How to Plant a Hedge

Most hedges take years to establish, so plant as soon as you've decided on a type and design.

Private Outdoor Seating

Private Outdoor Seating

Photo by: DK - The Complete Gardener's Guide © 2011 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - The Complete Gardener's Guide , 2011 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Step 1: Prep the Soil

Ground Prep

Ground Prep

For planting hedges, start preparing the ground at least six weeks before planting. Clear the site of perennial weeds, then dig a strip the length of the hedge and 3-4 feet wide.

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Start preparing the ground at least six weeks before planting. Clear the site of perennial weeds, then dig a strip the length of the hedge and 3–4 ft (90–120 cm) wide. Fork plenty of bulky organic matter (such as garden compost or well-rotted manure) into the trench as you go.

Step 2: Dig a Trench

Trench Line

Trench Line

When planting a hedgerow, set out a line to mark the edge of row of plants. Dig a trench along it for bare-root plants.

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Set out a line to mark the edge of the row(s) of plants. Dig a trench along it for bare-root plants; you can dig individual holes for containerized or root-balled plants after marking out their positions. Use canes and a ruler to mark out the planting intervals, either in a single row along one line, or in two staggered rows, laying canes 18–24 in (45–60 cm) apart as a guide.

Step 3: Measure Plant Depth

Planting Depth

Planting Depth

When planting hedges, dig deep enough to bury the top of the root ball or to the soil mark at the stem.

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Plant at the original planting depth—this will either be the top of the rootball, or to the soil mark on the stem of bare-root plants.

Step 4: Firm Soil

Firm Soil

Firm Soil

When planting hedges, return the soil to the trench, and firm it well using your heel. At the same time create a slight dip around the plants.

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Return the soil to the trench, and firm it well using your heel, at the same time creating a slight dip around the plants.

Step 5: Water the Roots

Down to the Root

Down to the Root

When planting a hedge, water the plants thoroughly. The dip around each plant will help direct water to the roots, where it is really needed to help the plants establish.

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Water the plants thoroughly; the dip around each plant will help direct water to the roots, where it is really needed to help the plants establish.

Step 6: Cover with Mulch

Thick Mulch Layer

Thick Mulch Layer

When planting a hedge, place a thick mulch of well-rotted manure or compost, or of shredded bark, around the plants, making sure it stays clear of the stems.

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Place a thick mulch of well-rotted manure or compost, or of shredded bark, around the plants, making sure it stays clear of the stems. Alternatively, lay landscape fabric in strips on each side and cover with bark chips.

Keep Reading

1,000+ Photos

Browse beautiful photos of our favorite outdoor spaces: decks, patios, porches and more.

On TV

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.