Espalier, Hedge Trimming and Pleaching to the Converted.

Creating a hedge and tree pruning are gardening techniques which can be used to great effect in any visually any size of garden. These techniques can be used to control and direct the size, shape and direction of plant growth. When combined with plant supports, such as trellises and other plants, an interesting garden effect can be created. Of course, pruning is also used to encourage fruit tree growth and to improve plant health by encouraging air circulation. The use of hedge planting and pruning has been a feature of mediterranean gardens and English classic garden design for centuries.

Buxus sempervirens English box hedge with shrubs trimmed with a spiral pattern.
A great garden border with Buxus sempervirens English box hedge with topiary shrubs trimmed with a spiral pattern.

If shrubs and trees are allowed to grow uncontrolled, they may become to large for the space in your garden. Often branches are left at an awkward height near pathways that can result in safety issues. It is often the case that a tree of shrub will become misshaped through natural growth and some pruning is required to improve its aesthetics.
A neatly trimmed Gold Coast Hedge.
A neatly trimmed Gold Coast Hedge with palms in the background. A ceramic pot and paving make a great contrast with the green fine leaf hedge.

For flowering shrubs and trees, the correct pruning technique will encourage new growth of younger shoots and in some cases more flowering in the longer term. Annual pruning of fruit trees will often result in better quality and larger fruit as well as a reduction in fungal diseases.
Murraya paniculata 'min-a-min' is a fine textured evergreen wood shrub that makes a great hedge.
Murraya paniculata ‘min-a-min’ is a fine textured evergreen wood shrub that makes a great hedge.

Keeping your garden hedge well maintained in the first place, will save you money and add value to your property. A hedge that is not well maintained may not only lose its shape, but will leave bare patches of hedge when it is finally shaped with the trimmer or saw.
 
If a hedge is not well maintained, it will eventually need to be cut back hard.
If a hedge is not well maintained, it will eventually need to be cut back hard.

Trimmed circular hedge around a driveway water feature.
Trimmed circular hedge around a driveway water feature.

 
Espalier
Originally developed in Europe to grow fruit trees in a microclimate, a warm wall was used to provide heat and support to the plant. Later, trellises were also used to support espalier plants.
An espalier Plant on a red brick wall. Heat stored in the wall helps to produce fruit earlier in the season.
An espalier Plant on a red brick wall. Heat stored in the wall helps to produce fruit earlier in the season.

Supports for espalier plants now include wooden, metal and wire supports as well as stone, brick and even glass walls. Espalier is a great technique for improving the look of a fence or wall especially in the case of a small garden.
Espalier against a stone building. Espalier is not just for fruit trees.
Espalier against a stone building. Espalier is not just for fruit trees.

A great idea for an screening plant, is to create a bamboo frame directly on the tree.
A great idea for an screening plant is to create a bamboo frame directly on the tree.

 
Pleaching
Pleaching is a great technique for creating a screen for garden privacy. Pleaching can be applied not only in a straight line, but also as a circle or rectangle.
A pleached Lime circle at Kew Botanical Gardens.
A pleached Lime circular hedge at Kew Botanical Gardens. Photographed in winter to show the training structure.

Branches are woven to form a pleach whilst they are still flexible.
Branches are woven to form a pleach whilst they are still flexible.

 
Pleaching is a great way to create a green privacy screen in your garden. It can also be used to create an impenetrable hedge which can be used as a fence. It makes a nice alternative to a wire fence in rural areas.
Pleaching can be used to create a living hedge.
Pleaching can be used to weave a living fence.

 
If you would like a qualified horticulturist to take a look at your hedging needs contact us.

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For mored advice on how to trim hedges , check the Stihl garden trimmer site;
https://www.stihl.in/the-correct-way-to-cut-hedges.aspx

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