Green Fingers: Hedge your bets and plant for the future

James Vaughan

Reporter:

James Vaughan

Green Fingers: Hedge your bets and plant for the future

The more attractive purple beech cost a bit more but its well worth it

Imust say a big thank you to all of you who contacted me regarding last week’s article. It must have contained something that struck a chord with people.

This is hardly surprising when you consider we have so many hedgerows surrounding us. For this reason, we will focus this week on hedge and hedgerow maintenance. While last week we looked back and spoke about the history of hedgerows, this week we will look forward and plan for the future.

Laying Hedges

This is a technique sometimes used as a way of maintaining hedgerows. Trimming the hedges each year is necessary but it is not the best for wildlife. This is because it leaves them a bit bare after they are trimmed. Another technique to use is to ‘lay’ the hedge- also referred to as a living hedge. This is something we have done with a stretch of hedgerow in our garden. Instead of cutting each stem fully through, we only cut three-quarters of the way through. We then push the stems over until flat and repeat the steps. Eventually we will have cut each stem and reduced the height of the hedge. The hedge will be , however, thicker and therefore offer more cover for wildlife.

Planting hedges

This time of year is a good one for planting all sorts of hedging- both formal and informal. If planting a hedgerow, you would be planting mainly black-thorn (Sloe berry) and white-thorn (Haw-thorn). For a bit of interest, you might plant some additional varieties. Examples could be hazel, wild rose, holly etc. A hedgerow is really only an option for you if you have a very large garden or site.

While mentioning beech, I just want to speak about purple beech. When buying beech plants you may be offered ‘green-beech’ or ‘purple beech’. Purple beech is going to cost you a little more than green beech. Purple beech is more is more attractive but does not have the full vigour of green beech.

Formal Hedge

These hedges are more suitable for smaller gardens. They are also the type of hedge to go for if trying to achieve the classic formal look. Formal hedges need to be clipped regularly to keep their shape- at least twice every year. Only certain plants are suitable for a formal hedge. Beech and Hornbeam are examples of deciduous types. Evergreen examples would be Holly and Prunus (Laurel).

Informal Hedge

These types of hedges are chosen by people who wish for a bit more variety. Several different species are used- both deciduous and evergreen. The idea is to provide a bit more interest in the hedge. Informal hedges have the added advantage that they require less trimming. Choose an informal hedge for the natural or wilder look.

Where and when to buy

Hedging plants growing in pots can be planted at any stage of the year. If, however, you wish to save some money then there is an alternative. By Buying hedging plants bare-rooted this can be achieved. Bare-rooted plants and trees are only available from around the middle of November until around the middle of February. And there are some drawbacks. They need to be planted immediately after you purchase them. If this is not possible you can cover the entire root ball with soil until you are ready to plant them. Try if you can to purchase bare-roots from a local and trusted supplier.

Contact James

james.vaughan1020@gmail.com