Once the hedgerow has been in place for a couple of years, plant vines such as Virginia creeper, wild grape, or wild cucumber at varying intervals and encourage them to grow over the hedge. A small city hedgerow won’t be able to sustain more than one vine without being overpowered. But a long, thick hedgerow can take vines at widely spaced intervals. The key is not to damage the hedgerow by completely covering it with vines, but to add extra cover and food. Once they are established, you will have to prune heavy grape vines and Virginia creeper annually to allow the shrubs to continue growing. In contrast, wild cucumber vines are annual, very lightweight, and won’t need pruning.
For a sunny site, a combination of hawthorn, serviceberry, dogwood, and cedar should work well. Smaller shrubs, such as wild rose and flowering raspberry can be tucked in along the edges. Shady conditions allow for less variety, but try a mix of red-berried elder, hobblebush, cedar, and choke cherry.
Although it is important to water your hedgerow regularly during the first year, once established native plants are almost trouble free.
To prune or not to prune? That is the question many wildlife gardeners ask. Some experts believe that regular hard pruning promotes strong, bushy growth. Others advocate letting plants grow naturally. You’ll have to decide for yourself which approach to take. Our preference is for a largely unpruned look, with judicious cutting only where necessary, such as to contain growth of taller species.