General Hedging Advice

Plant density (as a general reference point)

When planning a hedge, there are many factors to consider: Whether you are planning to plant with bare-root plants, pot grown or root balled, you will need to consider the density of the planting. 

The following factors are for a guideline only:

1) Your budget / How many you can afford?

Very low density planting will eventually form a hedge boundary. If you can't afford to go with increased density, do not be concerned as it will only take an extra couple of seasons.  The main point here being that you are aware of the hedge / boundary not be adequately filled from the point of planting. In this instance, it has been known to erect a temporary fence to eliminate any potential thoroughfares being made through your new hedge.

2) How quickly do you want the hedge to establish?

Our density recommendations are all based on the assumption that the plants will touch each other after the first full growing season.  If this is not sufficient, then you will need to go for a higher density of planting.  If you are looking longer term, then you could choose a low density planting as discussed briefly in point 1).

3) Is it imperative to have good hedge density at ground level?

If this is the case, then we would recommend starting off with a smaller grade of plant.  These can then be trimmed accordingly to create the right hedge for you.

4) How tall would you like the hedge to grow?

This may well have an impact on your species choice, so do consider the final height, and or the final trimmed height of the hedge.  Also importantly; the taller the hedge, the more resources it will use, such as water, minerals etc, and more importantly; your time to maintain it! Going with a low density planting here can certainly aid the hedges long term health.

5) Do all of the plants need to be of the same height?

There are many considerations here, but we find that two ways seem to work with our customers.  Firstly it depends where you want the most instant screening.  For example, a fresh hedge on a boundary next to a patio.  Plant larger plants at a slightly higher density here, and further down the garden, the size and indeed density can be lowered. 

Secondly for customers who need an instant continuous hedge, but don't have sufficient budget; to plant each alternate plant at the desired height and infill in between with smaller plants.  The smaller plants usually catch up and blend in very quickly.

The key to this is to plan and experiment a little, you certainly do not have to buy the plants all in one go!  Do a section for example, and see how it looks, and or certainly add infill at a later date.  If in doubt; please do not hesitate to contact us 01572 822729.

6) Types of plant on offer – which one is best for you?

Pot grown plants – plants initiated from a cutting and grown on in containers.

9cm pots or known in the trade as P9’s – planting here can be much denser, but does depend on budget and species!  Please contact us for more details.

2 litre pots - good density is 3 per metre but you can plant as few as 2 per metre.

3 litre pots - as 2L – plants usually more mature.

5 litre pots - good density is 2-3 per metre.

10 litre pots - good density is 2 per metre.

20 litre pots - good density is 1-2 per metre.

Larger pot sizes – please contact us.

For other pot sizes and or your own planning, please feel free to use the above guide to estimate or please contact us for more details.

Bare root plants

Definition - A bare root plant is a plant lifted from the ground and sold with the roots exposed, rather than in soil.   This type of plant lifting and selling does only occur during Autumn and winter months, and is a perfectly acceptable form of moving and planting many species eg  Buxus / native hedging / roses etc.  They do need more immediate care, and generally here at Welland Vale we try to stick to a 90 hour window of the plants being lifted / transported and back in the ground again.  This minimizes the ‘check’ in growth, and minimized any losses.

Many of bare root plants are deciduous and to give a good hedge, these are generally planted in a double staggered row so our recommendations are:

5 to 7 plants per metre for small plants (under 1.2m)

3 to 5 plants per metre for medium height plants (1.2m to 1.5m)

3 plants per metre for tall plants (over 1.5m)

(Evergreen equivalents of bare root plants such as Laurel and Buxus are generally planted a little less densely than their deciduous equivalents - but this does depend on the eventual height of the hedge – generally speaking, the taller the hedge, the sparser the planting should be see point 4). 

Root ball plants

Definition: A root-balled plant is generally grown in open ground, and can get to considerable sizes.  When the plant is ready for lifting and delivery to the customer, they are lifted out of the ground by a machine, which cuts a ball around the root which is then wrapped in a biodegradable hessian sack.  The sack is left on the plant to minimize disturbance of the roots.  Many more susceptible and evergreen plants such as Taxus are lifted this way to minimize root disturbance.

When planning to use root balled plants, the approximate guide for Container grown plant density and spacings is sufficient. 

When planning and planting larger evergreens however, it is important to clearly consider the planting and indeed maintenance of the hedge due to their large root mass and canopy.  Please give us a call on 01572 822729 if you would like any advice on planting, or please refer to the earlier points made in this section.

So, whether it's bare roots, cell grown, P9's, pot grown or root balls, we have plants for all budgets and all requirements - if you would like advice on which growing method would be best for you, please feel free to speak to our experienced sales team. 

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