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Narrow hedge - Thuja or Taxus?

Looking to plant a narrow hedge, 5m long to grow to about 2.5m high and I'm wondering what would be the best to choose? Thuja Plicata or Taxus Baccata?

I'll be buying potted plants at 6ft high. Thuja is cheaper, needs to be planted closer, but works out around £220 for this hedge (8 plants). Taxus Baccata looks like it can be planted wider apart (1m vs 60cm) so I'll need less plants, but it's still more expensive at about £300 for 5.

This is just a narrow screening hedge that's required. I have no problem with 2x trimming a year. I believe they can both be cut into brown wood and regrow, which to me means they should make a good narrow hedge. 

Are there any obvious plus points for one vs the other at all?


Last edited: 10 January 2018 14:04:28



  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 83,932

    I'd go for the taxus ... a bit slower growing but I've seen too many thuja hedges spoiled by blight ... I wouldn't want to risk it.  I also prefer the look of the taxus but that's a personal choice. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • pbffpbff Posts: 433

    Taxus baccata is a good hedging and screening plant, unless you have heavy, wet soil, which it really does not like. 

    If you have heavy ground, you can get around this by planting into a 'ridge' of soil about 6-7in high and 3 ft wide and planting the plants a little less deeply than normal.

    It does regenerate from old wood, which is a rarity amongst conifers and very useful in a hedging plant.

    Thuja plicata can be prone to Cypress aphid and Thuja blight and doesn't regenerate brilliantly if cut too much into old wood.

    So, personally I'd go for the Taxus.

    The only thing is, I would advise that you buy smaller plants about two to two-and-a-half feet in height.

    Shorter plants establish much more quickly and 'knit' together as a hedge better. They are also not as expensive.

    Taller plants take about two years to establish and will need watering regularly during this time, will have less dense bases and do not stand up as well to wind and poor weather in general.

    I know it seems strange, but shorter plants actually grow to the desired height more rapidly than taller ones!

    I hope this helps.


  • punkdocpunkdoc Posts: 13,726

    Always Yew for me.

    How can you lie there and think of England
    When you don't even know who's in the team

    S.Yorkshire/Derbyshire border
  • Excellent thanks for the input. I'll price up smaller plants and go from there. One thing is that the hedge is to be planted against a 4ft high brick wall, that runs directly N-S, but other than missing a little morning sun the hedge should be fine as it'll get enough sunlight the rest of the time. 

    Waiting for a hedge to grow is worse than watching paint dry! I planted a bare root mixed species hedge along the front last year and willing it on to give us some much needed privacy.

  • Would you go for bare root Yew, or pots? Bare roots at 2-3ft obvious come in a lot cheaper. 

  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 3,065

    Personally I wouldn't buy bare-root Yew ; you don't know how long it's been 'bare-root ' and losing valuable moisture . Large pot-grown plants I've seen planted locally in the summer(!) ; must be at least a 40% loss, and at that price thats no laughing matter .

    All the advice above is , as usual , spot on .

    Point to remember though ; if against a wall make sure they're kept moist until established .

  • pbffpbff Posts: 433

    Bare root or root-wrapped is ideal.

    As your hedge will be against a wall, just make sure that you water regularly until they establish.

    Walls/fences create a rain shadow, meaning that hardly any rain reaches the area directly at the base of the wall.

    Mulching after planting also helps to conserve mositure, provide nutrients and reduce weeds.

    Your mixed hedge would probably benefit from an application of balanced feed in spring and a mulch, if you haven't already done so.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 83,932

    I'd always go for bare root  or root-balled at this time of year. imageou

    I agree with the above about watering ... the base of a wall is always dry whichever way it faces, not only because of the rain-shadow effect, but also because the foundations of a brick wall act as a sponge and absorb moisture, so attention to watering will be important ... good preparation and mulching will be important.

    Last edited: 10 January 2018 17:00:26

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • pbffpbff Posts: 433

    Snap, Paul! image

    I had to leave the computer half way through writing my post, hence the long time gap!

    Your point about bare root is a good one, although if you buy from a reputable supplier and not too late in the bare-root season, then you'll generally be ok.

    If in doubt, root-wrapped is the way forward.

  • pbffpbff Posts: 433

    Snap Dove!

    I don't think I've ever done that twice before in the same thread!

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