How to Plant a Hedge – A Hedge Planting Guide
When it comes to gardening, hedges are perhaps one of the most important aspects of a garden. From establishing clearly defined borders and privacy to providing an elegant backdrop to flowerbeds and shrubs, hedges are integral to the modern British garden. The problem is, many gardeners don’t know how to plant a hedge or when to plant hedges, but don’t despair, this hedge planting guide is jam-packed with helpful tips and advice!
So, what type of hedging plant do you need for your garden? There are many types of hedge plants, some staying evergreen and others that provide a more colourful array throughout the year before shedding their leaves in the winter. Some gardeners opt for the bright autumnal colours while others wish to keep a screen of foliage all year round.
Once you have decided which hedge you want, you will find that some of the details are different compared to another hedge plant. There is no absolute golden rule about the best time to plant hedges or even how to plant a hedge. It is totally hedge plant-dependent.
A Detailed Guide to Planting a Hedge
With that said, there are considerations you should make with all hedges including planting hedge trees. Don’t fall into the common planting hedge pitfalls and follow this step-by-step guide. It is always best to stick to these general principles as it will create a healthy and long-lived hedge. If you’re looking to get your hedge growing fast for screening and privacy purposes, make sure you check step two!
Step One – Best Time to Plant Hedges
Before you even map out where to plant your hedge, it is important to check your hedge plant is ready to go into the ground. Bare root hedge varieties need to be planted as soon as they’re delivered and in their dormant phase (during the winter). Once you have received your bare root hedging put it in buckets of cold water to ensure the root network doesn’t dry out and keep it in a shaded area out of direct sunlight.
Root ball hedging is slightly more forgiving and providing you keep the root ball intact and don’t let it dry out, this will go a long way to protecting the hedge plants. Pot grown hedges are even more forgiving and can be transplanted at almost any time of the year successfully, although hot and dry summer months are not ideal.
Step Two – Planting a Hedge
Each hedge should come with planting instructions including the depth of the hole or trench alongside plant spacing. Some hedges are good at growing in close proximity to one another while others need more space in order to establish themselves and grow healthily.
There are three things to make sure you do when planting a hedge;
- Check that you’re not planting too close to building or foundation work as roots can interfere with existing structures.
- Ensure that the area you are planting into isn’t too dry or waterlogged.
- Fill in the trench, slits, or holes with some manure or compost to get a good first spurt of growth. This is especially useful if you want to encourage rapid growth and is great for screening and privacy!
Step Three – Planting Hedge Trees
Planting hedge trees have become very popular in the UK and being honest there is little difference between planting a hedge tree and planting ordinary hedge plants. You will need to clear the area for the tree to grow in the hedge as well as any existing roots. And of course, ensure you stick to the three points in step two for a happy hedge tree planting experience.
Need Specific Advice on Planting Hedges?
If you’re unfortunate enough to receive your hedging without instructions or a label, don’t worry, we have comprehensive guides for each of the major hedge varieties on our blog. Below is a complete overview of the hedge guides so far and be sure to check back as more get added!
- Hawthorn hedges – A beautiful hedge with special pruning requirements.
- Laurel hedges – The ever-popular Cherry Laurel falls into this category.
- Portuguese laurel hedges – A warmer climate relative of the Cherry Laurel variety.
- Box hedges – Perfect for decorative gardens.
- Beech hedges – A semi-evergreen hedge that can keep its leaves through the winter.
- Bare root hedges – Bare root hedges need extra care and attention when planting.
- Willow hedges – Eye-catching and elegant hedge variety.
- Privet hedges – A fast growing with densely packed foliage.
When Should You Plant a Hedge?
The best time to plant a hedge in the UK is often during the winter months. This is especially the case of bare root hedging plants. Although, root ball hedging opens up the planting window by an extra two months or so, allowing for planting from late autumn through winter.
If you’re looking to plant during the spring or summer, make sure you look for pot grown hedge plants; although these may cost a little more, they’re able to be transplanted at almost any time during the year in the UK.
As with any planting, there is no exact or specific time that is the best time to plant a hedge UK plant – each variety will differ, but the general principle is this;
- Bare Roots – During the winter months (Nov-Jan).
- Root Balls – Late autumn to winter (Oct-Feb).
- Pot Grown – Year round, providing not planting into dry or waterlogged soil.
Hopefully this guide has given you lots of helpful pointers as well as where to look for further information about your specific hedge choice. Most importantly, happy hedge planting!