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Covering old evergreen conifer hedge

Dawn21Dawn21 Posts: 7
Hi... we have a 12ft conifer hedge (east facing) that is looking really tired... brown bits etsc, but if offers great privacy and we cant afford to replace it. So i want to grow something up it to hide it if possible. I tried clematis/ honeysuckle but they never really took off and pretty sure its too dryow nutrition. But I'm wondering about trying again but putting climbers in large pots with enough water/ plant food. Im wondering whether to try clematis/honeysuckle again but also possibly using a climbing rose? Thoughts and advice anyone on how to make this work greatefully received!! Thanks


  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,044
    my feeling is that it will never be " a thing of beauty" It'll just look like a  rubbishy old hedge with stuff growing through it.
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 11,152
    I agree - sorry.
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • RubytooRubytoo Posts: 1,323
    Do you know what conifer it might be?
    Sometimes giving it a good feed in spring and continuing to feed and water will help with new growth. Unless it is the jolly old Leylandii which has been cut too far back into....
    Also foliar feeding can help in some situations.
    We inherited L's from previous owners and have painfully slowly grown Taxus ( Yews) just forward and in between while doing our best to rejuvenate and keep on top of the Leys. We should have bitten the bullet and removed them years ago, so understand your wish for privacy while seemingly ignoring my own advice. :D

    Things in pots need a lot of care, watering feeding and very big pots.
    Some roses in the ground with a bit of preparation might work, something a bit thuggish maybe would do better as it might be slowed down by the conditions.
    Though that might make it harder to care for your already tired hedge.

    I am sure someone will be able to suggest some.

    But it might be good to know or identify what conifers you have.

  • In general, both honeysuckle and clematis hate pots as they dry out even quicker than in dry ground and dry roots are the kiss of death or an invitation to diseases like powdery mildew.
    Can you dig big holes (say, 2ft wide and at least as deep) anywhere along or at the ends?  If so, backfill with 50% well-rotted farm manure and soil and plant clematis montana, each of which would easily grow to 12ft high and even wider - those types are often used to cover large unsightly areas.  They do become untidy themselves though, especially over winter.
    How about building raised beds in front of the hedge?  That would give them something decent to grow in and it would take several years before the hedge/tree roots grew upwards into them, especially if you put a membrane on the bottom.
    If you use large planters (say 50x50cm) then clematis may work but I'd avoid honeysuckles which, IMHO, tend to look untidy at the best of times and will never do well in dry areas.
    No idea about roses but anything growing large enough to cover a 12ft high hedge will require large amounts of water due to the surface area of all those leaves.
    It's often a good idea to take a step back and think if something could be planted or erected (trellis, arbour etc.) closer to the house, if the main problem is the view from windows.  Things don't need to be 12ft tall then due to perspective.
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053
    I have a rambling rose which grows up and through one of my leylandii hedges. I think it is 'Seagull', white and beautiful perfume. I did plant it though when the hedge was small. It has been neglected ever since and grows really well. Just gets cut when the hedge gets cut. 
    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • LynLyn Posts: 21,868
    I wouldn’t grow Clematis Montana through it, at the moment my Montana looks as bad as a dead conifer hedge.   It’s not evergreen so your faced with 6months of the year with 2 dead looking plants. 
    I dont think there’s a simple way round it, I would have it out and start again. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

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