Home Tips : Types of Hedges
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Hedges fall into three categories: formal, semiformal, and informal. Each has its own place in garden design, and each has its own requirements for pruning and training.

Formal hedges. Formal hedges are the neatly trimmed, symmetrically shaped perimeters that most people first think of when they hear the word “hedge.” These hedges are created from a single species or variety with a dense growth habit of small leaves. They can range from just a foot high to well over 6 feet tall. The overall impression is of a solid block of greenery rather than a single plant.

Boxwood (Buxus) is the classic plant for a formal hedge, but other choices include barberry (Berberis), hemlock (Tsuga), holly (Ilex), and yew (Taxus). Bamboo can also be a formal hedge choice, but you will need to buy a clumping variety and keep it well in check.

Semiformal hedges. Semiformal hedges are also usually composed of a single species or variety of plant. The difference is that the leaves are generally larger and stand out as individuals rather than a mass, and the overall plant form is somewhat less rigid. English laurel (Prunus laurocerasus), firethorn (Pyracantha), and photinia are all good choices.

Informal hedges. Rather than having a rigid, geometric shape, informal hedges are casual, creating a barrier that may change from tall to short and from wide to narrow. This style works well in natural and cottage gardens, with their emphasis on loose form and a mix of plants.

In fact, mixing a number of different hedge plants is a good way to create an informal hedge—a good choice for flowering plants, as they can be pruned and shaped so flower production isn’t inhibited. Small, informal hedges can be created from lavender (Lavendula) or santolina; medium informal hedges may consist of junipers or weigela; taller hedges might be comprised of oleander (Nerium oleander), osmanthus, or photinia.

More about hedges:

* Hedges main page
* Planting Hedges
* Caring for Hedges
* Pruning Hedges

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