Hedges: Over-trimmed Hedge

Discussion in 'Gymnosperms (incl. Conifers)' started by KelliTed, Dec 29, 2007.

  1. KelliTed

    KelliTed Member

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    Dear Sir/Madam,

    I have what I believe to be a Thuja Occidentalis Pyramidalis (?columnar) hedge. This hedge consists of 40-50 trees that range roughly from 18-22 ‘ in height and approximately 2”6” in width. The hedge was cut by my gardener to 12’ in height. Since the house behind us is on a steep incline, the hedge no longer provides any privacy. The gardener is very remorseful for his error and wants to try to speed up the growth of the hedge to help restore our privacy. He plans to use a combination of fertilizer, sea salt and watering starting in February. I would like to be very careful about not causing any further damage. I have a few related questions; 1. How much growth can be expected annually? It appears to be a slow growing variety. 2. Can we expect to appreciably speed up the growth with this plan? 3. With the original top being cut off, will it be more likely to grow "out" instead of "up"? 4. If the growth is forced will the resulting tops be more susceptible to damage from wind and snow? In the attached photos, which show the "before and after" change in height, I am Not referring to the portion of the hedge that shows the lower trunks exposed, these are not involved in the privacy issue and appear to be a slightly different variety. Thank you very much for any insight/advice you may be able to provide.
     

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  2. M. D. Vaden

    M. D. Vaden Active Member 10 Years

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    Where did the gardener get the idea that they could help with sea salt? Sounds like a recipe for disaster. What if too much is used? Would you like to experience what's required to reverse poisoning of soil? Personally, I'd prefer to remain cautious and traditional, especially if my trees had so much volume topped-off. That in itself is something the plants need to contend with already.

    The use of sea salt has been the practice for which I've found less useful information than almost anything else I've ever been interested to learn about. The one thing I have found, is that if too much is used, damage will occur. But as far as measured amounts for various plants and soils, there is so little to go on.

    There is one "out of the mainstream" researcher that uses sea salt to try and combat problems with oaks, but his work is not verified.

    When that much height is removed, you should not get much more growth with fertilizer than without it. A little more, but not much.

    Yes, it will spread wider faster than before, because natural hormone production areas at the top were removed, and those plant hormones inhibited some of the lower development.

    From looking at your photo, I think you need two growing seasons to block the view of the other house, from where your photo was taken.

    Don't you get enough rain in your area during February to handle the water needs?
     
  3. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I too am scratching my head. SEA salt?? can someone advise why one uses this. I have been in and around nursery people for years and I have never heard of this.

    Re the hedge give it time if he has not hacked the growing tips off it will recover. New ones will take over from the side and make there way up. I have seen our electric co. people do bad hairday jobs on similar hedges and they do recover. Next time maybe just clip the sides a bit and while they are low estimate how many feet you will need in upward growth before scissor man gets stuck into it again :)

    Liz
     
  4. KelliTed

    KelliTed Member

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    Re: two growing seasons and rain in February

    The remaining hedge is 12" high, I have estimated that it would require 3' ft of growth to just cover the windows of the neighboring house while standing on the patio. I find the picture image shows more depth than is truly there. Do you feel the hedge could grow 3 ' in two growing seasons? I had someone tell me they would not grow more that 6-8" per year.

    Victoria has damp winters and dry summers. Because of the "rain shadow effect" there is significantly less rain in Victoria (608 mm/yr) compared to areas close by (Port Renfrew, 80 km away receives 3671 mm/yr and Vancouver, 100 km away, receives 1219mm annually). The average monthly precipitation is Jan-94.3mm, Feb-71.7mm, March-46.5mm; April-28.5mm, May-25.8mm; June-20.7mm; July-14.0mm, Aug-19.7mm, Sept-27.4mm; Oct-51.2mm, Nov-98.9mm, Dec-108.9mm. Should we water continuously throughout the summer?

    Thank you again for your thoughts and advice.

