Make sure all soil is well prepared before planting takes place. This includes:
- Clearing the area of all perennial weeds (i.e. Nettle, docks, thistles, couch grass) this can be easily done by applying a residual herbicide (Glyphosate) to the area 2-3 weeks prior to planting.
- Prepare the soil area well by digging over to a minimum spades depth (12-16”) and width.
- Incorporate organic matter into the soil (i.e. compost, well rotted manure, well rotted garden waste) this will aid plant establishment and retain moisture in drier soils.
- Only plant up to the soil mark on the stem of the plant, this is easily spotted, look just above where the roots of the plant start and you will see the mark.
- Water plants thoroughly once planted and then on a regular basis until the plants are well established.
- Bear in mind weather conditions and water more in hot, dry spells and less in prolonged heavy rain spells.
Regular trimming not only keeps a hedge looking tidy but promotes longevity. Aim to create a hedge that is wider at the base than the top. This ensures it is less vulnerable to snow damage, strong winds and ensures all branches can access sunlight.
Remember to watch out for birds nests.
Always keep cutting tools clean so they do not spread infection.
Do not cut too close to the leaf joint/bud. There are different times for trimming different hedging plants so we have detailed when to trim our hedging plants.
- Beech – Trim in early spring or late summer, one trim a year should be enough
- Laurel – Trim in early or mid spring , take care not to cut too much into the older leaves as this will damage them and make them look unsightly. Feed after trimming to ensure a nice even green colour to the hedge.
- Privet – Trim Privet plants during early and late summer, these plants will need a minimum of two trims a year to keep in shape.
- Yew – Trim once a year in summer or early autumn
Water and Feeding
Ensure you water your hedge well particularly in the first year when it is growing. Water in the evening, in summer, to avoid evaporation so the roots receive a good drink too. Hedges can also benefit from being fed with a slow release fertiliser – sprinkle either side of the hedge avoiding touching leaves/stems. You can then turn the soil over & water. It is always best to read the manufacturers instructions and don’t be tempted to over apply as this will cause more harm than good.
Keep a close watch on plants as they provide a guide as to how your garden is faring. If you spot any pests or symptoms of disease remove the affected parts and burn/throw them in a rubbish bin. Aromatic plants such as catmint and garlic can repel or confuse pests. If you use chemicals follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Organic pesticides are available but make sure you treat them with the same care as chemical pesticides. Make sure you spray in the evening when bees are not around and in still weather so the wind does not carry spray where it is not wanted. In frost or strong wind conditions make sure you firm your plants back into the ground to avoid air gaps occurring allowing frost to enter. Try and remove all weeds to ensure your hedge has the space, moisture and light it needs to grow.
By attracting wildlife into your garden you can also keep insect pests under control. Water attracts lots of animals such as frogs and toads, which eat many ground borne pests. The hedgehog is a valuable friend to eat slugs and a thick hedge can provide a home so he stays to eat slugs regularly! Birds eat a large number of insects, for example, the song thrush is a useful ally against slugs. You can attract birds with hedges that provide cover for nesting and berries that provide a food source.