If you could plant a hedge as quickly as you could build a fence, then there would probably be little call for the latter. A well groomed hedge can be a real feature in the garden and much easier to maintain – apart from the occasional clipping, you can leave them to their own devices.
Unfortunately, they can take a long time to establish and there seems to be a king of “sod’s law” for gardeners that says the nicer the variety, the harder it is to grow.
However, if you are fed up with rebuilding the panels after a strong wind or digging out rotten fence posts, the idea of planting a hedge may be appealing, either as a boundary or a garden feature.
And now is the time to start planting your hedge. Apart from latitude, you also need to consider site, soil, cost and how much clipping and care is required for your chosen hedge variety. If the hedge is also going to be a boundary, you may be particularly keen to have something tall and sturdy, or even one which is prickly enough to deter intruders or keep animals on or off your land.
How to choose a hedge
Prepare the planting site carefully – it’s for life – and allow at least two feet of growing space within your boundary. Double dig the site and add plenty of well rotted organic compost to ensure a strong and long lived hedge.
Conifers are by far the most popular type of hedge that people plant because they are not only handsome but also fast growing, particularly in the case of the sturdy hybrid Leyland Cypress. This can put on two feet a year and create a thick hedge within a few years. Unfortunately, while they are soaring skywards, they do not put down strong roots so they will need staking for the first two years.
The Yew is more traditional and takes longer to establish. It is a handsome variety when grown as a tall hedge. You could also consider the following varieties:
Box – Slow growing and makes an excellent low hedge. Great for trimming geometric gardens and borders, but it is expensive.
Holly – Attractive and good at keeping intruding animals at bay. It is also slow growing and expensive.
Hawthorn – Produces scented flowers and berries and is inexpensive and easy to grow. Looks bare and boring during the winter after shedding its leaves.
Beech – Not the most inexpensive choice, but is beautiful and can be trimmed to keep its leaves through the winter months.
Honeysuckle – Certain varieties make cheap, medium height hedges and give off a lovely scent.
Privet – Very inexpensive and fast growing hedge. However, it takes regular clipping to be kept neat and tidy.
If you ever wondered how to plant a hedge we hope the aforementioned tips will make your job easier when it comes to both planting choosing the right variety.