Skeletal hedge repair advice

Pef

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Hi, first post on here so hello everyone.

Just need to say I know nothing about gardening, I tend to put things in the ground and see what happens so please treat me as a complete novice!

I moved into a house that had a massive unruly hedge out front that was so out of control that people were struggling to walk past on the pavement so I had to cut it back. The problem was that all of the foliage was on the end of the branches so it now looks like a load of dead branches and a very skeletal appearance.

Its smallish dark green leaves with red berries (Cotoneaster maybe) and I thought that maybe the leaves would start growing back but apart from a few coming from low down from the inside the branches remain ugly and skeletal.

So what can I do to repair/help it along? Is there anything?
 
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Use an all-purpose fertilizer (synthetic is faster than organic) according to the directions and give it some time. You could also use a lawn food with higher Nitrogen (the first number on the package), also per instructions for square meter. Plants can’t read so the numbers are more important than the name on the label.
 
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Pef, I'd cut the whole thing back to about 12" height and let it renew itself. When new growth starts to appear, give the hedge about a half-dose of fertilizer and keep it pruned to stay off the pathway.
When pruning a hedge, make it a pyramid shape, not a top-heavy shape. Letting sun and air into the center of the hedge will keep the growth consistent and not result in "branches remain ugly and skeletal". Hedges that are top sheared and side sheared result in what you have now.
 

Pef

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Use an all-purpose fertilizer (synthetic is faster than organic) according to the directions and give it some time. You could also use a lawn food with higher Nitrogen (the first number on the package), also per instructions for square meter. Plants can’t read so the numbers are more important than the name on the label.
Thanks, any chance you could recommend a fertilizer, maybe off Amazon? I said I was a novice :)
 

Pef

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Pef, I'd cut the whole thing back to about 12" height and let it renew itself. When new growth starts to appear, give the hedge about a half-dose of fertilizer and keep it pruned to stay off the pathway.
When pruning a hedge, make it a pyramid shape, not a top-heavy shape. Letting sun and air into the center of the hedge will keep the growth consistent and not result in "branches remain ugly and skeletal". Hedges that are top sheared and side sheared result in what you have now.
Thaks for the help.

Problem is its growing on one side fine (the none pruned side) but the rest theres nothing there at all. there are parts where it just looks completely dead. I suppose I was wondering if I could take cuttings and re-plant so it grows up inside the hedge and replensihes (if you can do such a thing!) or maybe if you can buy some 'new hedge' and re-plant.

It might be easier if i put up some pics to demonstrate - can you just drop them in or do I need a hosting site?
 
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Yes, if we knew just what it is it would be easier to recommend what to do. If it's a Cotoneaster it will sprout from live branches even if they don't have leaves.
 

Pef

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Yes, if we knew just what it is it would be easier to recommend what to do. If it's a Cotoneaster it will sprout from live branches even if they don't have leaves.
that's it from the house side which isn't too bad IMG_20210418_190806.jpg
However from the other side you can see its bare dead looking branches and just a bit of growth IMG_20210418_190839.jpg
IMG_20210418_190817.jpg
IMG_20210418_190821.jpg
IMG_20210418_190909.jpgIMG_20210418_190902.jpg
 
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Yes, it is a Cotoneaster. Probably horizontalis. I know it's growing up, that's because it can't grow sideways. It was probably planted as a groundcover in too small a space. Feed it with a high Nitrogen fertilizer to stimulate new growth. If it sprouts low on some stems you can cut back to the new growth.
 

Pef

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Yes, it is a Cotoneaster. Probably horizontalis. I know it's growing up, that's because it can't grow sideways. It was probably planted as a groundcover in too small a space. Feed it with a high Nitrogen fertilizer to stimulate new growth. If it sprouts low on some stems you can cut back to the new growth.

Thanks

What about taking cuttings and replanting them so new plants grow up among the old shell, or buying new potted to plant or even introducing another kind of hedging plant - I dont mind a mixed hedge, the more colourful the better! Any opinions welcome.
 
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Hello @Pef - I have an opinion :shy: !! First of all, welcome to the forums.

I would put all of that lot on the bonfire if I were you. It`s not the best plant to make a hedge with in my humble opinion.
Once it`s out of the way, you will be able to get a much clearer picture of what you would actually like to see there.
The good thing is, there don`t seem to be any birds nesting there - that is the very first thing to think about when cutting stuff down. Lots of baby birds lose their lives at this time of year through careless pruning!

There are so many plants you could use there, and so much you could do to pretty up the place. Now at this time of year is an excellent time to make a change. It would also give you a chance to get some horse muck or similar dug in and improve the soil, without obstructions.

Make the place feel more like YOUR home. Whereabouts in the country are you?
 
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I agree. That kind of cotoneaster wants to be a groundcover not a hedge. It will, however, definitely be a chore to get it all out. They have really woody roots, but at least they won't resprout from them!
 

Pef

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Hello @Pef - I have an opinion :shy: !! First of all, welcome to the forums.

I would put all of that lot on the bonfire if I were you. It`s not the best plant to make a hedge with in my humble opinion.
Once it`s out of the way, you will be able to get a much clearer picture of what you would actually like to see there.
The good thing is, there don`t seem to be any birds nesting there - that is the very first thing to think about when cutting stuff down. Lots of baby birds lose their lives at this time of year through careless pruning!

There are so many plants you could use there, and so much you could do to pretty up the place. Now at this time of year is an excellent time to make a change. It would also give you a chance to get some horse muck or similar dug in and improve the soil, without obstructions.

Make the place feel more like YOUR home. Whereabouts in the country are you?
Hi Im in the North East

The hedge provides cover as we live on a main road with lots of passers by and I'm loathe to take it out to lose that cover even just for a period while something else grows and the Mrs wants it out and some sort of decorative wall but I like green things that grow (or dont in this case!) so I fear if it comes out the wall might win.

Ive thought about taking the whole thing out a few times but theres actually a right old mix of other plants growing within it too at different times of the year, that's why I was thinking of maybe planting something else and letting the whole lot grow together. I suppose this is probably why I'm asking on here, a last chance saloon to see if i can fix it or maybe put anything else in there to make it look better. I'm willing to have my mind swayed by suggestions of better plants to put in there too though.

The other problem I thought as @cpp gardener points out its going to be a chore to get out it seems like its been there forever, and I dont have a great deal of time or money to devote to it.
 

Pef

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I agree. That kind of cotoneaster wants to be a groundcover not a hedge. It will, however, definitely be a chore to get it all out. They have really woody roots, but at least they won't resprout from them!
I think there must be more than one type as when I originally cut it back it was huge, certainly not just ground cover, the horizontalis maybe survived better as it was low down and didnt need much pruning.
 
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If the Cotoneaster is constantly sheared on the sides it will eventually pile on itself and get taller and taller. I've seen lantana montevidensis which normally grows about a foot tall used as a 6' hedge when it couldn't spread and didn't get cut down.
You could plant some small vines, even annuals like Morning-glories to wind through the stems. Given time the Cotoneaster will fill in even with something growing in it. Check the branches near the top to see if they're still alive. Remove any down to the point where new growth sprouts. Once you know what is dead and what is still alive it will be easier to figure out the next step.
 

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