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Planting hedging whips

In the next week or so I will have a number of privet whips to plant alongside an existing hedge to fill in gaps. As the ground around the hedge is quite firm, I thought of trying one of the 3" augers that fit on cordless drills to help with the holes for the whips.

Has anyone used one of these at all please, or has any advice?


  • KeenOnGreenKeenOnGreen Posts: 1,533
    I have never used one of those for creating planting holes, but I think it would be much too small, other than for creating holes for bulbs. To give your whips the best chance, the ground should be as finely tilled as you can reasonably make it, so that the roots find it easier to spread into the surrounding soil. A tiny hole with rock hard soil around it will just restrict the roots of your whips.

    I suggest you water the ground thoroughly, and leave for 24 hours. Try to then break it up as much as possible. We use a pick axe for really hard soil, and then use a fork or spade to then break up the pieces. Adding some fresh compost or well rotted manure afterwards will help to break up the soil, and also add much needed nutrients.

    You don't say how many whips you are planting, but I think you should be think of creating a long trench, rather than specific holes for each individual plant. 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 42,382
    I'd agree totally. I think it would be a big mistake to try and make suitable holes for whips with that. Even small ones have quite sizeable roots anyway, so a trench or some decent sized holes with a spade would be a much better option, with plenty of organic matter added. Thoroughly soaking the area first would definitely help too.
    They'd get off to a good start if you did that. It's going to be enough of a problem establishing them if they're next to existing hedging and it's that dry. Privet needs plenty of moisture to do well.
    I have the opposite problem here - soggy ground. It's much easier for autumn and winter planting though, as long as it isn't frozen solid of course  ;)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Thanks for the replies, really appreciate the help.

    As I mentioned, I'm trying to fill gaps in an existing hedge so digging a long trench would be difficult and could cause damage to the roots of the plants already in the hedge. I have about 30 whips to plant, all at different parts of a 100 foot long hedge.
  • robairdmacraignilrobairdmacraignil CorkPosts: 510
    I think you are right to avoid digging a trench that would damage the existing hedge. I find a good straight spade to be the best thing to take out a segment of soil about the size of the head of the spade that is often enough to accommodate the roots of young hedge plants. There is often a line visible on the stem of the young plant that will show where it was underground before it was dug up to be sold on and matching this line with the depth to bury the roots when planting is the best way to get them to settle in well. Once in the planting hole the soil can be stomped back down again around the roots and avoiding air pockets is said to help avoid frost damage to the roots. For a plant with bigger roots it might take a few extra scoops of soil out of the hole with the spade but I think less soil disturbance also helps plants settle as the various types of soil life are not all turned upside down by too much digging that would be involved in making a trench. Trees and shrubs are adapted to sending roots great distances to find what they need to grow so I've never bothered enriching the soil before planting and they seem to grow away fine but I do add organic mulches to the garden with manure and compost regularly which should help increase the fertility of the soil and keep weeds down a bit at the same time.

    Happy gardening!
  • Thanks again for the reply, really helpful.

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 42,382
    Essentially - you just need a hole decent enough to accommodate the root of the whip. Make sure the ground is moist enough first and it shouldn't be too difficult. You can mulch the whole area [including the existing hedge] afterwards too which will help with moisture retention, and improve the soil structure over time. It's worth doing that on a regular basis anyway.
    Privet is quite straightforward as long as it gets enough moisture, as I said earlier, but all hedging needs to be well watered until established.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Brilliant, thank you for all the help.
  • This was one of the videos I watched using the augers:

  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 4,156
    edited 10 January
    When you have a lot of whips to plant and haven't got the time or space to pit plant, notch planting is the usual method.

    See the source image
  • As a bit of a follow up to the question I posted, I bought a 3" auger from Amazon simply to try and see how hard drilling holes would be. All I can say is that I gave it a go with cordless and corded drills and both dug 8" to 10" holes without any problems at all.

    Apart from rain, the ground at the base of the existing hedge has not been touched for many years and is quite firm. Really pleased I've tried, now to get the whips bought and into the ground.

    Thanks to everyone for the help and advice, it has been really appreciated.
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