Tag Archives: rejuvenate hedge

Gardening in winter

Gardening in winter
jobs to do in winter, winter tasks in the garden, winter gardening jobs

When I started From the ground up in early 2016 many detractors suggested that I’d have nothing to do across the winter. They could not have been more wrong. Gardening in winter is not only plentiful, but essential.

Many jobs can be done in winter, allowing more time for essentials in the spring.

Two key winters gardening jobs are pruning back trees, hedges and shrubs, and planting bulbs.

Bulb tradition

We traditionally think of planting bulbs in September, maybe October. God forbid you forget, you can get away with November. But the cold months are different now to the traditional view; winter does not really kick in until December. And even then, the ground is often warm still, and perfectly OK for planting bulbs.

This coincides with bulbs suppliers reducing their prices,   meaning that you can get twice as many bulbs for your money.

There is still that concern that you might not get exactly what you want, so if there is a “must have” selection, order then early and pay the price. Places where any “late red tulip”, or a generic small stemmed daff will do can often be filled cheaply. Just wait for prices to come down. Tulips are able to be planted out later than Daffodills, which can always started in pots under cover. These are ready to be planted out in February – or sink the pot – where there is a gap.

if you are planting 10 tulips or crocus then this will matter little. If you are creating a garden for impact, or developing themes year on year then saving time and money really makes a difference.

For a few years I have coveted Allium Globemaster, with 20cm globes on robust 1m stems. But at £3 to £5 each form many suppliers I could not justify the cost of creating an impact. In the sale this year 10 bulbs cost just £11, a reasonable cost for adding this element into my plan.

Gardening in winter
Allium Globemaster make a big impact

But the real gardening in winter is in tree, shrub and hedge care.

Gardening guides suggest that many shrubs require pruning in early spring. Again this is subjective, depending on where you are in the country. And how you define spring.

But lots of trees need attention while the sap is not rising, including Apples. And many shrubs are preferably pruned while dormant. Rejuvenation pruning, where hard pruning back is required after a period of overgrowth or neglect, is best done between November and March. That fits with the majority of definitions of “before spring”.

Examples include Berberis, coloured stem Dogwood, Spiraea, Deutzia
Fuchsia, Corylus, Leycesteria, Philadelphus, Cotinus and Salix.

The only plants that cannot be pruned hard are conifers.  These are mostly unable to regrow from old wood.

Deciduous hedges should also be pared back now. This is the ideal time to cut back those hedges that have become ever wider.  Prune back to a stouter more rigid frame, so the bush can present a softer more manageable face. This will need trimming as new growth gets to two – three buds.  And it should be cut to form an upward slant from a slightly wider base. This slanting or “batter” enables light to reach the bottom, allowing more even growth.

Doing this gardening in winter should leave more time for the spring essentials, like clearing ornamental grasses, and dead heading day lillies; things that cannot be done at any other time.

Renovation care

Restorative or maintenance pruning in winter is done at the expense of future flowering of the shrub, so you could lose some of this year’s flowering.  With large shrubs or hedges do it gradually, allowing the chance for recovery. Shrubs should be reduced in stages over two years, and hedges one side at a time, and the height at another time to the sides.

A good feed and mulch will help the plants recover.

Attending to the hedge sides separately means that it still maintains some integrity. When the side cut back in winter has recovered fully, the other side can then be reduced. This may be the following autumn. Otherwise wait until the gaps have filled in.

I have an overgrown elaeagnus that has a few leaves on the very outside of a large empty space. I don’t like it as a hedging plant; it not dense enough. So I am going to cut the outside face back hard.

Gardening in Winter
Overgrown Elaeagnus  before cutting back

Hopefully it will become dense enough to work as a hedge for both privacy and security. If not I will replace it completely.

 

Gardening in Winter
And after 30cm has been removed

Cutting high hedges

Cutting high hedges

Cutting high hedges, trimming high hedges, hedge trimming Bourne End, hedge cutting  Bourne End, Marlow, Flackwell heath
A few years ago I had quotes to have my Leylandii hedge cut. It was not overgrown, but rather tall, and long, and the warm weather really gets it growing.

The prices I got then for my 40 meter long, 3.5 metre high hedge were £80 and £95. For each side!

It sounded a little steep so I tested it with a time and motion study.

When I have cut the hedge myself in the past it has taken over 3 hours to cut each side. This was mainly because of the requirement to constantly climb on to an access platform and then down again to move it along. And the fact that I used a comparatively short cutting blade. 70cms would normally be considered long, but when faced with 140 square metres it’s small.

Cutting high hedges
120 square metres of hedge took me a about 3 hours to cut and more time to clear up.

Cutting the top involves a trapeze act with two ladders. So cutting from the ground instead is infinitely safer, as well as faster.

But that is all in the past. Now From the ground up has long reach and extendable hedge cutters and high access equipment.  These commercial cutters with 30mm teeth made light work of the hedge in an hour and a half total. On my current garden rates that would cost less than £60 per side.

Cutting tougher hedges

But Leylandii is not a measure of robustness, so I took on the neighbours Laurel as well. The machines did not flinch. Memories of struggling to place an access platform between shrubs came back, reminding me of hours wasted and scratches all over me.

Cutting high hedges
Conifer hedges should not be cut after the end of August.

So if you’re fed up of cutting high hedges, and the hedge is up to 14 feet tall, we can cut it well and for a good price.

A hedge that is overgrown and requires larger branches cutting out will inevitably take a little longer. This would be renovation more than a cut or trim.

safe trestle
Good equipment overcomes difficult access for high hedges

Hedge trimmings can be taken away, depending on volume and nature. Compostable materials are shredded and taken to our local compost plot,  or put in the green recycling bin. Some residue can be burned, or worst case it will be taken to local authority tip. This is a last resort given the expense.

August and September is the time to cut hedges. Call us for an estimate to cut your hedges now. Or email us here.

 

 

 

Gardener Bourne End, cutting high hedges Bourne End Marlow Flackwell Heath, hedge cutting Cookham, Wooburn Green, Taplow, hedge renovation, hedge trimming, hedge reduction