How to Grow a Thick Hedge

How To Grow A Thick Hedge

Having a beautiful thick hedge in your garden is a fantastic way to ensure more privacy when you’re sitting outside enjoying some quality time with your partner or friends.

But it’s also aesthetically pleasing, much more than thin, scraggly hedges.

Do you really need to grow hedges?

There are many benefits to growing hedges. They add definition to your garden design while also helping to block wind and keep some eyesores in the garden out of sight, such as washing lines or compost heaps.

Some people avoid hedges because they think it’s lots of work to maintain them. If you want to grow big and beautiful hedges, you’ll be pleased to know that we’re going to give you all the information you need to make it happen in your garden, and it’s nothing too difficult to achieve.

We’ll start by looking at what hedges grow the thickest so that if you haven’t yet chosen the right hedge for your garden, maybe these ones will inspire you!

What Are Some Fast Growing Hedges?

What Are Some Fast Growing Hedges?

If you want to grow thick hedges it certainly helps to know what type of hedges will grow the quickest and thickest. This will save you time and ensure that you’re not disappointed or have to put in lots of extra work to try to make your hedges look beautiful.

  • Leylandii is a conifer that’s regarded as an evergreen hedge which grows the fastest. You can expect it to grow 90cm per year, which is quite amazing indeed, especially if you like your hedges to be dense.  
  • Cherry laurel. This is an evergreen hedge that grows in direct sunlight or shady areas of the garden without a hassle. It can grow up to 60cm in a year, but be warned that all parts of it are toxic to humans. The cherry laurel looks stunning with its bright green and shiny leaves. It will attract more bees to your garden, while its berries attract birds.
  • Privet. This hedge offers dense growth, so it’s perfect if you need a hedge to grow quickly for more privacy in your garden. You can expect the privet to grow between 30 to 60cm every year. It looks beautiful because it has small white flowers that bloom, and you’ll love that it’s really easy to shape if you can’t spend a lot of time on gardening tasks.

How Big Do You Want Your Hedges To Be?

Before you just choose the first hedge that catches your eye, make sure you choose the right size.

Consider how large the hedge will become so that you’ll be able to find the hedge that’s right for your specific needs. Here are some hedges to consider purchasing depending on size.

  • If you’re looking for a hedge that will grow up to five feet in height, your choices include Glossy Abelia and Dwarf Crape Myrtle.
  • If you want a hedge that will reach between six and 10 feet in height, consider gardenia, cleyera, and Japanese barberry.
  • If you want hedges that are taller than 10 feet, consider Scarlet Firethorn, Japanese yew, boxwood, and Sawara false cypress.

How To Grow Thicker Hedges

You’ve got the hedge you want. Now let’s look at important tips you should follow to encourage it to grow.

Plant Your Hedges At The Right Time

The time you choose in which to plant hedges in your garden is important because this will influence how well they will grow.

Basically, the best time to plant hedges is during the fall up until early spring. This will prevent you having to deal with frost issues during the colder months.

Planting your hedges outside of this time can work, but it will require a bit more effort on your part, such as when it comes to watering them well to prevent their roots from becoming dry.

Focus On Water And Fertilizer

The first two growing seasons of the hedge’s life are really important. You need to ensure you give it a lot of water during this time. Aim for watering your hedges for approximately 40 minutes every few days to saturate them with enough water.

To enhance their growth, also give your hedges fertilizer during the spring. This will ensure that before the growing season commences, the hedges will have all the nutrients they need to grow. You want to use a slow-release fertilizer that’s rich in nitrogen for this purpose.

Know How To Space Them For Maximum Growth

You want to plant your hedges close together so that they will grow quickly and create that thickness you’re after. So, make sure you plant them about three feet apart. If your hedges are smaller, then you can go ahead and plant them about two feet apart.

If, on the other hand, your hedges are expected to grow very large, then space them further apart from each other to ensure they will have enough space.

Prepare The Soil

As with any other plant, before you put the hedges into the ground you need to prepare their soil.

Eliminate unwanted grass and weeds in the area. Then, till the soil before spreading organic matter such as compost or peat moss over it. You should aim for a three-inch layer of this matter.

When you plant your hedges, make sure you don’t plant them too deeply into the ground. The top of the root ball should be in line with the soil.

Once you have planted them, make sure you add mulch and water.

Trim Hedges At The Right Time

You need to trim your hedges so that you can encourage them to grow. Trimming helps your hedges to resist pest infestations, it makes more branches grow, and it helps to shape them so that they look their best.

Now, in order to trim your hedges properly, you must trim them at the right time. During late winter or early spring is when you should trim your hedges.

This is because plants lose less of their sap, fluid that carries nutrients to the plants, during this time of the year, so they won’t experience a lot of distress from the cuts made during the trimming process.

Cut Only What’s Necessary

Don’t just cut any part of the hedge! You should only focus on overgrown branches, limp stems, diseased branches, and stems that are growing at acute angles.

Use The Right Tools

The tool you should use to trim your hedges will depend on the size of its branches. Basically, if the branches are 0.75 to 1.5 inches in diameter, use loopers because they have longer blades.

If your branches are three or more inches, opt for electric pruners that will be able to tackle that thickness while also being easier to use.

Cut Branches Correctly!

You want to give the hedge as little distress as possible so that it can recover and grow in a healthy way. So, follow these steps to cut your hedges correctly to stimulate their growth:

  • Make a surface cut near the stem collar of the branch. The stem collar is the place where a branch and stem connect.
  • Next, make a second cut opposite the first one you made, but choose to make it a little higher up or down the branch so that the part you want to cut will fall off.
  • Finally, cut the stub so that there’s no peeling off the bark.

If you follow these tips when trimming your hedges, you’ll prevent causing distress to the plants while also encouraging them to be healthy so they can grow.  

Related Questions

How do you fill gaps in hedges?

Here’s an idea: dig a trench in front of the hedge, fill it up with compost, and then plant shrubs in it that like a bit of shade. This will help to fill in the gaps in your primary hedge quite nicely.

How do you fix a hedge that’s widened at the top?

Hedges tend to grow wider at the top because they receive the most sunlight there.

To remedy this, start shearing the hedge at the bottom and work your way up. You might want to use a string attached to two stakes to guide you when cutting the top of the hedge so that it’s straight and even.


Having luscious, beautiful hedges attract the eye and can serve some clever purposes in your garden, like acting as screens for privacy. However, if your hedges aren’t growing quickly, this can prove frustrating.

After reading this article, you now have a better idea of how to grow and care for hedges so that they will thrive and give you a fuller, thicker appearance in less time.

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