Thursday, June 17, 2010

Hedge Update One Year Later

You may remember my story of planting a privacy hedge last year. I had ordered a fast-growing hedge on the Internet. It is called the Rapid Merlot Hybrid by Rocky Mountain AUSTREE Inc. at These are the posts to refresh your memory and to do before and after comparisons:

Hedge Update

Unfortunately, three out of ten of those buggers didn't survive the winter and the rest are only barely hanging on.

I followed all the care directions, feeding the hedge at the proper times, weeding and watering. I must have invested over $800 and many hours of my time in this project. The directions did say to prune the hedge at a specific time to help it grow out to the sides instead of just up, however my husband believes the pruning is what did them in. Nothing young survives in Nevada.

All the remaining trees are just basically putting out shoots from the roots. Not much is growing off the original stalks and branches.

I'm kind of suspicious of my neighbor, because she protested the hedge since it would block her guest's view of our property, which has a nice, park-like setting. But it is our property and we do like our privacy. Anyway, she is always sending her gardeners out to spray poison along our fence line because she doesn't want weeds or grass poking through. I wouldn't be surprised if that poison killed the hedge.

The other culprits I am suspicious of are the moles. I had dug out a nice trench so that I could just lay the hose at the top of the hedge and the water would flow down the hill watering all the hedges. However, this spring I discovered that some moles dug holes through my trench into my neighbor's yard, so when I lay the hose down, the water just goes into her yard instead of down through all the trees. At that point I gave up and let the grass grow where it will. I stopped weeding or caring.

In the future I'm just going to have to save up for a cold, hard wall. I prefer to use nature as a privacy screen, but it's just too difficult to keep it alive. Rocky Mountain AUSTREE Inc. does have a clause that says they can't be held responsible or offer replacements for dead trees. That's understandable, because they have no control over my neighbor's gardeners poisoning my trees or the moles digging through the roots or the long, cold winters. Unfortunately, I have no control over that either.


lytha said...

that is horrible, after all your work, and so much money! i have the same story to tell about my blue cypress hedge that i tried to grow a year ago. the deer LOVE them. in fact, it's the only thing the deer eat around here, (that's good i guess) but it is such a pathetic looking hedge! yesterday i cut off all the brown branches and noticed how the deer are stripping the bark. out of 15 bushes, 3 look like they might survive. and you know me, i cannot stand to take a picture of ugly things so i cannot take a photo of what is left. i think soon my man will ask me to rip them out, but i am holding out hope.

i noticed a lot of people lost their laurel hedges/bushes this year due to three months of snow. i feel so bad for our nextdoor neighbors, they have this massive majestic laurel bush as tall as a house, and it is completely dead now.

this is how i learn about what grows and does not grow in germany - our winters are nothing like seattle's.

thanks for sharing and i totally feel your pain - but thankfully did not spend as much money...


fernvalley01 said...

Don't give up hope , I had a honeysuckle that looked toatally dead the fist year after I planted it , I was just going ot ding it up and chuck it when it suddenly took off and was huge in 2 years. Sometimes the shoots are toughter than the original plant. Agian , I am amazed at the sheer gall of your neighbors ! arguing the privacy hedge so she can have a nice veiw of YOUR BACK YARD?

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I'm thinking that if the hedge doesn't come back, I'll start planting Locust tree seeds along the fence. Locust trees grow wild around here, even in places where you don't want them, and their pods trip you around every turn in the fall. Since these are shade trees, they wouldn't provide the same coverage as a hedge, but it's better than nothing.

Johara said...

Is the fence yours or theirs? You could get those strips that you weave into chainlink, it only provides a screen for as high as the fence is, but it might be better then nothing - and it would help keep the poison off your plants a little bit.

Have you considered using cottonwood or russian olive saplings? Most people don't like to use them and I can understand why (thorns, the smell, the allergies, the floating cotton to name a few), but those suckers can grow anywhere!

I have 2 honeysuckle and 3 lilac bushes in my front yard, and their grow was reduced back to first year plants because of the 6 weeks of non-stop freezing weather we got. :(

Dreaming said...

Oh, I feel your pain and disappointment. Don't give up! We are discovering the same things here. Many of our neighbors and even the local nurseries have had huge losses. Evidently this winter was very, very harsh for plants: both young and established. On top of the arid conditions and cold we had a lot of wind. Then, we had a period of warm weather that fooled the plants into thinking spring was coming...they began to put up buds, and the cold hit.
It is discouraging. Time and money and high hopes. Our bushes and trees planted almost 3 years ago that survived the winter are no bigger, and some are even smaller, I understand your wanting quick privacy - but give it time. It will come and it will be beautiful!

Callie said...

Oh dear, I nice TALL Picket fence perhaps, but fencing is so expensive.........good luck!

appydoesdressage said...

You are in Nevada and this is an north eastern plant that loves water, but I have pussy willow trees and with halfway decent water they will grow 3-5 feet a year. Enough I have a hard time keeping them shrubs. Good luck, hope that helps.

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

I agree that you shouldn't give up on them just yet. Don't cut off the dead looking original branches either. I realize that they do not look attractive, but it is possible that they are not really dead and may come back next year. Keep watering them too.

If you wanted to protect them from the neighbor's sprays, you could get some thin plywood and wire that to the fence behind the trees. The neighbor would have to deliberately reach over the fence...although, she may just be brazen enough to do that-LOL.

I'd say losing only 3 of the 10 after this last winter is actually doing pretty good.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Bummer! I'm so sorry the hedge plan didn't pan out.

Have you considered a coyote fence?
They look more natural because they are made of thin unstripped tree branches/trunks and can be up to 8 feet tall if desired. They are fairly affordable and can even be put up by yourself.

Good luck,