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How to Plant a Hedge

Whether you want to install a border, or a habitat to attract wildlife, planting a hedge is a DIY project well within your grasp if you have a couple of hours and the interest.

Excerpted from Garden Design
Mixed Hedge Attracts Wildlife All Year Garden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009 A mixed hedge will attract wildlife all year. Don't clip too hard if you want summer flowers and fruit in the fall, and take care not to disturb nesting birds in spring.

An informal mixed hedge of native species will provide a rich habitat for wildlife, as well as attractive flowers and fruits. The best time to plant a bare-root hedge is in the fall, when plants first become available.

A few weeks before planting, remove weeds and dig the area over, working in organic matter. At planting time, weed the area again, tread the ground until firm, and rake level (image 1).

Mark the planting line with pegs and string (image 2). If you have space, put in a double row of plants for extra screening, and to cover up gaps if plants die. Set the rows 16 inches apart.

Materials Needed:

  • spade
  • rake
  • tape measure
  • string and canes
  • pruning shears

Planting the Hedges

Set the plants 32 inches apart. Spacing is critical for hedging, so use a tape measure rather than guessing. Dig holes large enough to accommodate the roots comfortably (image 1).

Plant the bare-root hedging plants at the same depth as they were growing in their containers; the dark soil stain on the stem will tell you how deep to plant them. Plant roses slightly deeper for stability. Firm plants in with your hands (image 2).

Stagger the plants on the second row to maximize coverage (image 3). Position the first plant 16 inches in from the edge of the front row. Keep bare-root plants wrapped until planted to prevent their roots from drying out.

  • Spacing is Critical for Planting HedgeGarden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009
  • Plant Hedging At Same Depth as Growing in FieldGarden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009
  • Stagger Plants on Second Row to Maximize CoverageGarden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

Watering the Hedges

Check that the soil around the plants is firmed in, and then water each plant thoroughly. Prune back the tips of any tall or leggy shrubs to encourage new, bushy growth from the base of the plant.

Firm in Soil Around New Plantings and Water WellGarden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

Excerpted from Garden Design

©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

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