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I think we have killed part of our hedge! How do we fill the gap? Help!

(15 Posts)
Notyetthere Thu 23-Feb-17 17:41:04

Last summer Dh and I decided to install a washing line along the hedge line where the old line was previously attached to a tree that fell down in a previous storm.

After a few months we noticed that the coniferous(I think) hedging plants about 2-3 trees started to change colour and dry out. We knew then that we had damaged the roots and that we would need to remove the trees and fill the gap somehow. It is the garden boundary with our neighbours at the bottom.

As you can see from the photo, with the current raging storm, that bit of the hedge is definitely on its way down. At least it is leaning towards our garden so wont hurt any body if it fell.

Now how do we go about refilling this gap? I would like plant something there that grows very quickly like laurel to fill the gap but I am wary of the fact that the existing healthy hedge and the nearby oak tree will suck up all the ingredients that a new plant will need.

Any ideas?

Our neighbour currently has a trampoline along that area so we currently have some privacy but it wont be long before their DCs outgrow it and will be removed. We still need to fill the gap.

shovetheholly Fri 24-Feb-17 07:36:45

I'm looking at your picture and seriously wondering whether the problem isn't the washing line (generally hedging plants can cope with a bit of damage to their roots, though the pole is really close and it does seem to have caused some problems) but those large conifers. Their branches are over the top of your hedge, so it will be difficult for water and light to get to the plants below.

What do others on the forum think?

Notyetthere Fri 24-Feb-17 11:39:38

Shove yes you are right. It has always been a bit thinner than the rest of the hedge. There was a tree in the gap that died 2yrs ago leaving the thinned branches. I believe that in installing the washing pole with the concrete Base, where we hacked away some roots, this action was the final nail in coffin of an already weakened tree. I believe it is definitely our fault and slight naivety in the way we have managed our garden.

Notyetthere Fri 24-Feb-17 12:17:10

As for the large conifers, the really large one is actually a bit of a distance from the hedge; closer to the neighbour's house than the hedge. About 15m away. The other large trees are part of the hedge so they are actually side by side. When we bought the house 3yrs ago we had decided that we would have the hedge trees trimmed at the top but one thing after another became more important like dead boiler and the hedge took a seat. Now I am about to go on maternity leave, I am determined to sort it out.

Notyetthere Sat 25-Feb-17 08:31:25

Shameless bump

JT05 Sat 25-Feb-17 10:20:42

What about something that will ramble through the hedge so the gap is hidden, but would not mind being cut, such as honeysuckle or vica major.
We have a similar situation in our new garden, the hedge belongs to our neighbours who don't seem to mind gaps. I'm cultivating a straggling forsythia which has popped through a gap. Hopefully it will thicken up with careful pruning.

shovetheholly Mon 27-Feb-17 08:07:56

Are you absolutely sure that none of the branches of any conifers are extending over your hedge? It really looks from the photo like they are! But this might be the angle!

I do like JT's idea of a climber to conceal the gap. I think I might be tempted to plant something like an ornamental ivy (you can get really lovely ones that behave themselves, unlike the invasive versions) for all-year round cover and then something for flowers. There is a lovely Tropaeolum speciosum that you often see planted through posh yew hedges at stately homes- it has a wonderful, bright red flower.

HughLauriesStubble Mon 27-Feb-17 08:16:38

Something similar happened a patch of hedge at our old house and we covered it relatively quickly with ivy smile

Notyetthere Mon 27-Feb-17 17:45:23

Thank you for your responses. I was starting to worry that tumble weed was moving in. I have been known to start a thread that had no responses at all@ Anyway back to hedge. Yes It must be the angle the photo was taken. The big tall conifer is right at back so a bit of our neighbours lawn separates it from our hedge by about 10m at least. Dh has actually cut off the top half now as it was very top heavy. We have kept the bottom half as boundary for now while we decide what we can do. Ivy seems to be a popular recommendation. But my concern is that the leaning hedge tree is actually dead. When we remove it/dig it out it will leave a 1m gap in the hedge. Isn't Ivy a climber? Would it not need an existing support plant weave itself around?

shovetheholly Mon 27-Feb-17 17:50:28

Wow, I could have sworn from that picture that the middle conifer - the one right above the washing line - was growing over the hedge! I'm not doubting your word, OP, just saying that it just goes to show that a picture sometimes tells 500 words instead of 1000!

We are suggesting you plant ivy/a climber through the dead hedging plant instead of removing it - the plant would act as the frame. Alternatively, you can remove it and replant with another tree, but this will take a while to grow into the right shape.

Notyetthere Tue 28-Feb-17 08:08:47

Ah Shove that makes sense. Definitely worth a try with the ivy. I will look into what time of the year is best to plant ivy. Thank you all for your advice. Dh did cut the top off as it only needed another couple of storms and it would have fallen. The good thing is that whatever he left is still tall enough to give us privacy is a good Base for the ivy to weave itself around. Dh noted that the good thing is the neighbour's garden is at a diagonal and the tree is at a corner so our neighbours would hardly notice that the top is gone.

Trethew Wed 01-Mar-17 10:54:23

Isn't there a strain of Phytophthora that attacks hedges and turns them brown as they die? Sorry to be gloomy. Hopefully not your problem as the conifers above look healthy.

I h'ad a length of leylandii hedge which had been planted on a dry stone wall so stumps couldn't be removed. We cut it down to about 5 ft and cut off all the branches to short stumps and planted climbers through it. There was lots of ivy coming up in the ground below. Within two seasons it was completely covered with Clematis rehderiana, C montana, Golden Hop. Pretty wild looking but better than it was before

Notyetthere Wed 01-Mar-17 20:48:36

Yes, DH and I are going to the garden centre on Saturday to see what climbers are available. I like the idea of a wild hedge with lots of other plants coming out of it.

shovetheholly Thu 02-Mar-17 07:41:52

I bet you'll get loads more lovely wildlife too! We have been encouraging ivy in our hedges and we've now got a whole host of things that weren't there before, including birds like bullfinches and wrens!

Notyetthere Thu 02-Mar-17 20:21:40

Even in its current state lots of wildlife in there. Before we had the cats adopted they used to bring all sorts of wildlife from the hedge almost everyday! I now can't wait to see the ivy take hold.

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