Hedges Planting Guide

Hedges are easy to plant and form an attractive boundary more quickly than many gardeners imagine. As well as providing structure to the garden they can provide a haven for wildlife, offering food during the winter months and are ideal for nesting.

Plant Selection:

Consider the plant required e.g.

  • Is the hedge for a formal garden structure or for a boundary between gardens where privacy is a concern?
  • Is the hedge for screening and will it be allowed to grow to full height?
  • Is the hedge to be used as a security or wind barrier?
  • Are evergreen or deciduous plants required?Are you wishing to attract wildlife with a natural native hedge?
  • Take into account your soil conditions and which hedges grow locally in similar situations.
    We can offer advice on suitable species.

When to Plant a Hedge:

Generally, the planting season for most hedging plants extends from late autumn (November) until early spring (end of March). In all cases planting is best undertaken when the soil can be worked easily, not waterlogged and not frozen.

How to Plant a Hedge:

Soil preparation:

  • Spray any existing vegetation with a glyphosate weedkiller one month before planting.
  • Prepare the ground by digging a 90cm (3ft.) strip, incorporating organic matter or compost especially if the soil is heavy clay.
  • If the ground cannot be dug then the plants can be slot-planted into the turf with a sharp spade.
  • Soils that become waterlogged in winter may require a permanent drainage solution

Planting:

  • Planting distances vary according to species but are between two and six plants per metre. Often planting in a double staggered row with 45cm (18in.) between rows.
  • Using a small sharp spade open the ground. Lay the roots in the soil and plant at a similar depth to the original soil line on the stem. Firm the soil gently back around the roots ensuring that all root hairs are covered.
  • If using rabbit guards, coil the spiral around the plant, place the cane inside the guard and push it firmly into the soil. Mulch around the base of the plants with organic matter to aid moisture retention.

Aftercare:

  • Weed growth must be controlled around the planting area to reduce competition for available moisture and nutrients.During the first summer months the plants may require watering during dry spells.The installation of a leaky hose along the hedge line may increase growth rate and aid survival.
  • Top-dress annually with a general-purpose fertiliser and re-apply mulch for the first two years
  • In the second season the weeds can be controlled using a sprayer or granular herbicide.
  • Trim out the leading shoots after the first year’s growth to encourage side shoots to develop and thereafter cut the hedge once or twice each year.
  • Check annually for rodent damage.
  • Keep the hedge and a strip of around 45cm (18in.) either side of the hedge weed-free.

Hedges generally take between three and five years to establish and form a visible structure.Larger plants that are well cared for will produce an established hedge quickest.

Trees Planting Guide

Pre-Planting:

  • Bare-root and root-balled trees are only available from autumn to spring.
  • Pre-planting soil preparation is most important.
  • Loosen the soil generally to eliminate compaction and improve drainage.
  • If soil is waterlogged over winter consider installing drainage.

How to Plant a Tree:

  • Dig a large hole – considerably larger than the diameter of the roots and break up surrounding compaction especially in the base and sides of the hole.
  • Place the tree in the hole ensuring that the soil level is at a similar level as when the tree was grown previously.
  • Spread out the roots around the hole and, in the case of root-balled trees, loosen the wire netting and hessian from around the base of the stem.
  • Re-fill the hole with the addition of compost mixed with the soil when planting on heavy clay. Eliminate air pockets and firm the soil around the roots.
  • Water well to settle the soil around the plants and further eliminate any remaining air pockets.

Staking of trees:

  • Staking is necessary to prevent wind rock and disruption to the roots.
  • Stake trees at the same time as planting.
  • Drive a stake in at a 45 degree angle before or after planting the tree taking care not to damage roots
  • The stake should lean into the prevailing wind.
  • Secure the tree to the stake with a flexible tree tie.

Aftercare:

  • Weed growth must be controlled around the planting area to reduce competition for available moisture and nutrients. During the first summer the tree may require watering during dry spells. It is best to water well once or twice a week rather than giving only a little water more often which will bring the roots to the surface which is undesirable.
  • Top-dress annually in the spring with a general-purpose fertiliser and re-apply mulch for the first two years.
  • Check the tree tie and loosen when necessary. Remove the stake and tie after about three years.