Hedging your bets

TheSouthernGardenerTheSouthernGardener Munster, Ireland.Posts: 59

Hello All,

I'm planting a bare root hedge in the next few weeks and at the moment leaning towards copper beech mainly because of the fact that its quite ornamental and retains its old leaves during the winter months. I would like to get some peoples ideas on an evergreen alternative before I pull the trigger so to speak. I'd like to keep the hedge about 6- 8ft. high and maybe cut it max. twice per year. We are talking about roughly 30 metres of hedging in reasonably well drained neutral soil. I'm edging towards double row staggered planting for a fuller look more quickly and incorporating some bone meal into the soil before returning it to the trench. Also is it worth dipping the bare roots in some root grow solution at planting time. Finally to stake or not to stake ? Thanks ! 


  • PosyPosy Isle of Wight.Posts: 1,756

    Do you want a neat, symmetrical hedge with straight lines and flat surfaces or something more loose and uneven? Different plants lend themselves to different styles and it is worth looking at established gardens to see what appeals to you before you buy. You may - or may not - wish to encourage wildlife in or under your hedge and this will affect your selection, too. I love a mix of native varieties for an informal, wildlife friendly hedge but I have seen some beautiful mixes of beech, copper and ordinary green, in formal hedging. There are so many deciduous and evergreen hedging plants that you need to decide on your final look first.

    Bonemeal, yes, staking if it is a windy site.

  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 5,021

    When I lived with mum/dad we had a green beech hedge approx 300ft long on one side of the garden.
    It was a beautiful hedge. The trees were planted 4 thick, 18" apart in a zig-zag
    As they keep their leaves over winter it's a good boundary hedge -  and loads of bird nests.

    The only downside I recall was it used to get covered with aphids - seriously covered in them, and cutting the hedge in the summer as my dad used to do was a horrible, gooey task, but when it was nicely shaped it did look beautiful

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • CloggieCloggie Posts: 1,177

    I have an established copper beech (not planted by me) and I love it.  I'll take a picture today and post.  No idea how long it's been in but we've been here 3 years and I let it go a little higher to put it in the way of the line of sight of dog walkers on the opposite pavement through our lounge window.

    It is 6-8 feet high so I have to use a ladder platform to cut it which I only did once last year.

    It goes a fabulous colour in autumn and then like you say, keeps brown leaves over the winter.  Then, in late spring, all of a sudden, it turns green.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 58,699

    I'd go for holly ... just love a holly hedge ... tough as old boots .... looks good clipped or left to be more informal, really good for wildlife and berries at Christmas if you get both female and male types ... what could be better? image

    Last edited: 23 December 2017 10:39:39

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • TheSouthernGardenerTheSouthernGardener Munster, Ireland.Posts: 59

    Thanks for the swift replies everybody !

    Posy, yes I would like it to look quite neat and something I could shape but not neccesarily  box tight at the same time. I don't want to have to clip it three times per year. I already have a bit of a wilder, high treed area at the back of the garden which is absolutely covered in nesting birds early in the year so I have that covered. The only thing about a mixed hedge folks, is that it would have to be plants with very similar growth rates and habits as otherwise would it look a bit odd?. I have a neighbour with a mixed hedge( about six different plants) and its very up and down in places, I suspect because of different growth habits/rates. Pete, yes I'm really attracted by the form of copper beech and think it looks absolutely fantastic in winter with the starkness of the garden around it but I certainly wasn't aware of the aphid problems. I wonder does anybody else have experience in dealing with this? Cloggie, I absolutely love these hedges . There are a few in my area and like I said they look even better in winter for me with the lovely browns and orange hues and the almost see through appearance looks really nice I think. I'm always so jealous lol !. Dove, a holly hedge would be lovely for the patient man(or lady!)but I just haven't the patience to watch it grow. I do have a few young hollies in the garden though and they are gorgeous at this time of the year. On the subject of holly I was told there are some lovely small Japanese hollies with black berries but I haven't seen one myself. Merry Christmas all !image

    P.S - Where's the santa emojis ?

  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 3,355

    I prefer Hornbeam (Carpinus Betulus) to Beech. Not sure what you think, but in the winter time, the crinkled leaves take on a life of their own in low light. The winter golden copper tones are so nice against grass and greenery, .

    But, Cotoneasters are the perfect hedge plants for me. There's flowers and then berries. Both Franchetti and Simonsii can glow red and plum colours in autumn. So forgiving to pruning too, and makes the perfect winter/Christmas wreath. Branches are perfect for flower arranging throughout the year too. Good luck with your choices.

  • CloggieCloggie Posts: 1,177

    image showing the spacing

    image I love the colour

    image It can be a bit neater than this, I only cut it once last year

    image Close-up showing the spikes that one day next year just unfurl overnight and bing, it's green! 

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