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Hornbeam Hedge Soil

Hello, Im planting a ,not so long, 4.5mtr, hornbeam hedge of which 2/3rds of the length will be in a new site, an area that hasnt, and hasnt had any soil. Steep garden thats been intensely remodelled to suit a steel framed deck area. I have collected all the advice i.e. using small 3ft rootball plants, spacing, planting etc, but i need to get 0.5 mtr cubed or 700kg of soil. The existing 1/3 soil area is clay based, but not enough available to do the job. Can anyone please advise the correct soil type for my plants? My initial thoughts were to get my local soil supplier to drop off their sifted, usually for turf soil but my gut says no. Im thinking i need clay based proper soil for the job? Thanks in advance


  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,289
    Hornbeam is very adaptable, and where it's really good is in wetter sites that other hedging may tolerate less well. 
    If you're planting soon, you could just add any organic matter you can get hold of - well rotted manure, leaf mould etc, and the soil available. 
    I've planted hornbeam in a site which had mature trees, and that meant the soil was pretty non existent, dry and difficult. Despite the rainfall we get here, that ground was very dry, and those whips grew perfectly well, albeit slightly slower than the areas which were more open. 
    Your climate plays a large part, but at this time of year, it should be fairly easy to establish whips, or potted plants. A good mulch after planting will help retain moisture. Bark is ideal   :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • rachelQrtJHBjbrachelQrtJHBjb South BucksPosts: 809
    I have a lot of hornbeam hedging and its predominantly on gravelly soil. There are some pockets of clay. I planted hornbeam as the area gets rather wet in winter but is bone dry in summer. Without knowing it, some plants went in next to a hidden set of foundations from an old building yet establishment and performance has been the same irrespective of whether they are against old footings or not. All plants went in a 2-3ft whips bought from Buckingham Nurseries and I slit planted them as I had so many to do. 
  • LoxleyLoxley NottinghamPosts: 4,810
    When you say 'an area which hasn't had any soil' - what is there now? What are you basing your calcs for imported soil on?
  • The area has been modified with the staicase moved to the right, the light grey wall shows the original stair area, the S is some soil, the N is no soil due to footing digouts and because of logistics/constraints i couldnt keep any of the of the original soil. Im working on a volume required against compacted soil density/weight for amounts approx 850kg?riginal soil
  • LoxleyLoxley NottinghamPosts: 4,810
    I can't get my head around the quants but I would allow for 300-450mm depth decent quality topsoil (what you propose sounds OK), and anything additional needed below that to 'bring up levels' should be subsoil - the sort of stuff excavated for footings, you can usually get it for free if there's any construction going on in your area. There's no point laying topsoil deeper than 450mm - and if it's laid deeper the lack of oxygen can make it go anaerobic and harmful to roots.
  • rachelQrtJHBjbrachelQrtJHBjb South BucksPosts: 809
    What will be the height from the top of the rootball to the bottom of the deck's balustrade? Just wondering if you could plant a few pleached hornbeam instead of a whole hedge. I would expect pleached trees to have a clear stem of at least 6ft/1.8m. Think of it as a hedge on legs!

    Yes, it would be significantly more costly, but if there's the budget it could be an option. It has the benefit of giving you instant impact/screening.
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