Thinking about growing a hedge for a property border? Here’s step-by-step instructions that you can follow to grow beautiful a single- or double-row hedge.
Hedges are an essential part of most gardens. They can be clipped and formal, or they can be loosely casual, their arching branches clothed with flowers in season.
- Hedges can be planted either as a single row or as a double, staggered row, which makes for a stronger, denser hedge.
Planting a hedge
Deciduous hedges can be planted anytime in fall, late winter, or spring when the ground is not frozen. In mild regions hedges can be planted throughout the winter as well. But it is best to plant evergreens in early fall or in spring.
If bare-root plants are delivered before you are ready to plant them, set them in a shallow trench, and cover their roots with soil.
- To plant, dig a trench about 60 centimetres (25 inches) wide and 30 centimetres (12 inches) deep along the length of the proposed hedge. The trench, of course, should be larger if the size of the root balls requires it.
- Fork peat moss or compost into the bottom of the trench. Put in about a wheelbarrowful for every two metres (six and a half feet).
- When replacing the topsoil, mix in some compost or peat moss to lighten the texture of the soil. Also mix in bone meal — 50 to 75 grams (about two to three rounded tablespoons) for every two metres (six and a half feet) of trench.
- Use a length of cord to define the location of the row or rows.
Planting a double row of hedges
For a double row of hedging shrubs, make the rows 45 centimetres (18 inches) apart, and stagger the plants so that no two are growing directly opposite each other.
- Dig the holes big enough to give the roots plenty of space when spread out or to hold the soil ball the roots. If you are up to it, double digging is especially useful.
- Set each shrub so that the nursery soil-mark on the stem (where the light- and dark-coloured barks meet) is at ground level.
- Carefully work the soil into the spaces between the roots of bare-root specimens, and gently shake the stem up and down to get rid of air pockets. Fill in the rest of the hole.
- Finally, firm the soil by treading lightly. Then water thoroughly to settle soil about the roots.
Caring for new hedge plants
- To prevent the wind from loosening the newly set plant, firmly fix posts at the end of each row.
- Run a wire tightly between the posts, and tie each plant to the wire.
- Alternatively, individual stakes can be used to support each plant, but drive them into the ground before planting to avoid root damage.
Newly planted hedges need a few weeks to recover from transplanting. In exposed locations, planted evergreens may be scorched by the wind. To prevent this, you can use a screen of burlap netting or brushwood.
- You can also make sure excessive water is not lost through the leaves of evergreens after planting by spraying the foliage with an antidesiccant. If the weather is dry in the months after planting, water the new hedge thoroughly at least once a week.
- For informal hedges, you can usually enough to clip back the new growth by one-third after planting.