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Starting a new hedge

I've been in my house for 6 years.  The garden had literally nothing in it, apart from 3 diseased apple trees (which had to go).

Since then I've dug out borders, and we've also got a shed and a greenhouse.  It's south facing, and I garden on heavy clay.

I've not really changed the design (although I've wanted to), due to lack of funds and also not been sure about what I've wanted to do.

It's VERY exposed and windy, and I've been looking on pinterest, and thought I might try and put in a hedge near the back.  Partly to screen the shed and the back of the garden (which looks scruffy), and partly as a windbreak.  My plan would be for it to go right across the back, from left to right, with a gap in the middle.  I did think about trellis, but I don't think it would stand our winter gales!!

I'm not sure which type of hedge to go for though.  My inclination would be to have one which encourages wildlife.  Am I right in thinking I could use bareroot hedging and I could do that now?

In the long run I'd like some raised beds for veggies, and I'd put them in front of the hedge, so they would be more sheltered.

I've not got any photos which would show what I want to do, but I could take some tomorrow.

Any advice would be much appreciated.  Please excuse the essay!



  • Are you me lol

    I just put in a mixed deciduous bush hedge, I think you would do well with copper beech which  is a fabulous hedge and a haven for small birds and small things that go squeak. As a bonus it’s leaves are absolutely perfect for compost piles.   Bare root time is now :) 

  • Let's see, lack of funds and you want to encourage wildlife. So I would say that you shouldn't make a hedge where there are just one plant species, but a hegde with a multitude of them. Then it doesn't matter if you cant afford it all at once as they are all of different hights and all the animals can find their favorite,  Like a Thuja for the birds to nest in, some lilac for their beautyful colour and scent, you can even plant a fruit tree in the middle, like a plum. 

  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 3,128

    My garden is around 300 foot long , and thirty-years ago I planted mixed hedges up either side partly for privacy , for wildlife and as a windbreak .

    Consisting of native and exotic species :- ie Beech , Holly , Wych Elm , Oak , Hazel , Laurel , Cherry , Dogwood , even Rhus(!) , Field Maple , Ash , Sycamore , Hawthorn , Blackthorn and a Sorbaria ; four mature Birch trees overlook them all like sentinels . Rosa glauca weaves its way through as well .

    All this is mixed with an untouched conglomeration of nettles , ivy , dead nettles plus other herbaceous material normally classed as weeds ; this is all kept fairly tidy at about 2m high and 1.5m wide with a periodic trim using a long-reach hedge cutter . My mower stops it encroaching to the lawns .

    It was in hindsight the best thing I ever planted ; a perfect windbreak , a haven for birds and insects and I would not want  to be without it now . It shelters all my borders from destructive winds .

    What I'm eventually trying to say is by all means go for it and plant a hedge . They beat any fence or wall .

  • Thank you Learnincurve, Fire Lily and Paul B3.  I like the sound of the mixed wildlife hedge, however Paul I don't think my garden is big enough to sustain a hedge that high and wide.  I was thinking of something much smaller, both in height and width.  Would anybody have any alternative suggestions?  Thanks in advance!

  • Many years ago we planted a small wildlife hedge ... 12' or so long ... we used a mix of Hazel, hawthorn and beech ... it was easy to keep trimmed so that it didn't become too bushy , the Hazel was coppiced every few years which kept it manageable and provided pea and bean sticks for the veg patch. After the hedge had become established we planted dog rose and honeysuckle amongst it which looked gorgeous and again it was easy to keep under control with a pair of secateurs. That was around 40 years ago and the hedge is no longer mine but I do see it from time to time ... It's a lovely thick screen and full of birds and insects. 

    A 'bird sown' elder has appeared at the end of the hedge and looks just perfect. Nature at work image

    It's still less than a metre wide and around the height of a tall man as it provides screening alongside a right of way. 

    Last edited: 07 February 2018 08:48:17

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

  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 3,128

    It is always fascinating to see what appears in the hedges over the years ; I remember many moons ago when they were seemingly infested with strange looking grey larvae with red-spots , hundreds of them .

    Minor research divulged they were ladybird larvae ! Must be doing some good somewhere .

    Probably also something to do with the 'bio-diversity' of the hedges , but I never seem to see any serious pest attacks in the garden ; maybe a few greenfly on a couple of roses . Soap spray eliminates them normally .

    Both hedges end and conjoin on an unspoilt old hedgerow which borders our neighbours garden ; there appears to be a monumental bird cherry incorporated in all this plus mature ivies and other beneficial plants .

    As Dove says , "Nature at work" image.

    Sandra100 ; an alternative suggestion :- Plant a smaller 'wildlife-hedge' , they all contribute something image

  • Thanks Dove and Paul, great suggestions!

    Any advice as to the best place I could buy this from?  Presume it would be online?

  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 3,128

    Take a look at this Sandra as you may find it interesting .

    Hope all this helps you !

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  • plot52plot52 Posts: 15

    I've just planted a bare root mixed native hedge on my allotment as a windbreak.  I used the online company Paul B3 suggested. Prompt and helpful and some of the species have started to bud already. I used quite a bit of hawthorn as it grows quickly and I bought the youngest stock as also a bit challenged in the funds department, so only about 18inches to 2ft high. Rosa rugosa is robust and beautiful too. Just don't expect a quick fix as will take a while to get to the substance you need to block that wind. Good luck!

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