    Kelli
     
  5. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Kelli, your Victoria sounds the same as my Victoria weather wise. Maybe our winters are a bit warmer rarely below freezing and we have a few very hot summers days 42 C promised for tomorrow. Your rain is much higher too by the look of it. I suspect it will need two seasons at least to start getting back to its old self. When they cut the hedges around here they constantly tip prune them but if it is let go they seem to put on a good foot. Here they are used as wind breaks for the flower fields and they are constantly beng planted along electric line areas. I would just put up with the hedge or you might have to resort to a trellis type screen up in front ot behind if you can get in there. Just put it above the hedge line on high posts if that could be an option. Need to be carefull it does not touch the hedge or you will end up with die back.
    According to the note below it takes a couple of years to thicken up after a heavy prune so looks like you will have to wait. BUT no sea salt. Maybe a bit of mulch and bone meal or compost.

    http://www.groundtradesxchange.com/...entalis_pyramidalis/thuja-occ-pyramidalis.htm

    Liz
     
  6. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    sodium chloride, aka sea salt is not a mineral I would associate with the needs of a plant. fertilizers can be, if applied in the amounts shown to be lacking in the soil.
    Rapid regrowth may result in weak, spindly growth, MORE prone to snow or other weather damages. My opinion would be to test the soil to see what it may or may not lack, apply minerals or products based on this test (a blend of organics and 'non organics' may be best).

    To augment the minerals consider applying a kelp based product or slow releasing (preferably organic like sea soil or a manure product) over the root zone. Otherwise aerating the root zone and applying appropriate water would be the best course of action.

    And hire someone else for your (important) garden work, excuses and apologies dont fix the problem, they just make someone feel better about what has been done.
     
  7. KelliTed

    KelliTed Member

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    Thank you very much, I really appreciate your advice. To test the soil would I just consult my local garden center for the supplies required?
     
  8. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I'm guessing your gardener meant Epsom salts, not sea salt. I just did an internet search for "epsom salts plant growth" and found a few interesting links.

    With respect to watering, and nutrients for that matter, it looks to me as if your hedge has some serious root competition from trees on the other side. For that reason, I'd say that a little supplemental watering, and maybe nutrients, wouldn't hurt, independent of the excessive cutback. But I think M.D. is right in that the plants will be experiencing a growth spurt now whether you fertilize or not.

    When you water, keep in mind that the root zone is not right under the plants, but surrounding them.

    With respect to privacy, I wonder if those self-same trees won't mitigate the problem a little come summer. And if they don't, I'd play with sightlines in keeping with the idea put forward by Liz about trellises, pergolas, umbrellas, or for that matter a new fairly large caliper tree strategically placed in your yard. If you value privacy in the short term, the erection of such a structure might be a couple of hundred dollars well spent. It is a common assumption that screens must be erected at the property line for such privacy issues, but that is far from being the case - it depends on just where you want privacy in the yard, from what vantage point. A screening shrub mid-yard can do wonders.

    Finally, if the problem really bugs you, you could also see how much it would cost to buy and have planted (not a DIY job, this) one or two of the most important single hedge plants that block the view angle that bothers you most. I'm not sure they're available in that size, but they might be, and in this neck of the woods, this would be about the right time of year to do it.
     
  9. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    for the soil test you could begin with a garden center type retail product and see if there is any gross deficiencies but the best bet is to send it to a soil lab. I dont know of one on the island but you could search for norwest labs in Langley, they are under new management but the search engines should stil find them easily. a full test will likely run about 60 or 70 dollars and is very complete.
     
  10. growing4it

    growing4it Active Member 10 Years

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    Perhaps the gardener meant sea weed, not sea salt....

    Cedar hedges unfortunately tolerate hard pruning. I say unfortunately because, people will prune them hard. I expect that your cedar hedge will continue to grow but it will never be the same and ultimately the health of the cedars will be compromised. It's going to take time to restore your privacy. KarinL does have an interesting suggestion to replace the too short hedges but it may be too costly and too disruptive to the adjacent plants to replace some of the 12' cedars with taller cedars.... but you may want to look into it.
     
