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Native hedging

Hawthorn or quickthorn (Crataegus monogyna) is the basis of most native hedges in the countryside, usually making up between 50% and 100% of the hedge.

Other species commonly used to flesh out the hedge are field maple (Acer campestre), blackthorn or sloe (Prunus spinosa), and hazel (Corylus avellana) at around 10% each.

Additional natives can be added to mimic existing hedgerows and to give diversity for wildlfe and appearance. These can include dogwood (Cornus sanguinea), wild privet (Ligustrum vulgare), dogrose (Rosa canina) and particularly on chalk based soils in the southeast, guelder rose (Viburnum opulus) and wayfaring tree (Viburnum lantana).

Pot grown plants can be planted at all times of the year, but field grown, (bare root) and rootballed plants are available from the first or second week of November depending upon weather conditions. The season continues through to the end of March or first week of April. Planting can take place during this period as long as the ground is not frozen.

Dormant plants must have their roots protected from drying out and high temperatures, and if not planted immediately, should be removed from the bags and heeled-in in their bundles in some prepared ground where they can stay for long periods during the winter if planting cannot take place at once. In freezing conditions plants should be allowed to thaw naturally before handling.

Aftercare

It is most important that weed growth, and especially perennial weeds, are removed from an area at least 2' either side of the hedge. Grasses such as couch can quickly draw moisture away from the soil and weaken the plants in early summer. Treatment with a grass weedkiller or regular cultivation during the summer before planting is advised.

With resonable garden soil, heavy manuring and fertilising is not essential. However, the incorporation of tree planting compost, or well rotted organic matter such as leaf mould, peat or farmyard manure will be beneficial to root development. A little slow release fertiliser such as bonemeal can be incorporated at this time. Beware of over fertilising in the first year as youg new roots are easily burnt. It is better to let establishment take place in year one and feed in the second spring.

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