Planting Hedges for quick growth
Although planting instant hedges is now popular for instant effect or screening it can be very expensive. It’s better to plant small hedging plants and spend more time on soil preparation and a simple watering system to create quicker growth, saving money which can be spent on other areas of the garden.
As the GardenAdvice team have so often found time spent on soil preparation for hedges pays dividends year after year in solid and rapid growth.
When preparing the soil for your new hedge imaging you are preparing for an English woodland that will last for at least 100 years because in effect that’s what you are doing. Many of the most popular hedging plants such as beech and yew can be found in woodlands today with an age in excess of 100 years.
Soil preparation should start by double digging a trench about 0.5 metre wide and two spits deep (a spit being the length of a spade blade). Whilst digging you should incorporate some good organic matter such as spent mushroom compost or well rooted farm yard manure, it has to be well rooted as fresh will burn the roots of the new hedging.
Irrigation is another factor worth considering at this stage and is best achieved with a leaky hose or drip irrigation system. Finally nothing stops a hedge growing quickly than weed growing around the base especially couch or twitch grass. The solution to this once the soil has been prepared is to lay a stripe of ground sheeting to help stop the weeds. To plant through the sheeting you will need to cut crosses with a knife and then peel back the edges to expose the soil. Once this is done you will be able to plant the hedge plant and then apply a mulch to cover and hide the sheeting. One good tip is to use bark if your hedge is in a lawned area, as this will not damage the mower when it strays into the hedge bottom.
Tips on planting a hedge
- With bare root Beech and hornbeam hedging plants they will grow faster if planted between October and December before Xmas
- With pot, rootball or bare root plants soak the plants first before planting
- In the early years using a windbreak material to form a screen along two sides of the hedge will help to protect the plants from wind, especially important in the first couple of years. A windbreak will greatly increase the growth.