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Which hedging plant?

MertynMertyn Posts: 13


We have a 3ft brick wall facing on to a main road and would like some more privacy so want to grow a 6-7ft hedge next to it.

We're a corner property so i'll need to plant approx 10m of plants at a guess.

I'm very undecided on what plant to actually use. The three that have stood out to me so far are:

Privet: Cheap, solid and popular by all accounts?

Beech: Cheap again, colour change in the autumn appeals to me.

Portugese laurel: Proper evergreen, more expensive than the other two?

My requirements are pretty basic:

Looks good at about 6-7ft when grown, will give privacy all year... that's about it! I don't mind about maintenance as i'm out in the garden quite a lot.

Could you guys suggest which of the above would work best for me or recommend any other plant?




  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,783

    Hi Mertyn - how much room do you have in terms of width for the hedge? Most laurels get big and don't do well when you try to clip them tightly, so you need a decent amount of room to allow them to look good.

    Privet and beech will take tight clipping. Hornbeam is another good alternative - very similar to beech, but will tolerate wetter conditions, so if that's an issue, it's worth bearing in mind. I love it  image

    Privet isn't strictly an evergreen - although it tends to be so in wetter areas. It'll often get a bit sparse in cold, frosty locations.

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...

    My mum's neighbour is also on a corner site and has this behind a 3ft wall. He put in a raised bed first to get height more quickly but that isn't necessary. It looks very well and isn't too formal.

  • I can probably spare 4-5ft? Preferably less so maybe laurel isn't ideal.

    I live in the Thames Valley area, average wetness and not particularly cold!

    PlantPauper: I've never heard of that plant but it does look interesting. I'm probably looking for more of a known quantity at this point. Thanks for pointing it out.

  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700

    If you are thinking about Privet, I think a far better alternative would be Sarococca Confusa. They are much more stronger growing, healthy looking glossy leaves with small white flowers and dark berries as other interests. Privet can suffer and sometimes look quite gappy and weak.

    Hornbeam, as Fairygirl suggest is really also better as an alternative to Beech. They are more tolerant of a variety of conditions, but particularly better in damper soils.

    Last edited: 09 September 2017 21:09:33

  • Based on your feedback i've decided to go for Hornbeam. Either exclusively or with a few hawthorn and blackthorn interspersed. Could you give me some advice on the following:

     - Should I stick to just Hornbeam would would mixing in some Hawthorn/Blackthorn be a good idea for a hedge next to a public footpath/road?

     - Should I plant in a single line or stagger? How many plants per metre?

    - I've read to prepare 30cm of soil either side of the plants, so this would be planting them 30cm away from the wall, is that correct?

     - I'm looking at getting bare root whips in Nov, probably 60-90cm ones. Should these be cut back when first planted?

     - I'm going to be digging out a variety of mature shrubs to make way for the hedge, what kind of prep should I do to the soil? Mycorrhizal fungi? Bonemeal?

     - Is a leaky hosepipe overkill for 10m of hedges?

  • a1154a1154 Posts: 1,106

    Buckingham nurseries website have some pics of hornbeam year 1, year 2 etc and lots of advice. There is nothing like hawthorn for knitting a hedge together and it's fast and brilliant for wildlife. I'd go for mixed every time, I have a mix of 3, but your situation is different and you might want a more formal look next to the road. Consider if you want spikey too, hawthorn is armed and dangerous.

  • Thanks i'll check it out, i'm a bit torn as on the one hand i've heard that hawthorn/blackthorn are great for wildlife (would they use it next to a quite busy road?) But I also do want to end up with quite a manicured hedge so maybe 100% hornbeam is the way forwards? Also do have to consider that the general public might not want a but scratchy hedge they have to walk past.

  • What about Yew?

  • Hi bob, I think i'm going to stick with hornbeam now, not to keen on the poisonous nature of yew as I have a young child.

  • PerkiPerki Posts: 2,491

    Personally I go with the beech unless the site is damp / wet. The leaves are nicer and they retain they winter leaves better than hornbeam. 

    Blackthorn throw out huge suckers, I pulled out a 6ft + sucker from under the lawn before and they self seed . I think hawthorn possibly would be better option.

    Last edited: 11 September 2017 12:49:10

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