How to plant a hedge ?
The planting of a hedge must be a thoughtful and mature project .
It is necessary to know the soil type and how it will affect the hedge.
Here is some advice on planting :
GET OUT YOUR PENCILS... and don't forget to think one year in advance... It's a guarantee of success !
- THINK one year in advance, (see my advice on hedges) look for and imagine the shape of the plant that matches your aspirations and respects the existing environment. Knowing the plot well is essential before planting a hedge; it's necessary to remain reasonable and not to plant something that will become a blot imposed on the landscape... (such as the endless thuyas). Non local species are possible, but avoid unecessary repetition of the same species! The golden rule is to always VARY the species. When your project is coherent on paper order the plants !
- PREPARE the soil deeply without turning it at the start of autumn, this promotes a good aeration and does not destroy the microbial environment.
- INCORPORATE if needed, organic fertilizer, which should be very decomposed manure, bone meal, or dried blood.
- MULCH with 10 cm of bark chippings, a not too fine compost, or spread a black plastic sheet " special hedge" 1,20 m wide. This will prevent the growth of weeds, capture the sun's warmth and keep the soil loose. In the first year the growth of your plants will double...
- PLACE the plants immediately into a container with water and soil when they arrive. The roots must never be exposed to light.
- "DRESS" the plants by cutting off about one third of the roots with clean and sharp secateurs. It's this that will help develop the future roots.
- PRALINE the roots, the practise of giving your bare-root plants a mud bath before planting, it forms a protective coating on the roots, and minimizes the damaging effects of any air pockets around them after you plant. In addition it provides a nutritive boost to ensure their recovery. The traditional
mix is: 1/3 water, 1/3 of the soil from where you are going to plant and a 1/3 of fresh cow dung (it contains stimulating hormones) but you can always use a commercially bought praline. ;-))
- ASSOCIATE the species carefully depending on your plan, pay attention to their growth (rapid or slow) so as not to stifle any of them.
The plants must be young. It's useless to hope to gain time by planting a subject of more than 1,50 m, the recovery will be too delicate and there will be reduced growth. Some forest plants from 40 to 60 cm will be perfect.
- PLANT in October or November, outside a period of frost, when the leaves fall.
Planting should be made in staggered rows, on 2 lines spaced at 40 cm with a "step" of 1 m. Plant the highest trees at the back, the shrubs and smaller trees at the front.
No hedge (except privet) is trimmed at planting except if it is late and the buds appear, in this case cut off around a 1/3.
Firstly cut the black plastic following the diagonales of a 30 cm square. Remove the soil, put the plants in place taking care not to turn the roots, replace the soil, tap in place with your hands to form a slight depression.
- WATER then cover the black plastic with sand to avoid it being blown away.
One year later :
- TRIM, that's to say cut, the young plant 10 to 15 cm from the soil to promote the growth of multiple low branches. This trimming takes place one year after planting, it's good for both free growing and cut hedges. During the following years the flower stems of a free growing hedge
are cut down at the end of February or June depending on the species. The berry fruiting trees and shrubs are not cut until after the berries fall. Strong stems are evenly cut to balance the look of the hedge.
Cut hedges should be trimmed on their 3 sides "square" twice a year by an amount of 10 to 15 cm each cut. Protect the cuts by using Norway (Pine) tar according to the species.