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New Hedge - Beech or Not?

TimmyMagicTimmyMagic Greater LondonPosts: 132
edited March 2021 in Plants
I'm planning on planting a hedge to hide next door's ugly sheds. Here's a photo:



I've been researching for a while and have been planning on ordering green beech bare roots. Ideally I'd have done it already but next door is having these sheds repaired this week, so I've been waiting patiently. Once fixed I'm going to paint them (she is fine with that) a nice dark green and then get the hedging ordered.

Anyway, today I walked past some beech hedging and I was surprised how thick it was. This has got me wondering whether it might not be the best choice. I want hedging that will grow nice and tall to hide the sheds (yes I know it will take a number of years), but I don't want it to be too thick and take up too much of the border. 

Might privet be a better option? Or can beech be clipped to keep it from spreading too deep?

By the way, the sheds are south facing and get a lot of sun. 

Also, how close to the sheds would you recommend planting the hedging?

Edit: sorry, I did not choose the appropriate category for this post and don't see how to change it.
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  • You can keep a Beech hedge as narrow as needed. Maybe a foot minimum but better at two. 
    It's quite a slow grower though. About 20-40cm per year I'd guess
  • TimmyMagicTimmyMagic Greater LondonPosts: 132
    You can keep a Beech hedge as narrow as needed. Maybe a foot minimum but better at two. 
    It's quite a slow grower though. About 20-40cm per year I'd guess
    Thanks Shane. On the hedging websites they say it's "average" growth rate, so disappointing to hear it's a slow grower. Oh well, will have to be patient I suppose.
  • D0rdogne_DamselD0rdogne_Damsel Saint Yrieix La Perche, Haute Vienne/Dordogne border. FrancePosts: 3,728
    I have Beech edging (well a screen inside the garden) and it is quite thick, maybe 1 /2 to 3/4 of a metre wide. It is easy to trim though, but then the depth isn't an issue here so we have never tried to thin it out. It is a lovely hedge. I prefer it to privet. It has grown quite quickly too, although we are in the middle of France and have good summers (usually). 




    "To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul." — Alfred Austin
  • TimmyMagicTimmyMagic Greater LondonPosts: 132
    I have Beech edging (well a screen inside the garden) and it is quite thick, maybe 1 /2 to 3/4 of a metre wide. It is easy to trim though, but then the depth isn't an issue here so we have never tried to thin it out. It is a lovely hedge. I prefer it to privet. It has grown quite quickly too, although we are in the middle of France and have good summers (usually). 
    Thanks. Yes, that's a lovely hedge.

    It's not that it needs to be narrow as we have space, but I want enough of a border for other plants without losing too much of the grass area - as I want enough grass for playing badminton!

    This spot gets very warm in the summer so I'm not concerned about lack of sun. Although I'm sure you get more in France!
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,611
    There is an apple, pear and arable farm in rural central Belgium near where I used to live that had a very narrow beech hedge round the orchards nearest the lane.  They kept it to just below 6' or so high and no more than 12" deep so it acted as a windbreak and also a boundary but wasn't too solid.

    You really need to get bare root whips planted in autumn so they get the best start.   Bit late now for their roots to get established and support all the new spring growth.  Once the sheds are repaired and painted your planting distance will be dictated by how wide you want the hedge to be.  Before planting, make sure you prepare the soil well by removing any perennial weeds and working in some organic matter to help the roots settle in well.   Water well after planting and don't let them get thirsty in dry or hot spells.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • I suppose speed is relative. It's not at fast as willow but much quicker than Holly or Yew.
  • TimmyMagicTimmyMagic Greater LondonPosts: 132
    Obelixx said:

    You really need to get bare root whips planted in autumn so they get the best start.   Bit late now for their roots to get established and support all the new spring growth.  Once the sheds are repaired and painted your planting distance will be dictated by how wide you want the hedge to be.  Before planting, make sure you prepare the soil well by removing any perennial weeds and working in some organic matter to help the roots settle in well.   Water well after planting and don't let them get thirsty in dry or hot spells.
    Thanks Obelixx. The earliest they seem to sell whips is November and I'd rather not wait until then. I've moved many plants from this area already, last autumn. There are still some weeds, which I hope to clear very soon. I guess I could wait and I will if the sheds aren't fixed in good time, as could be the case. 

    There's another section of hedging I want to do right next to the beech hedge, which is better explained with another photo (not the best photo, but should give an idea):


    The plan is/was to plant beech hedging alongside the sheds, then to the right, mixed native hedging to hide yet more sheds. But that area is a real mess with tons of ivy and some old tree stumps. I'm going to hire a digger to tidy up that bit over the summer for autumn planting.

    Maybe it should all be mixed native hedging? I don't know. I was thinking beech for that section because it would make a better backdrop to a herbaceous border than native hedging, plus could be more compact.

    Decisions, decisions.
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,611
    Take your time.  Choose your plants.   Prepare the soil.

    Autumn really is the best time to plant because the plants, even evergreens, are dormant and that gives their roots time to grow into the soil and fix new root hairs to take up water and nutrients ready for the sap to start rising in late Jan/early Feb and the subsequent surge of growth in spring.

    If you plant in spring or summer you have to keep them watered all thru the season so they don't get stressed and fail.  Fine for a single shrub or two but hard work for a whole hedge.  
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • TimmyMagicTimmyMagic Greater LondonPosts: 132
    Yes, good points. I think I'll wait and do it all in the autumn, as I'm still undecided and shouldn't rush. 

    I think I'll grow runner beans in this part of the garden this year, which will block out the sheds for the summer months.
  • D0rdogne_DamselD0rdogne_Damsel Saint Yrieix La Perche, Haute Vienne/Dordogne border. FrancePosts: 3,728
    You could add in some sweet peas for prettiness too - but that's me being a girl.  :blush:
    "To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul." — Alfred Austin
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