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In the garden with Lucy

I love a handsome hedge don’t you? The farmers have been busy trimming them for winter and nothing looks smarter than when they have just been cut.

I even stopped while I was driving the other day and took a photo of them cutting one as it looked so lovely….yes the farmer thought I was bit mad too!

And with the leaves now falling that’s our cue that we can plant any deciduous hedging: beech, hawthorn and hornbeam anytime from now until late winter providing a cheap, attractive boundary, structure and the perfect place for wildlife and nesting birds.

Planting a hedge is pretty straightforward and your chances of a successful outcome are good, providing you follow a few basic principles.

Preparing the ground well before planting is the most important thing to do, your hedge will be there for years to come so try to provide the best growing conditions to give it a fighting chance of surviving.

Dig a nice big trench (min 8” wide x 12” deep) and fill with a good quality topsoil and well-rotted compost mix. Then soak the bottom of the trench to encourage the roots to spread out.

Run a line from the start of the hedge to the finish or take your chances and use your eye but be warned it’s never quite as straight as you think!

Buy bare rooted plants in winter when they are dormant and they tend to be cheaper. If you get a chance to order them but are not quite ready to plant yet you can dig them into a patch of redundant ground until you are ready or if planting now soak them in a bucket of water.

Lay the bare rooted plants in the bottom of the soaked trench spacing approx. 12” apart and back fill with the compost mix. Heel in the plants nice and firm.

Give them a really good soak and keep well watered during dry spells for the first two years. Finally add a mulch of well-rotted compost or manure around each plant and you’ve done as much as you can to get them off to a good start.

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