Thompson & Morgan

Hedging


Whether it’s for security, privacy or to enhance a formal garden design, hedges are a truly versatile way of achieving so much more in your garden. Hedges needn’t be hundreds of yards long either, a small 6 feet long privacy screen of evergreen privet, for example, can help divide a garden where needed without using rigid fence panels or walls, and at a fraction of the cost.

We offer a wide range of bare root hedging plants that will meet every need, from the thorniest security to the most dramatic autumn displays of colour. We have even put together some ready-made collections in larger quantities to take the hassle out of choosing all the mixed varieties you might need.

Bare Root Hedging.

Winter is the time to get bare root hedging planted out, the plants are dormant and won’t resent being moved and are much easier to handle as leaves or buds won’t be damaged. Having said that, the more thorny varieties such as Blackthorn or Dog Rose are just as prickly in winter as they are in mid-summer so thick gloves are definitely advised when handling!

With each of our bare root hedging plants, we have a recommended planting distance; obviously larger plants such as Cherry Laurel can be spaced out more generously as they will grow quite quickly and tend to have larger branches or trunks. Smaller, more formal hedges are better planted in a higher density, so if, for example you were planting a formal box hedge, then spacing them only 8 inches apart will create a thick hedge that will look much better with repeated clipping. Another point to consider is how deep the hedge needs to be, a common practice is to stagger plants in two rows. This will achieve a far more dense hedge and is particularly useful when planting security hedges and formal hedges for topiary.

Once the quantity has been calculated and ordered, the next stage would be to prepare the ground or lines where the hedge is to be planted, clearing the ground completely of competing weeds is always essential and digging it over whilst incorporating plenty of rich organic matter will give the hedge the best possible start and will also help the ground retain moisture without becoming waterlogged. Time is of the essence once you receive the plants, they have been lifted already and need to be replanted as soon as possible to prevent the roots dying out or becoming damaged by frost. If it is not possible to plant them all out in position straight away then the best thing will be to “heel in” the roots by putting the bundles into holes, back filling and firming in with your heel, just to ensure they remain moist.

When planting, it is sometimes easier to dig a trench along the line, of the required depth and place the bare roots in position before backfilling, this is usually more common when a dense planting pattern is being used as it is faster and easier than digging individual holes. Once planted out, a mulch layer is always a good idea to help keep in vital moisture as the plants start to grow again in spring.

Check the hedge periodically, support with wires if needed and keep the base well weeded, in time your desired hedge will fill out and grow to meet its intended purpose. Water a new hedge regularly as it will be vital to getting it established quickly, use of an irrigation hose where possible will cut out a lot of extra work. Local wildlife will appreciate whatever type you have as it will offer protection and shelter, should you choose a fruiting hedge then you will enjoy a harvest for making jam or desserts and the blooms of a rose hedge will always bring colour and scent to your boundary, as well as offering a thorny barrier.

Size Guide

The plants you order will either arrive as bundles of bare root plants (during winter/early spring) or in larger pots up to 3.6 litres. With each of the bare root plant bundles we sell, we give you a recommended planting distance between each plant. This is a guide to give you an idea of how many plants you will need for your hedge and is only approximate, depending on the a few factors:-

  • Affordability – you can space your plants out more economically, and you will eventually get the hedge you wanted, it will just take a little more time to thicken into the hedge you had pictured.
  • Bottom gap – strange as it may sound, the farther apart you place your plants, the more likely it is that you’ll end up with a gap along the bottom as plants grow out and up at the same time, younger plants such as bare roots, planted closer together will mean that they will grow better and intertwine with each other nearer the ground too.
  • Speed – If you want a more instant hedge, then buying your plants in the large pots will obviously give you a great headstart in this. Plants such as Cherry Laurel will arrive as a bare root on a single stem (whip) and will obviously take time to spread out and form into an effective barrier. When they arrive in a 3.5 ltr pot however, they will be approximately 3ft (90cm) tall with lots of side branches. Not only that, the potted plants will have a stronger root system as they will have have far more care with watering and feeding etc than field grown bare root plants and so will establish themselves quickly and grow at a faster rate.
  • Final Height – another factor is the final height of the hedge. A low hedge will need a higher density of plants as it will be difficult for them to spread out normally if they are being constantly clipped. This is why for example, we recommend that Box hedging is planted only 8” (20cm) apart even though the plants themselves are capable of growing 26 feet (8 metres) tall!
  • Double staggering – this is especially relevant with lower hedges, planting bare roots in a zig-zag pattern at the recommended distance apart will give you a thicker hedge, most useful for security hedging as it makes it virtually impossible to push through and also for topiary hedges where shapes may be clipped out over time.