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Cutting back beech - timing

gregcase1gregcase1 Posts: 3
Hi there,

We planted out some potted ~7ft tall beech trees as a hedge back in November.  We'd like the hedge to be about 5ft tall once established and got the larger plants to try to achieve an established hedge more quickly.  I'm now wondering when we should lop the top off it to encourage thickening down below.  I'm worried that if I don't cut it back sooner rather than later, all of this year's growing effort will go into height rather than width of the plants.

I know it's best to cut them back in the winter when dormant but is there an argument to suggest we should do this in summer once the plants are in full leaf?

Many thanks


  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Derbyshire but with a Nottinghamshire postcode. Posts: 16,472
    We always give ours an annual cut in August. If you only want them to be 5ft tall, I would cut them quite hard to about 3 ft now. That sounds very drastic , but you need it to branch from well below where you want the final height to be.  Don't forget to give them a good soak once a week at least all through the first year. A soaker hose laid in the hedge line would make that easy.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,148
    Yes cut back hard now. They'll furnish out over summer. 
    Keep watered well as already said. 
    It's rarely worth buying big specimens of hedging as they're harder to establish, and rarely look good unless cut back soon after planting. That encourages bushier plants. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • gregcase1gregcase1 Posts: 3
    August/September is a good time, once any nesting birds have fledged their youngsters, if you have any in there.
    Thanks - luckily they're still very tall and spindly so no chance of nesting birds at the moment!
  • gregcase1gregcase1 Posts: 3
    Thanks all, i'll get chopping this weekend!
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