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We have just purchased quarter of an acre of woodland that backs onto our house. We were hoping to plant a laurel hedge or similar around the perimeter. We live near a busy road and within a conservation area so fencing is limited to 3ft high, we would like a hedge for privacy.  One side of the wood has a sandstone wall but the other side is a small wooden fence.
The woodland is very shady and North facing. We also have clay soil. What would be the best hedging to plant please? We would prefer something fast growing but something that would be happy in such a shady area. We have made a start on clearing the area of rubbish, weeds and ivy but still an awful lot to do!
Many thanks. 


  • Is the privacy required in that wooded part of your property? Are you opening a nudist colony? But in all seriousness, a mixed native hedgerow would look so much better than the dreaded cherry laurel and offer much more to the birds and pollinators. If drainage is an issue as you suggest you'll also have to put some work in enriching the soil to gradually improve its structure but will take years. Probably worth having a look at what hedges are growing happily nearby and take a cue from them? 
    Many other members more qualified to make suggestions, but that's my gut feeling. 
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • Ha ha no nudist colony but we are on the edge of a busy dual carriageway/sliproad/junction so it's quite exposed. 
    The only hedge I've seen nearby are conifer types, the occasional laurel and hawthorn but they all look pretty healthy. 
    I'll take a look at the mixed native hedgerow, thanks. 

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 50,155
    edited August 2019
    I'd agree. A mixed hedge would be perfect, unless you desperately need something evergreen or semi evergreen, in which case I'd pick beech or hornbeam.
    The ground will probably need a bit of attention before planting, as @amancalledgeorge says, because it will be quite dry I'd expect. Well rotted manure will really benefit the ground, and the new plants. I'd dig a trench where you intend the line of hedging, and get as much into that as you can, along with a good watering . Some bone meal mixed in will then get hedging whips off to great start :)
    We're approaching bare root time of year, so it's worth looking at some specialist hedging sites for prices and ideas, and it will give you time to get the ground noursished/watered before planting later in the year. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 82,737
    I totally agree with you @amancalledgeorge

    In a similar situation we planted a hedge of mixed natives ... hawthorn, beech and hazel, with wild rose and native honeysuckle weaving through them. Gorgeous and so good for the wildlife. 

    Cherry laurel always reminds me of graveyards and crematoria. 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • The ground has been covered in ivy for many many years, it is quite dry. I have horses so I've a huge manure pile which is just about composted so I'd planned on digging the trench and filling it with the compost. 
    I prefer something evergreen but I'm happy to look at other options. We have an abundance of wildlife but anything to encourage more is never a bad thing. 

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 82,737
    Include lots of holly in the native mix 😊  
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • Sounds great @allison.wanstall update us on progress, wonderful to be able to help the wildlife while making it look beautiful.
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
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