If you’re thinking of planting a new beech hedge, or maybe Hornbeam I think you’ll find this post useful.
I’ve planted several hedges over the years and learned some useful stuff along the way that will help you on your way to creating a lush new hedge.
We’d originally planned to put up a post and rail fence at the front of the house, but even if we were to stain it green it wouldn’t be quite the same as an attractive beech hedge.
We like to use Beech for our hedges, (more specifically Hornbeam) as the Spring growth is the most gorgeous vibrant green colour you can imagine and the birds just love it.
What should you consider when planting a new Beech hedge?
Planting a new hedge is pretty straight forward and your chances of a successful outcome are good, providing you follow a few basic principles.
The method I use also also works really well with Laurel, Box, Hawthorn, and most deciduous and evergreen hedges.
The most important thing is to prepare the ground really well before planting. Your hedge will be there for years to come so try to provide the best growing conditions to give it a fighting chance of surviving.
Bare root saplings or plants?
I prefer to buy bare rooted plants in winter when they are dormant and they tend to be cheaper. Keep an eye out for them at your local nursery and if you’re not ready to plant, buy them anyway and dig them in on a patch of redundant ground until the following Spring.
Alternatively drop them in a bucket of water and leave them until you’re ready to plant, which is exactly what I did.
When you’re ready to start planting I’d recommend running a line from the start of the hedge to the finish. Of course you could plant by eye, but it’s never quite as straight as you think. 😉
Any special preparation required?
The first thing is to dig a nice big trench and fill with a good quality top soil and well rotted compost mix.
Your trench should be be a minimum 8 inches wide by 12 inches deep … and if you like to garden organically add a good handful of Fish Blood and Bone meal to the trench to encourage strong root development.
A useful tip is to give the bottom of the trench a good soak first to encourage the roots to spread out into your nice new compost mix.
How deep do I plant?
No special treatment when it comes to depth, just make sure the roots are well covered, or chances are they will dry out.
Lay the bare rooted plant in the bottom of the trench spacing approximately 12 inches (30cm) apart and back fill with the compost mixture. Heal the plants nice and firm, but don’t ram the soil in or the roots won’t be able to breathe.
Finally, give them a really good soak … and fingers crossed they will get off to a good start and you can look forward to a lovely lush new hedge.
One final tip … add a mulch of well rotted compost or cow manure around each plant and you’ve done as much as you can. The rest is up to mother nature. 🙂
The first 2 years are the most important in the survival of a new hedge, so keep your plants really well watered during dry spells and they should grow away just fine.
UPDATE ON THE HEDGE!
I took this picture earlier today March 1 2015 almost 5 years since the saplings were planted. It might help you in making a decision whether to plant a beech hedge in your garden. I’m not sure I would do it again … I’d prefer hawthorn on reflection. Much faster growing and you get the most wonderful flowers in the Spring.
Good luck with your hedge!