Getting your head around hedging

If you’re looking to add a bit more greenery to your garden, planting a native hedge might be an option. Not only will it encourage wildlife into your garden, it will enable them to thrive – providing shelter, flowers and berries.

What to plant

When it comes to planting native hedging, consider having a variety of hedging trees and shrubs such as oak, dogwoods and hawthorn. For those with a little less perseverance, native hedging can be created cheaply using whips. These are bare-root saplings that are around a year old and they can be purchased in bundles from late autumn through to early spring. The plants will be dormant so do not be put off them – as soon as they begin to grow in early spring, they will burst into life, establishing and growing extremely quickly. As a native hedge is made up of different species of trees and shrubs it may seem odd, but it will grow to create a thick barrier and will take to being pruned extremely well. Just remember that it cannot be shaped in the same way as a leylandii or privet.

Preparing to plant

For native hedging to thrive, the site will have to be prepared well. As it will be in place for many years it is good to ensure the plants have the best chance of becoming established. Ensure that all weeds are removed as well as any large rocks and add some organic matter once the area has been dug over. Planting can take place between autumn to spring but make sure that there is no frost or excess water laying on the surface.

Tools for the job

To make the job of planting a native hedge a lot easier, it is vital that you use the right tools. A spade is useful for planting and removing any soil and rocks. For weeds as well as planting, a border fork works well but a hoe can also be used for weeding. To trim the hedging and for pruning small twigs secateurs are required but for larger twigs and branches, loppers will be needed. To trim small hedges, shears will do the trick but for larger hedges, a hedge trimmer will make light work of the task.

How to plant

To plant your hedge correctly there are certain things that you will need to do such as planting whips in a staggered double row around 50cm apart. How quick and how large it will grow is dependent on the spacing of each plant but try to leave as much space as possible as you can fill any gaps at a later date. A thick mulch and a good watering will help to stop weeds from competing once the hedge begins to grow.

Ongoing care

To look after your hedge, you will have to feed it every year as well as ensure that the mulch is topped up. You will also need to water it yourself for the first two years of its life. Pruning should take place during autumn as this will mean that any birds will not be disturbed but the trees and shrubs will be lying dormant. You can cut the hedge back by a considerable amount as this will encourage it to become dense.

If you need any more help about planting a native hedge in your garden, simply call us up or pop in store, and our friendly staff will be more than happy to help!