Is your hedge way too big and wide? Have you left out some pruning? Or would you like to redesign your old garden? But then you could also rejuvenate your hedge by cutting it back heavily. However, it’s not that easy: after all, not all hedge plants are the same when it comes to pruning. That’s why you should take a few more precautions first before doing any rejuvenation pruning. Buy especially pruning-tolerant hedge plants if you have little or no experience with cutting a hedge.
Rejuvenation pruning is not possible for all hedge plants.
Of course, before you start rejuvenation pruning in your garden, it should be clear whether or not your hedge plants can be cut back that much at all. Unfortunately, conifers that are already too overgrown cannot tolerate rejuvenation pruning. That is why we always recommend our customers to prune conifer hedges regularly. Especially in the case of fast-growing hedge plants, such as Leyland cypress, pruning should never be omitted, otherwise bare spots will appear in the hedge, which can not be corrected afterwards. By the way, this does not apply to yew, which, by the way, as a conifer, grows much slower than other conifers.
This has to do with the fact that the yew, unlike other varieties of conifers, has so-called dormant buds. In simpler terms, these are then buds of new, green leaves (in this case needles) that have not yet been able to develop because they grow in the shade of other leaves. However, if you then cut your yews back heavily, for example to the old wood, then these buds will suddenly unfold and sprout strongly due to the sunlight. Does your hedge not have dormant buds? Then you should take special care when pruning your hedge plants to cut away only green branches and avoid deep pruning into the old wood.
What should you pay attention to when rejuvenating a hedge?
Regular pruning is extremely important to prevent hedges from growing too wide in the first place. Pruning is also important because it promotes the compactness of your hedge. This is because most plants branch out at the exact point where they were cut back. So pruning makes plants more fully bushy. When pruning, also make sure that the hedge is kept a little wider towards the bottom. This way, all parts of the hedge will get enough sunlight and the hedge will grow more evenly as a result. If you keep this in mind, hedges that grow too wide will quickly become a thing of the past.
Do you simply not have enough time to trim your hedge? Maybe you don’t like tightly trimmed hedges? Then you should give your hedge a rejuvenation cut. If rejuvenation cuts are not an option for you, then of course you can replace your hedge completely. Before you start trimming your hedge, pay particular attention to the branches of your hedge. Can you spot any buds on the branches? Then these buds should be preserved in any case when cutting, so that your hedge can also sprout again well after the pruning. It would be a shame if this is not taken into account.
The time for rejuvenation pruning should also be carefully determined. In fact, winter is best for heavy pruning. However, do not prune during frosty weather, or the plants will suffer frost damage. Rejuvenation pruning should not take place on warm spring days or even in summer, because then there is a risk that your hedge plants will get burn marks from the sun. These burn marks can then appear not only on the fresh cuts, but also on the trunk of the plants in question. This is because rejuvenation cuts ensure that certain parts of your hedge suddenly get a lot of sunlight, which were previously covered by leaves and branches and therefore lay in the shade.
Which hedge plants are particularly suitable for rejuvenation?
So it’s best to select hedge plants that can handle rejuvenation pruning when you don’t have time to cut your plants. After all, it’s always interesting to know whether or not your plants respond well to pruning. For example, butterfly bush is a plant that needs rejuvenation pruning every year, as it should be cut back to 40 to 60 inches above the ground every year. These rejuvenation cuts are not strictly necessary, but heavy pruning will definitely have a beneficial effect on flowering, which is why the butterfly bush is so popular. Privet can also tolerate rejuvenation pruning, so you can cut it down to the old wood.
There are also evergreen hedge plants that are particularly tolerant of pruning. The lush flowering rhododendron is a good example. You don’t need to cut back a rhododendron hedge regularly, but you can always cut it back to the old wood if necessary. This is also true for boxwood and other popular boxwood replacement options, think Japanese holly here. However, because these plants are slow-growing, you can easily control the growth. The old wood of a cherry laurel or firethorn can also resprout. However, the firethorn flowers and berries will then not be seen again until the following year, because firethorn flowers only appear on branches that are at least one year old.