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Planting Buxus hedging - New build hardcore base

Hi Gardeners,

Really hoping someone on here can give me some advice on how to plant some buxus hedging in my front garden. My plants arrived today and got the spade out eager to get them in the ground only to be reminded that beneath the soil was hardcore and stone/cement/sand mixed. 

There is about a spades depth which is not quite enough for the plants so I have ordered a pick axe to get a little deeper at the weekend.

Im thinking that I need to go deep enough to be able to back fill with some good soil before planting with a good compost?

The question is how deep should I go, do I need to go deeper or would the plants sit on top and live long happy lives regardless.

Pictures attached but i can take better ones if needed.

Thanks Rob 


  • Bee witchedBee witched Scottish BordersPosts: 1,098
    Hello @NotAlanTitchmarsh,

    Welcome to the forum.

    You won't want to hear this .... but I think you need to go at least twice as deep and as wide. You will also need to break up the bottom of the trench to ensure it drains OK.

    Just be careful when you're digging to look out for any services going into the house     

    Bee x
    Bees must gather nectar from two million flowers to make one pound of honey   
  • LoxleyLoxley NottinghamPosts: 4,976
    Are you exposing the haunching for the path edging, or is the whole bed like that?

    I would dig out a bit further and plant about 20-30cm from the edging. If you're lucky the soil might be deeper at that point. If not you'll at least have to break up the sub-base underneath.
  • TopbirdTopbird Mid SuffolkPosts: 7,586
    Ditto and ditto.

    Box are hungry plants. They need to be able to extend their roots into decent soil. I would definitely plant them further away from the path / drive edging. 

    I think the plants will struggle (at best) or die if you don't spend some time and effort giving them a more hospitable home.

    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • Thanks all for the responses I guessed it would need to go deep 😩 probably should of dug a trial hole before splashing out on the plants.

    I think it is partly the haunching but as you go further in it is just hardcore mixed. I take it I should not remove the haunching as it may impact the path?

    i will go further in tonight and see if I can make any progress that way as the pick arrived today. 

    Will there be any impact on the lavender (if it comes back) if I go to close?
  • LoxleyLoxley NottinghamPosts: 4,976
    The lavender looks dead. Is there poor drainage in there?

    You can't really remove the haunching unfortunately. Remove hardcore from under the planting trench if you can, but if you have a decent depth of good soil on top, and it drains, you might be able to get away with just breaking it up with your pick. 

    If you can raise the soil level a bit (with a little slope around the edge to meet the pavement), using good soil, that will help.
  • I thought last week that they were dead but some green is coming through this week in places. My skills in the garden are limited so maybe false hope.

    The ground drains really well there is never any standing water, I was going to add some John ins and blood and bone not the soil once I had planted the box hoping that might help them come back.

    I will dig down as much as I can as not an awful lot else to do given the current circumstances 
  • Made some good progress tonight increased the width and you were right the haunching only covered the sides and the hardcore comes away easily enough with the pick.

    If the haunching starts to come away does that risk the paving caving in?

    Also once I reach a depth of say double the plant how deep should I back fill and should I mix the John ins I have with the soil I removed, sprinkle in some blood and bones and then use the compost to surround the plant?
  • singhmarksinghmark LondonPosts: 9
    Rik56 said:
    I wouldn't plant Box at all if I'm honest (blight - moth etc). I would look at other similar types of hedge plant - Ilex Crenata or Euonymous "Jean Hughes" and plant at least another 200mm from your kerb.
    Agreed, I regret doing a box front hedge. The amount of spraying and treatment it requires to keep it even semi-healthy is way too much. 
  • Rik56 said:
    I wouldn't plant Box at all if I'm honest (blight - moth etc). I would look at other similar types of hedge plant - Ilex Crenata or Euonymous "Jean Hughes" and plant at least another 200mm from your kerb.
    Hi Iam a relative newbie to gardening, spent the past week digging out and improving soil for a new small hedge, had my heart set on box, then I read about the blight and moth, I've just seen your post and will be following your advice, just got to decide which one now. Thanks for the help 😃
  • Thanks all for the support with my already disastrous purchase 😂

    Crap soil quality and moth ridden plants that are likely to die.

    The mrs will be pleased    
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