Chinese Elm Hedge

(Question)

I have a 30ft long Chinese elm hedge that is 5 ft tall. A few of the older trees in the middle tied this last winter. Would like to know where I can purchase new plants in toronto. Do not seem that available. Thanks

(Answer)

Dear Gardener,

It appears that you planted, or inherited, hedge plants that are developing into adolescent trees. Chinese elm, when intended to serve as hardy hedges, have an uncanny way of growing quickly, before you realize, if not regularly pruned to scale.

From our Toronto Master Gardener library,  Chinese elm hedge, we have an article that seems to closely address your query, with the exception of purchasing replacement plants. As advised, a regenerative pruning of your hedge-cum-trees will almost certainly promote new, fresh growth to fill in the dead areas — after recommended removal of the dead or damaged material — throughout the full length of your planting. A healthy, judicious, pruning exercise will send a message to the system to ‘bulk up ‘ in the core region.

Finally, keep in mind that your hedge is a living, breathing collective of plants, that require good soil quality and nutrition for the roots, and enough water to hydrate. Urban hedges are often situated as a protective front-line for home properties, bearing the brunt of sidewalk and road traffic, summer and winter. Keep the soil well-composted, and mulched, for water retention, and consider placing a slow ‘soaker’ hose along the length during those drought-y summer weeks. Hopefully you’l be pleased with what your horticultural TLC will do for the well-being of your loyal hedge!