The Vetiver Network International

How to Maintain


Hedgerow maintenance is important, especially in the first year, to assure proper establishment of the hedge. After that maintenance depends as to whether the objective is to retain a “pure” vetiver hedge application or a more passive objective of allowing eventual takeover by native plants.

Photo 1. — Trimming hedge rows provides leaves to use as mulch that can be used to protect the hedge as it develops during it first year. Trimming also encourages the plant to tiller and thicken up. Trimming heights vary but a good rule of thumb in the 1st year is trim when the plant reaches 40-50cm and cut it back to 20 cm. (P.K.Yoon – Malaysia)

Weeding newly planted hedge rows will promote vigor, but once established, it will tolerate weeds between the hedgerows with no adverse effects on the plants. The one exception is in the case of viny weeds such as kudzu (Pueraria montana) that can grow over the hedges and smother them by shading. Note following active vetiver maintenance schedules involving hedgerow cutting once or twice a year can produce high volumes of biomass that can be used to mulch adjacent crops. Particularly important on steep and shallow land that may be planted to perennial tree crops or more widely spaced annual crops like vegetables and maize. Mulch reduces soil temperature, reduces soil moisture loss, and builds up soil organic matter.

Photo 2. — Gap filling within a hedgerow is important to assure a good hedge. Gap filling should be done as gaps are observed. Dale Rachmeler – Ghana)


Photo 3. — Mulching between rows of vetiver in a nursery setting, successive cutting provides increased mulch reducing the need to weed between the rows and over time increases soil organic matter as the mulch degrades (Graham Dabbs – Zimbabwe)

Further reading and references on Vetiver basics