Advantages and disadvantages of hedges

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Hedges need care and are not suitable for every location
Most hedge plants want a humus-rich, moist soil, need sun to partial shade and do not come so well in arid terrain. So, first of all, it's a question of location, whether a hedge can be planted or not. Like all plants, hedgerow shrubs and trees need care, they need to be watered in dry summer weeks, and from time to time fertilized, they have to be cut once or twice a year. Who wants to have a shapely and cultivated hedge, grasps probably later to the scissors. Hedges are natural habitats. They attract animals: insects live in and from the leaves and flowers, birds feed on the fruits of the hedge and the insects living in them. Maggots, worms, beetles and other small animals populate branches, trunk and root space. They in turn attract robbers - bats and birds, but also voles, hedgehogs, martens, polecats, rats and other animals feed on them.
If the hedge is close to a window or a door, it is likely that one or the other animal gets lost in the house, because the range of action of the animals is sometimes quite large. Another disadvantage of hedges is that, in contrast to fences and walls, they can attract pests that also like to attack neighboring plants. Mushroom infections and aphids, as well as wasps laying their eggs in the leaves, are included. It takes a lot of care to keep hedges healthy and, in case of infestation, to curb the spread of infections.
Summergreen or evergreen - sweep foliage or privacy even in winter?
Hedges are a natural privacy screen that is relatively durable and cost effective - this is where the advantages of the hedge lie. However, some hedges make more work than others: Evergreen hedges look beautiful in summer and winter, but are sometimes sensitive to frost and take away a lot of light in any season. In the summer it may still be nice to sit in the shade of a green (hopefully not too prickly) hedge - in winter it can be annoying when the last bit of daylight is taken away from the dense hedge.
Summer green hedges can grow close enough to provide at least marginal protection from the branches even in winter. European beech and hornbeam come into question. The trees but throw off their leaves in the fall: The foliage must be swept up, it is soon quite high and is even a danger on sidewalks and roads dar. With sweeping leaves but then it is not done, because the leaves fall over several weeks. Other contaminants are animals that live in the hedges. Bird droppings and the remnants of insects pollute nearby parked cars, near house walls and possibly everything that is next to the hedge. That can be annoying. However, this problem also affects evergreen hedges.
Yew, Cypress Family and Holly: Some plants are poisonous
There are so many trees and shrubs that grow close enough to serve as a hedge. Not all of them are native to Germany, and not all are non-toxic. Anyone who has children or lives in the neighborhood of school, kindergarten or after-school needs to think carefully about which plants are really suitable as hedges on the property boundary. Because poison plants can be dangerous, not all trigger harmless headaches. Some plants are deadly when distorted. These include among the native hedge plants the yew and the boxwood, among the introduced and widespread species of the tree of life, the holly, the cypress, the cherry laurel. Non-toxic, however, are privet and red beech. The beech tree provides beech trees in the autumn, which are edible, but with small amounts of hydrocyanic acid added. A handful of beechnuts can already cause discomfort. The leaves of the red beech are also edible. The hornbeam, which actually belongs to the birch, is also completely non-toxic and still native - this also applies to the field maple.
Better to plant native plants
Of course there are some exotic plants that are first very resistant and secondly beautiful as hedges. If these species are not native to Germany, however, their planting as a hedge in the garden is disadvantageous, because there is always the danger that the plants spread uncontrollably. Especially with a larger hedge stock is not controllable, whether seeds are blown by the wind, be carried away by animals, where they germinate and whether they may threaten native species. This may sound very far-fetched, but in fact, plants are commercially available and already introduced, which are not so easy to keep outdoors due to the German nature conservation regulations.
Tips for quick readers:

  • Most hedge plants need humus rich, slightly moist soil and partially shaded to sunny locations.
  • Hedges need to be cut once or twice a year (depending on growth), possibly more often.
  • In dry summer weeks, the plants must be watered, now and then should be fertilized.
  • Hedges attract animals that are desirable on the one hand (environmental protection), but on the other hand provide for pollution. Especially insects can get annoying.
  • Deciduous hedges do not take away too much light, but foliage must be swept in the fall. Wintergreen hedges still take up space even in the light-poor winter and shade the windows behind.
  • Poisonous hedge plants are a source of danger in gardens with children, which can have fatal consequences.
  • Non-native hedge plants can spread undesirably and become an ecological problem.
  • Benefits: Hedges are inexpensive and durable, provide habitat for indigenous animals, contribute to climate protection and provide edible food.

Further advantages and disadvantages of hedges
Advantage: visual and noise protectionRed deer, fallow deer and small game looking for shelter in a poor agricultural landscape reinforce cover behind hedges. This privacy is also perceived by people as positive, for example in the settlement area and in "buffer zones". Ranged hedge landscapes are often described as having positive values ​​such as "beautiful", "idyllic" etc., regarded as ideal and often used for recreation. Several consecutive hedges on roads also provide good soundproofing. On the other hand, it is critical to see that game scurries from cover to cover and is therefore often the victim of roads that are lined with hedges.
Disadvantage: need for pruning

Hedges are no longer used for firewood production today. This eliminates the need for rejuvenation cuts. The care of hedges must therefore be carried out today consciously, as overaged hedges in the sense of the biotope network offer only a significantly lower number of species home. If the regular and professional care of the hedge and in particular of its hem does not occur, it develops into a series of large trees. The species-rich hem bones without care; larger trees grow, which are often nuzzled because of adjacent uses: the hem disappears.
Advantage: Improvement of soil fertility
Due to the fall of leaves and dying perennials of the hem, in the autumn around the hedge there is an accumulation of soils with raw humus. The ratio of the two elements carbon and nitrogen is improved in favor of the former and thus leads to an improved nitrogen fixation. However, farmers often fear grassland locations, autumn fall could suppress fodder grasses and encourage plant communities to grow more herbs. In the long term, higher soil fertility resulted from the kinky soils, locations of former hedges, than on adjacent arable land.

Disadvantage: shadow
Shadow cast leads to a distinction between the sun exposed and the shadow side. Even lower warming on the dark side is often rated as negative, because, for example, cereals ripen there more slowly than on sunny areas. This problem can be avoided in natural farming by caring for the weed space and by planting field edge strips.
Pros and cons: Increased evaporation
Woody plants evaporate more water (botanical: transpiration) than herbaceous vegetation, in summer temperature maxima are lowered during the day and temperature minima are raised by diminished radiation and latent heat; At the same time, the higher suction tension of the hedge (woody plants) causes a water shortage for adjacent vegetation. Crops are affected if there is no hem. The expression of a dry hem is favored.

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