How to grow

How to Plant Hedging

A well-cared for hedge can be a real asset in your garden. Whether you are looking to establish boundaries, improve security or encourage more wildlife, there is a hedging plant for every purpose.

How to plant Hedging.

A well-cared for hedge can be a real asset in your garden. Whether you are looking to establish boundaries, improve security or encourage more wildlife, there is a hedging plant for every purpose.

Hedging plants can be bought as bare roots, root wrapped or potted plants but they are all very simple to plant using the same basic principles.

Browse our range of hedging plants online and find the perfect hedge for your plot today. Keep reading to discover all you need to know about planting hedges.

Bareroot/ root wrapped plants VS. potted hedging plants

bareroot potted hedging

Bareroot/ root wrapped hedge plants:

  • Are cost effective
  • Can be planted October to February
  • Are easy to plant
  • Are quick to establish
  • Bareroots generally come as dormant whips with no soil at the roots.
  • Root wrapped plants are lifted from the field with a small amount of soil at the roots, held in place by a wrapping of synthetic material or natural hessian.

Potted hedge plants:

  • Can be planted all year round (autumn to spring will offer the most favourable conditions)
  • Create an instant impact in your garden
  • Potted plants, particularly larger ones, are generally more expensive.
  • They may require extra care and can take longer to fully establish.

When your hedging plants arrive

Stand bare roots in a bucket of water to soak for an hour, and water potted or root wrapped plants thoroughly.

If you can't plant them immediately then heel them into a temporary location, or plunge the roots into a large trug of damp soil to prevent them from drying out. Keep them in a frost free spot to protect the vulnerable roots from the cold. They can be kept like this for a few weeks if necessary.

Potted plants can simply be watered and stood in a sheltered spot outdoors.

Soil preparation

hedge trench

It's a good idea to prepare your soil in advance to allow it to settle well before planting. Make sure that the area is free from grass and weeds.

You'll need to prepare a strip of ground that is around 90cm (3') wide. Dig over the ground to a spades depth to break up the soil and mix in some well-rotted manure or garden compost, if you have some available.

When you are ready to plant, use a string line to mark a straight line where your hedge will be positioned. Remove soil to around a spade's depth to form a trench along this line.

Lay your plants out at evenly spaced intervals along the trench. Planting distances will vary depending on the species and the required density of the hedge. For example, Beech can be planted at a spacing of 30 – 45cm apart to create a dense hedge, whereas Leyland Cypress will need a wider spacing of up to 75cm (30in) apart. Save time by cutting a cane to the required planting distance to avoid measuring between each plant.

You can plant hedges as a single row to create a simple hedge - but for a denser screen that will give better privacy, you may prefer to plant your hedge in two staggered rows.

hedgeing diagram

Planting hedge plants

Once in position, simply spread out the roots of your bareroot plants and backfill the soil around them. Always firm them in with your boot to remove any air pockets. Check the base of the stem for a soil mark which indicates how deeply they were previously planted. Be sure to plant them at the same depth.

Root wrapped and potted plants can be planted in a similar way. There's no need to remove the hessian wrappings as they are biodegradable and will rot down as the plant establishes.

Trim you plants to the same height and rake the soil level around the base of the plants, to give you a nice finish. Finally water them well to settle the soil and get them off to a great start.



Over the next 2 years you will need to keep them well watered, especially during dry periods. Where practical, it may be worth installing an automated irrigation system to make this task easier.


Apply an annual application of bonemeal or slow release fertiliser each spring.

Weed and pest control:

Weeds completion will rob your hedge of valuable water and nutrients. Keep weeds and grass clear from the base of your hedge. Pests such as deer and rabbits can cause catastrophic damage to young plants. If you have a pest problem, install a plastic tree spiral around the stem of each plant to protect it from damage.


Prune deciduous hedges in winter. Evergreen hedges should be pruned in spring. Most hedges will require pruning annually, but some species may require pruning up to 3 times a year. Browse our range of hedge trimmers to find the best tools for the job.

Watch the video below to find out more about how to plant hedging:

Sue Sanderson T&M horticulturalist

Written by: Sue Sanderson

Plants and gardens have always been a big part of my life. I can remember helping my Dad to prick out seedlings, even before I could see over the top of the potting bench. As an adult, I trained at Writtle College where I received my degree, BSc. (Hons) Horticulture. After working in a specialist plantsman's nursery, and later, as a consulting arboriculturalist, I joined Thompson & Morgan in 2008. Initially looking after the grounds and coordinating the plant trials, I now support the web team offering horticultural advice online.

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