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Feeding a hard-pruned beech hedge - help!

We’ve cut one side of our beech hedge back very hard in order to renovate it (bit late, but it’s been SO COLD and we checked for birds nests), and are wondering how to give it the best chance of rejuvenation.

Everything I read says to feed & mulch which seems like a good idea, but we have a lot of lords & ladies growing under there ... I’m a bit concerned about feeding them, even if we tried to dig out as many of the rhizomes as possible.  What should we do?


  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 28,846
    Assuming you don't want them, just pull out as many of the Ls and Ls as you can then scatter generous handfuls of pelleted chicken manure around the base of the hedge.  Mulch with well-rotted compost or manure or chipped bark.   The first 2 will help feed but may produce weeds from seed and the last will help retain moisture and prevent weed seeds from growing if you lay it thickly enough so no light gets to the soil.

    The Ls and Ls will no doubt re-grow but will get weaker if you keep pulling them so there are no leaves left to feed the roots.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 82,782
    I don't think a bit of Fish, blood and bone and some mulch will have much effect on the Lords & Ladies ... they'll grow with or without encouragement ... as wild plants they might even do better in unfertilised ground.  I'd not worry about them and get on and nurture your hedge  :)
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • Thank you both! Looks like I have my job for next weekend ... pulling up Lords & Ladies and then feeding & mulching. 

    No matter how many times I read that beech can tolerate a v severe pruning it doesn’t stop me shuddering when I look at it standing naked in the front garden. 
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 10,822
    I assume you mean the beech hedge looks naked and not you Sophie!
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • ha ha lizzie, good spot! I'm with you Sophie, we renovated our hornbeam in October and I'm praying for some sun to see if it's going to burst into life. It's beautiful, in a skeletal way, but we are also seeing more of our neighbours than we are used to - which will be weird when all the lounging and sunbathing starts!
  • Ha @Lizzie27 as soon as I hit send on that I thought ‘uh oh’.

    Now the renovation is nearly finished we have a big gap in the middle of the hedge (about 2 metres at the base, but less higher up) - there’s some kind of hazel in there which we’ll dig out, and a small ash on our neighbour’s side which will obviously stay. 

    I thought we’d try and tackle it firstly by trying to encourage some of the growth over that way this season - if it’s nearly joining at the top then perhaps it’s not too wide to do it at the bottom too.  If that doesn’t work, then I thought about planting some bare root whips in winter. 

    Does that sound ok?
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 82,782
    edited April 2018
    Pruning a beech hedge twice a year will encourage thick growth, and if the second pruning is in August it will keep hold of its gorgeous autumn leaves better through the winter.

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

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