The Hedge in August/September

August is a transition month – we’re still in summer, but gardeners are starting to think about autumn. And it’s an important month for the hedge…
August/September is a good month to plant ANY hedge – from Photinia Red Robbin to Griselinia littoralis; Cherry Laurel  (picture above) to Yew; Common Beech to Western Red Cedar.
The ground is still warm and soft, frosts are still some weeks away and the new plant will have the time to settle in before the weather turns. Having said that, container grown hedging can, of course, be planted at any time of the year except when the ground is waterlogged or actually frozen. But as planting a hedge is the most labour intensive part of hedge ownership (for most of us the annual trimming is rarely that strenuous or time consuming) why not do it when the weather is good and you can enjoy the task? Of course digging is always digging, but it’s so much more pleasurable when done in shirtsleeves and warm sunshine and when the ground isn’t fighting back. Don’t forget to water in.
August (and early September) is also the last chance to take the shears or electric clippers to your hedge – leave it any later and the plants won’t have time to recover and heal before the weather turns. If we’re blessed with an Indian summer, you may still be able to safely cut a hedge later in September, but it’s a gamble and, frankly, not worth the risk. It’s a brave gardener who assumes the weather will co-operate. And, as with planting, it’s still a good time to be out in the open.
NB: As with all things horticultural, there are a few exceptions: Yew is best pruned from September to November and Pittosporum can be safely trimmed into October.
Most Lavenders will have finished flowering by the end of August / early September and should be cut back as soon as the flowers go over.