Growing and Maintaining Hedging Plants

You can easily surround your property with hedge plants and make the scenery around your place a lot greener. What’s great about hedging plants is they don’t cost must and are quite easy to plant. Also, the hedges will contribute to the structure of your garden by forming a natural boundary.

When to Plant a Hedge?

It all depends on what type of hedge you want to plant. For instance, it is best to plant deciduous types of hedges such as hornbeam, hawthorn, and beech from the middle of autumn to late winter. On the other hand, it’s better to plant evergreens (like privet and yew) in early autumn.

NOTE: Don’t plant anything if the soil is waterlogged or frozen. Postpone your gardening ideas until the ground is in optimal condition for work.

What To Plant?

You can start your hedging project with both pot-grown and/or bare-root specimens. The latter are usually a little cheaper. Most evergreens are usually offered root-wrapped, the roots being encased in a fabric bag filled with soil. Make sure to remove this casing before you plant as they are often made from synthetic materials. Among the most popular hedging plants are Rosa rugosa, hornbeam, Lavandula angustifolia, and Taxus baccata (commonly known as yew).

How to Plant a Hedge?

If you can pant a tree or a shrub, then you can plant a hedge as well. One of the most important requirements is to prepare the soil with utmost care in order to give your hedge the best chance to establish.

Soil Preparation Steps

1. Dig over a strip that is about one spade blade deep and 60 to 90cm wide.
2. Remove any weeds you notice as they might smother your newly planted hedges.
3. Mix the soil with some kind of organic matter – there are many types of planting mixes and garden composts you can use.
4. In the UK, waterlogged soil is a common problem due the regular rainy weather. You might want to install a reliable drainage system. Otherwise, you can turn the soil into a ridge – aim for 15-20cm in height.


1. Use a sharp knife or garden scissors to trim any damaged roots of your hedging plants.
2. Aim for 30 to 60cm of planting distances. This usually depends on how big the plants will get.
3. Make sure the planting depth is correct before you begin to work the soft soil between the roots.
4. In order to prevent weeds from emerging, mulch to a depth of at least 7.5cm.

Regular Hedge Care

Now that you’ve planted your hedges, you must take care of them diligently so they can thrive and beautify your property. Keep track of watering and mind the typical rainy UK weather. You want to keep your hedging plants well-watered for the next two years but you can let the rain do some of the work. Occasionally, reapply mulch to the soil and, at least once a year, add regular fertiliser.

How to Prune Hedges

It is important to prune new hedges from their early stages to achieve the shape you desire and to give way to a healthy growth. How much you actually prune depends entirely on the type of hedge you have at hand.

Be it new or established, it’s important to shape your hedges wider at the bottom. This way the lower parts will be exposed to more sunlight which is exactly what the plants need.

Trim evergreens like box and privet at least two-three times per year. The best time to do so is between May and September which is the growing season. Leylandii is a fast-growing hedge and it requires trimming more often than other species while it’s best to cut beech and hornbeam at the end of August.

Some nesting birds prefer the comfort of thick hedges. If you don’t want to disturb the little guys, then don’t prune your hedges too early in spring.

Problems You Might Face

According to gardening experts, hedges take 3-7 years to attain a respectful size. If this period seems too long to you, then you can purchase semi-mature hedges but they are a little more costly. However, they require additional care. Also, newly planted hedges might require shelter during the first couple of years as they are vulnerable to volatile weather conditions.

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