomers (February to April) such as forsythia, blood currant and cornelian cherries bloom on the biennial wood. They are straightened and shortened immediately after flowering.

Species that bloom from May to early July, such as fragrant jasmine, elderberry, ranunculus, lily-of-the-valley shrub and viburnum opulus 'roseum' are best cut in autumn. Transitions to the summer bloomers form the gorse species and spirals. They bloom on this year's wood like roses and lilacs. The spring cut stimulates many young shoots.

Hedging plants and "foot care"

Hedge plants are very dense, compete strongly for water and nutrients and have to make do with little light. The loosely arranged game and flower hedges are said to bear flowers and fruits every year. For these top performances, moisture, nutrients and a healthy soil life are necessary. When planting, loosen the soil with humus so that the roots get enough air and water.

A 10 to 15 centimeter thick mulch layer of compost, leaves, grass clippings or chopped wood on the plant disc suppresses weeds and keeps the soil evenly moist. When the "fresh" material rots, humus is formed and nutrients are released. Bark humus has already rotted away. It contains hardly any nutrients. When the mulch layer needs to be replaced depends on the material: grass and leaves rot within one year, bark humus in two years.

Fertilization is carried out early in spring with slow-acting, organic complete fertilizer. At the end of June, hunger symptoms such as yellowish leaves and weak growth can be quickly remedied with a little mineral fertilizer.

Radical makeover

The cure with the radical pruning is not useful for every shrub. However, those who can tolerate them experience their "second spring". Aged hedges made of sparse, decaying shrubs are ripe for rejuvenation. To do this, the entire shrub is cut down to a few centimeters above the ground. In spring, the wood is rebuilt with young, vital branches and regains its original flowering power. Such a cure is only digestible every eight to ten years.

Species with the ability to vigorously sprout from old substances are suitable. These include hazel bush, cornelian cherry, fragrant jasmine, forsythia, summer lilac, elder and snowball. A little more cumbersome to sprout, and therefore need a consistent maintenance cut every two to three years, are refined ornamental plums and ornamental apples, some varieties of bird or powdered berries and the rock pear.

Shape old hedge plants

When the wind whistles through the hedge, it is often too late: Not all types of wood can be taken back into the old wood with impunity. The causes of bald form hedges are mostly neglected or incorrect cutting for years. Mock cypresses and the many tree species are naturally bare on the inside and no longer sprout there.

It is different with hornbeam, hawthorn, privet and yew. Privet can be cut back radically. The best time for this measure is in the spring after the frosts. The following summer it will grow little, but after two years the hedge is completely tight again - provided that it is cut twice a year.

Hornbeam and hawthorn can be cut back to the trunk without hesitation. In this way, hedges that have become too wide experience a kind of “slimming diet”. Both species have the ability to sprout out of "sleeping eyes" (non-budding buds) on the thick stem.

The yew can do that too: within a year of pruning (shortly before budding or in August), this soft-needled hedge plant is able to sprout out of its bare stem. It is covered in green again in autumn.

Buchsbaum stutzen
Buchsbaum stutzen

Boxwood hedge plants can be brought into all kinds of shapes.

Photo: PdM

The rope trick

Simple tools for a clean cut are two tensioned ropes, right and left along the hedge. The cord marks the edges - i.e. the cut approach, first for the height, then for the sides. The distance between the piles should not be greater than five meters, otherwise the rope cannot be tightened enough. The hedge trimmer is placed over the rope. In the case of hedges above shoulder height, it is advisable to climb onto a safe step ladder or to stand on a stable scaffold consisting of two step ladders and a plank.

Discard hedge clippings

Hedges are real factories of organic matter. Form hedges “produce” thin rice once or twice a year, with free-flowering hedges and wild hedges forming branches every two to three years to broomstick-thick branches. The loose travel material can be composted well, for example in layers with grass clippings or leaves. Depending on the chopper power, branches with the diameter of a two-euro piece can also be shredded.

If you cannot prepare your clippings into earth or mulch, you hand over the green load to the municipality. The waste or green space office provides information about collection points for clippings, compost and chopped material as well as collection dates and fees.

