There’s not a lot of instant gratification in gardening, which accounts for the saying: Gardening teaches us patience because you just can’t rush Mother Nature. Or so I thought.
Enter Brent Markus, founder of InstantHedge, an Oregon company that grows and markets plants, such as European beech, arborvitae and boxwood, specially pruned to be an instant hedge. What a great idea for DIYers, landscapers, designers and others.
“I started to grow hedges because no matter the economy, hedges are in demand,” Markus said. People want privacy or they may need to hide something unsightly, for instance.
Over the years, Markus worked as a landscape architect and bemoaned the lack of pre-formed hedges. During a trip to the Netherlands, Markus visited a nursery where plants already pruned and formed as a hedge were being successfully grown and sold. When he returned, he founded InstantHedge.
Growing a hedge is labor intensive and time consuming at planting time. Everything needs to be lined up just so, with the proper spacing between plants so they eventually will fill in to create a screen or hedge. How they are pruned is critical.
“InstantHedge seems like a good idea for people who want immediate results,” said Chris Turner, a horticulturist and owner of Utopos Gardens, an Indianapolis gardening company. “Being that they are from Oregon, one should be careful of what species you choose.”
Some species offered as hedges are not winter hardy here, he said. “Also I wouldn’t use ‘Green Giant’ arborvitae as a sheared hedge, as it grows too fast to keep under control without a lot of work. I love the plant, just not as a sheared hedge.”
Standard hedges come in two heights, 3 to 4 feet or 5 to 6 feet tall. Each hedge unit has four trees and is 40 inches long. Boxwoods, commonly used for knot gardens, range from 12 to 24 inches tall. Each boxwood unit has five plants and is 32 inches long.
Retailers carrying InstantHedge can be found at the website, where it also can be ordered. Most retailers sell the large hedges for around $400 per unit. Boxwood units sell for about $200. Shipping charges also may apply.
“I am not surprised it is pricey. It is an uncommon product and you have to pay a premium for that,” Turner said.
White River Alliance reminds us that fallen leaves can pollute rivers, streams and other waterways, including storm sewers. As they accumulate around storm drains, they decompose and add nutrients to the waterway. This pollution threatens business and economic sectors that rely on high-quality water.
Nutrient overload has a negative economic impact, increasing the cost of public water treatment and reducing the recreational use of lakes for swimming and boating. These nutrients can cause algae blooms, decrease levels of oxygen and harm aquatic life. Clear leaves from storm drains to reduce this problem.