  11. KelliTed

    KelliTed Member

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    Thank you for the further information. The link for soil testing in Abbotsford follows.

    http://www.bodycotetesting.com/category.aspx?catid=1973[/url]

    I also worried about disturbing the neighboring trees if I just decided to replace a couple of them. I was told by one person that the root balls for a tree that size could be up to 4 ft in diameter. Do you know of a name of potential supplier in the Vancouver area for min 15 ft trees of this type? I think it is worthwhile to consider all the options thoroughly. I was told you could not get ttrees of this size here on Vancouver Island.

    I will have to clarify exactly what it is my gardener wishes to apply, but since I want quality growth more than quantity I will probably have a certified arborist just come and apply a good quality fetilizer. Thank you all for the information you have provided. I can at least feel that I am making informed decisions.
     
  12. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Since I raised the replacement option I will say that disturbance of the neighbouring plants and the risk of failure (and thus a worsening of the situation) are the two reasons I would not personally choose to do it. But for someone else the risk of failure might be more tolerable than the frustration of just gritting their teeth and waiting for two or three years. Type A personalities and all that...

    As for sources, I don't really know the market for plants of that size at all. The only place I ever see really big plants for sale is along #6 road in Richmond, at Art's Tree Farm (which is a great place for trees big and small) or another place called Greens in Gardens or something like that. English is not much spoken in either operation so it would be hard to phone and check with them, especially at GIG - at Art's a phone call would be worth a try.
     
  13. KelliTed

    KelliTed Member

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    Thank you all for your help. I just checked out a book from the library on "Arbors". :-)

    Kelli
     
  14. Debby

    Debby Active Member 10 Years

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    I think the gardener meant Sea Soil, a B.C. product from Port McNeill--it's a combination of fish-processing waste and bark from the logging industry, composted for two years. A fine amendment.

    Thujas need plenty of water during the summer!
     
  15. Dave-Florida

    Dave-Florida Active Member

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    Ahhh. Sea soil. Floridians have been known to collect Sargassum seaweed from the beach for use as fertilizer.
     
  16. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    That gets my vote for best guess.
     
  17. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Marine algae has been used to grow potato plants on barren rocky islands.
     
  18. KelliTed

    KelliTed Member

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    I spoke with him again today, he did mean/say sea soil. It sounds like you agree it would be a good fertilizer?
     
  19. Debby

    Debby Active Member 10 Years

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    Yes! Sea Soil is great! As they say on their web site, Sea Soil will:
    - Add micro and macro nutrients
    - Retain moisture
    - Increase Organic Content
    - Build a healthy garden by encouraging "the good bugs"
    - Introduce beneficial micro-organisms to your garden
     
  20. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Soils vary. As with any nutrient source should be applied where the combination and concentration of nutrients it provides matches the need of the specific soil being treated. If it doesn't provide enough of a deficient nutrient or too much of another then its use may not produce the desired result.
     
  21. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Sea soil is a good soil conditioner but as Ron B said, you cant treat something without diagnosing the problem first. If its a major mineral issue or pH problem a soil test will tell you what you need to add, choosing the prodcut to use will be based on that info. I think this year the Sea Soil brand began putting the mineral analysis on the label which is a good thing.

    I have met the man that mixes, makes and sells the stuff a number of times, a good fellow from what I have seen. But he keeps trying to give me a sea soil ball cap, I dont wear hats! my loss I suppose.
     
  22. KelliTed

    KelliTed Member

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    Maybe he could mix a little of the sea soil into the fibres of the ball cap and market it to those wishing better hair growth. He would improve his advertising and just may substantially increase his profits :-) Oh, and I will definitely test the soil first. Thank you for your input.
     
  23. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    ha, not for me, full head of hair here! Rick is a good guy and seems to care about the product he produces. :)
     

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