Tips on hedges that have turned brown

Written by sean mullin
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Tips on hedges that have turned brown
Brown hedges may result from natural climate changes or an attack on the plants. (brown hedge in fall image by Wouter Tolenaars from

Hedges are shrubs or trees planted together to form a wall or boundary. They serve several purposes, including privacy, the aesthetic framing of other plants and the creation of a focal point that draws viewers' attention to certain areas of a lawn or garden. Their most obvious purpose, however, is their beauty, which decreases when parts of the hedge begin to turn brown.


Gardeners can choose from a variety of trees and shrubs when planting hedges, but not all plants will be successful in every climate. Conifers make attractive hedges, for example, but they thrive best in damp, mild climates; drought conditions will probably harm them to the point that they begin to brown. If you plant certain conifers in a climate that regularly experiences a hot, dry August, expect some withering and brown foliage during that time.


Intense withering of an entire plant suggests a more serious source for the browning. When many neighbouring plants have turned brown, the cause may be roots suffering from a disease or fungus. The website Garden Advice suggests that gardeners look for signs of Phytophthera and honey fungus, which include cream-coloured mould or a darkening of the wood beneath the bark. When this occurs, the only thing gardeners can do is remove and burn the infected plants.


Plant-eating insects are another potential cause of browning on hedges. Aphids feast on the sap of certain hedges, which results in browning and unseasonal death. Investigate the bark of your hedges for insects or their cast-off skins if browning occurs unexpectedly. If there is evidence of an insect invasion, treat the hedges with an appropriate insect repellent or killer.

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