Process hedge plants with good tools

Good tools have many advantages: they make work easier, you keep the fun, and you can also save time. Therefore, you should not rashly buy any hedge trimming devices, but think carefully about which ones are necessary and useful. Sharp secateurs are essential for pruning. For thick branches you should use special pruning shears or a curved saw. A good hedge trimmer is characterized by wavy cutting edges. You don't get tired easily with a bumper. With all scissors, it is important to check before buying whether the handles are comfortable, non-slip and secure in the hand.

Lighter with an engine

The motor hedge trimmers cost a lot more, but they make work considerably easier. However, you should be aware that the operation of the not very easy device needs practice. You should also pay attention to safety precautions and instructions. So that no accidents happen, most devices are equipped with two-hand operation: when one hand lets go, the motor stops automatically.

Furthermore, the device must have a hand protection shield and a safety coupling that stops the knives as soon as you hit a hard obstacle. The distance between the teeth, which are usually attached on both sides, determines how strong the branches that the device can cut can be.

Comfortable with battery

Depending on the drive, a distinction is made between electric shears, cordless shears and hedge trimmers with a petrol engine. The latter are primarily intended for large hedges. You rarely need them in a normal garden. With cordless shears you save the annoying tangle of cables. The battery enables run times between 30 and 120 minutes, depending on the model. An empty battery is charged in one hour, with a quick charger in about 15 minutes.

You must use a protective box so that you can work safely with the electric shears at all times. In this way, the power supply is automatically stopped if faulty currents occur. Clean all scissors after each operation and rub well with maintenance oil.

Ligusterhecke schneiden
Ligusterhecke schneiden

Good cordless hedge trimmers have a battery life of up to two hours.

Photo: fotolia / kritchanut

Hedges paragraph

When hedges in the garden become a matter of dispute, it is usually about border distances or hedge heights. Unfortunately, there is no uniform regulation. The neighborhood laws of the individual states state the permitted border distances and hedge heights.


up to 1.80 meters high - 0.5 meters; above 0.5 meters plus additional height


up to 2 meters high - 0.5 meters; about 2 meters


up to 2 meters high - 0.5 meters, above 1 meter


above 2 meters high at least a third of the height


no neighborhood law


up to 1.2 meters high - 0.25 meters; up to 2 meters high - 0.5 meters; over 2 meters high - 0.75 meters

Mecklenburg-West Pomerania

no neighborhood law

Lower Saxony

up to 1.2 meters high - 0.25 meters; up to 2 meters high - 0.5 meters; up to 3 meters high - 0.75 meters; up to 5 meters high - 1.25 meters; up to 15 meters high - 3 meters; about 8 meters

North Rhine-Westphalia

up to 2 meters high - 0.5 meters; about 1 meter


up to 1 meter high - 0.25 meters; up to 1.5 meters high - 0.5 meters; above 0.75 meters


up to 1 meter high - 0.25 meters; up to 1.5 meters high - 0.5 meters; above 0.75 meters


up to 2 meters high - 0.5 meters; about 2 meters


up to 1.50 meters high - 0.5 meters; up to 3 meters high - 1 meter; up to 5 meters high - 1.25 meters; up to 15 meters high - 3 meters; about 6 meters


up to 1.2 meters high - no regulation; about a third of the height


up to 1 meter high - 0.25 meters; up to 1.5 meters high - 0.5 meters; up to 2 meters high - 0.75 meters; above it a greater distance

Attention, limitation period

What if the permitted hedge size was exceeded? Then the neighbor can ask for the shrubs to be removed or cut back to the correct size. However, there are restrictions: Some federal states only allow pruning outside the growing season (March 16 to September 30). Particular attention should be paid to the limitation period - hedges planted too close only need to be removed as long as they are not older than five years. The statutes of limitation differ somewhat in the individual federal states, so that in the event of a dispute, you should inquire with the local municipal administration about the applicable regulation.

A tip at the end: Since the border distance in many federal states depends on the hedge height, you should think about the expected growth before planting. The easiest way to avoid unnecessary trouble.

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