Hedges make attractive and useful garden features

yew hedge

Looking after the hedge

Find out the best time to tackle the hedge in your garden to keep it in shape and growing well.

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  • Beech hedge

    Beech hedging

    Beech (Fagus sylvatica) is native to the UK. It is deciduous but when grown as hedging and trimmed annually in August, the leaves will usually be retained in a dry state throughout most of the winter. This enhances its winter appearance and gives value as a year round screen.

  • Box sucker damage. Credit: RHS/Science.

    Box sucker

    Box hedges and topiary are often affected by box sucker, although the damage caused is not usually serious.

  • Box tree caterpillar

    Box tree caterpillar

    Box tree caterpillars feed within webbing and can completely defoliate box plants. It is a relatively new insect to Britain. Whilst the adult moth was first reported in the UK in 2008, caterpillars were not found in private gardens until 2011, it has since become widespread in London and surrounding areas.

  • Brown patches on a conifer hedge. Image: RHS/Tim Sandall

    Conifers: brown patches

    Brown patches in conifers can be caused by a number of reasons. Pests or diseases are responsible for some cases, but others may be caused by growing conditions or routine operations such as trimming.

  • ©RHS SCN0006189

    Euonymus scale

    Euonymus scale has become a widespread problem in England and can cause severe dieback on evergreen Euonymus species.

  • A newly planted hedge. Credit: RHS/John Trenholm.

    Hedges: planting

    Hedge plants are cheap, easy to plant and form an attractive boundary more quickly than many gardeners imagine. As well as providing structure to the garden, they can be perfect for wildlife, and particularly nesting birds.

  • Different hedges are best trimmed at different times of year. Credit: RHS/Advisory

    Hedges: pruning times

    Hedges require formative pruning on planting, plus maintenance trimming to keep them within bounds. Pruning times vary depending on the type of hedge.

  • Hedge Renovation. Credit: RHS/John Trenholm

    Hedges: renovation

    Hedges can quickly become overgrown, filling up a border and becoming difficult to maintain. Renovation may rejuvenate an old hedge. With legislation in place concerning the height of evergreen hedges, renovation may be advisable where hedges have got out of hand.

  • ©RHS PUB0019401

    Hedges: trimming

    Established hedges require trimming to keep them dense and compact. Formal hedges require more frequent trimming than informal hedges.

  • Viburnum beetle damage on Viburnum opulus

    Viburnum beetle

    Viburnum beetle can cause severe defoliation of some Viburnum species, especially V. tinus and V. opulus.

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