A selection of Bare Root Hedging Plants and Potted Hedging Plants
If you’re planting a new hedge either of a single species or a mixed hedgerow then using bare root hedging plants is the best way to go as it will work out much lighter on the wallet. Pot grown hedging plants are substantially more expensive as they cost more to produce. Bare root plants will establish quickly provided they are well planted and as they won’t be able to absorb water from the soil immediately, they will have to be kept well-watered for the first growing season.
There is a very definite window of opportunity to use bare root plants, its where the old expression that planting should only be done during the months with an ’r’ in the name, namely September to April. I would shorten that season and recommend using bare root plants only from October to March. September in Ireland is often a great month in terms of temperature and sunshine and realistically too early for the nurseries to lift bare root or rootballed plants and at the other end April can be too late as the plants should be nicely ensconced in their new home before growth starts in earnest with the rising temperatures in the spring.
There’s something about a well-kept single species hedge. I think it speaks reams about the owner, neat, tidy, ordered and organised and equally a mixed hedgerow left untended speaks volumes. I’m probably somewhere between the two. As with all plant choices, there’s no right and no wrong way to go.
However, a good garden should work well with the surrounding countryside and to that end I think single species hedges, think Griselinea, Photinia and Conifer hedges, are well suited to urban and suburban spaces. That’s not to say they don’t work in rural gardens but they can look a bit contrived in what is otherwise a more naturally occurring landscape and in rural locations more options are thus available.
If you are planting a hedgerow then do look at the possibility of mixing it up.
On saying that I do love the look of a nicely tended Beech hedge during the winter anywhere, be it in an urban or rural situation.
Look at mixing beech with some evergreen plants Green or Golden Privet (Ligustrum) or perhaps Griselinea, Photinia 'Red Robin', Yew (Taxus), Hypericum or Portuguese Laurel (Prunus lusitanica 'Angiustifolia')
Maybe introduce further species such as Hawthorn and Whitethorn (Crateagus), Balckthorn (Prunus spinosa).
Hazel (Corylus), Cotoneaster, Spindle (Euonyus europeaus), Rosa rugosa, Flowering currants, (Ribes), Willow (Salix) and the Guelder Rose (Viburnum opulus) will all help to create a beautiful mixed hedge which will provide colour throughout all the seasons.
The more you mix it the more interesting it becomes and the more wildlife species that are attracted to the planting.
Some evergreen I would suggest is essential, perhaps as many as half of the plants should be evergreen for both aesthetics and for overwintering wildlife and the other species can all offer different seasons of colour and interest with flowers, berries and autumn colours.
All of the plants listed above are availbale as bare root hedging plants.
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If you are planting new hedges or trees during the next month or two then apart from ensuring that you choose the right varieties and good quality plants there are two other vital components to get right for those plants to thrive.
If necessary add some well rotten farm yard manure or even home made compost into the hole when planting.
If neither are available then use the plant based, organic plant food, Nature Safe granules. Mix this with the soil which you dig out so the roots will establish quickly and the plants wont be starved.
Might be a good idea to mulch around the base of the hedge or trees when planted also as this will help to counteract water loss through evaporation and also from weeds which will may otherwise colonise the area at the base of plants.
Do not use any of the plastic or woven plastic weed block materials as these will prevent earthworms from carrying out their essential work in the soil.
As a result, the soil will become compacted and the plants wont do as well.
Instead, if you want to use a roll of fabric weed block, choose the organic, biodegradable and compostable option. This will break down after 2 or 3 years by which time the hedge should be well established and weed control will not be necessary.