Once the hedge is established, it will require some care and attention to keep it looking its best. Use a good balanced fertiliser, suitable for the plants in your hedge, several times a year. This will promote lush leaves, good health and an increased resilience to pest and disease. A regular top-up of the mulch layer with compost or well-rotted manure will feed the micro communities within the soil, keeping it healthy for the plants that live in it.
As living plants, hedges are vulnerable to pests and diseases, particularly in summer when the risk is higher. Inspect your hedge regularly for any problems and treat them as soon as you can. This will help avoid a problem that can spread to the rest of the hedge making it difficult to control or resulting in unsightly gaps in the hedge.
To keep the hedge looking crisp and in control it will need a regular prune. Pruning in late winter, spring, and early summer encourages dense bushy growth and controls the height. Always use good quality, sharp cutting tools to avoid causing harm to the trees, and clean your tools frequently to avoid spreading disease. Take care not to disturb nesting birds in the spring - it is better to wait until the nests are empty.
Start your pruning by removing dead or diseased wood, right at the base of the branch. Then prune any large protruding branches, before trimming the hedge for shape and even growth. To ensure the sunlight reaches the whole plant, trim the hedge so it is wider at the bottom than the top. Avoid cutting beyond the green growth. To prevent fungal diseases, prune in clear dry conditions during the cool of the day.
As with most things in gardening there are always exceptions, so it is important to find out how your hedge variety likes to be treated and when it prefers to be pruned before attempting to trim. This is even more important with flowering hedges to avoid removing next seasons blooms.
Once you understand what your hedge needs and develop a comfortable routine, your backyard will become a green bordered sanctuary that you can enjoy with pride.