What to do with this boundary ?

We have a hedge down the right hand side of our garden. It seems that it has been left for a few years without any maintenance.  I wondered if any of you might be able to give me some ideas on how to get it back under control. There seems to be about 3 ft of dead space at the back of the hedge before the boundary.

The plants are Snowberry and rhododendron's.  I only found one of the rhododendron's last year when I cut back the snowberry a bit.  It seems that snowberry is really invasive and I've found shoots about 5 ft further into the lawn which I try and keep cutting back. 

I'm thinking that I should cut back the snowberry and let the rhodo's flourish more.  I found an azalea today too.  Should I also cut back the rhodo after it has flowered so that I can move the hedge back a bit so it doesn't keep invading the garden? 










 It seems that the hedge goes snowberry rhodo, snowberry rhodo.  The snowberry is coming out past two ornamental fruit trees that had been put in.  I'm thinking I should take the hedge back in line with those trees, would that be a good idea?  

Sorry it is hard to show in photo's but I hope you get some idea.   The rhododendron's are quite leggy, as there used to be lots of shade in the garden but we have removed some big trees and cut down the boundary level to let more light in. 


 a photo from last spring. 

I hope someone can help me with some idea of how to tidy things up. 

Thank you 


  • archiepemarchiepem Posts: 1,155

    i would cut it hard  all the way to the boundary .nice job for a frosty day image

  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,114

    If those rhodies are Ponticum, I would have the lot out.  Wait until they flower before you make a decision.

  • When we moved in we had scrambling hedge of coralberries and it had taken root wherever the shoots touched the ground. I cut it hard in winter to the ground in some places and it is much better and less straggly. I would give the snowberry a good hair cut I am sure it would bounce back and then you can keep in manageable.

  • Peanuts3Peanuts3 Posts: 759

    Thank you so much for these great comments, have spent the evening reading them all and looking at photo's and trying to figure out a plan.  (my other hobby is photography, hence all the photo's Edd) 

    A few questions if that is okay

    1) Here is the rhodo in flower last year, is there anyway I can tell if if is a ponticum ? 




     It goes quite well with the blossom, so will probably keep it.  My kind of idea is to build up the rhodendron's so my kids (well prob grandkids, by the time I get it finished) can climb through the branches like I did as a kid ! 

    My other thought, is if I cut into old wood on the rhodo's, do you think it will shoot back ? 

    Why do I need to cut back the snowberry after flowering ? - I'd like to weaken it, as eventually would like it to be minimal, will this help with this ? 

    thanks for your help, now just need it to dry out enough so i can get out there. image

  • I feel, as Welshonion implies, that there are thousands of more interesting plants than R. ponticum and snowberry, and I'd be hitting this lot as hard as possible with blade and brushkiller for two years and then gracing your garden with much better and more interesting things.

    It looks a fairly big space, so go to some open gardens to get some ideas of plants that would suit that scale of planting.

  • Peanuts3Peanuts3 Posts: 759

    Good idea Joe_the_gardener, would love to do open gardens, but not too sure my kids would be that excited about it.  

    The border is north facing, shady and the soil is light sand and dry (haha, in summer).  Anyone got any recommendations on other plants that might go well there.  I've been thinking Rhododendrons (as loads round here and have fond childhood memories), hydranga's, maybe some ferns to go at the end? but not sure these all go together.  

    Any other suggestions ? 

  • I faced almost identical problem in my garden when I moved in 3 years ago - I had a man in to grub out all the snowberry, and then I cut the very leggy rhodo back to what looked like potential leaf buds.  Now it can see daylight it has really picked up and regenerated (new shoots coming from all down what looked like bare wood stems), and last year flowered really well. (I'm not sure what type of rhodo it is - it has pink flowers if that helps.)  The opposite border had escallonia which had spread out about 8ft from the fence and I'm tackling that a bit at a time. 

    The other major invader was two enormous bay tree/bushes - I'm talking around 12ft tall and almost as wide.  I've now had one completely cut down, and the other severely pruned back (looked hideous for about a year, but now covered with green again) and now have twice as much garden to play with!

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