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Discard old soil to plant hedge



  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,353
    edited April 2022
    It's totally pointless removing the soil  :)
    Not just compost remember - rooted manure, leaf mould etc - in particular. Compost alone won't be enough to beef up the soil.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • fluviafluvia Posts: 48
    Will do, thanks :smile:

  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,478
    This is absolutely possible, I know because I’ve recently done a very similar thing in front of a tall, scrappy old leylandii hedge. I made a raised bed about 11m x 1.2 x 0.3m in front of it, sunk a root barrier down about 40cm into the ground at the back and backed it with a 2m high fence. The fence was to support climbing roses and the rest of the bed is mixed shrubs and perennials. You won’t need a fence with a hedge though.

    The leylandii roots spread quite far out and about as deep as the root barrier I installed. I just chopped through them. As others have recommended, I dug in a huge quantity of 50/50 manure and compost plus the bit of leaf mould I had. I would think you need to order in bulk, about four builder’s bags worth. Sounds a ridiculous amount but it just disappears! 

    It’s actually retained moisture really well because I soaked it in layers with the hose as I dug in the organic material and built it up, then we had heavy spring rains. With a good solid root barrier you don’t really need to go the raised bed route, I did because my soil depth is fairly shallow and what there is is heavy clay. If you do, bear in mind the levels of a raised bed will settle and drop significantly, so better to prepare it all now and then top up the levels and plant up in autumn. If you don’t, similarly, don’t be concerned if you have created a big long hummock, as I say it settles down 😊 
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • The soil is not dead, bad, contaminated or broken. It is dry, likely has lower proportions of organic matter, and may be lower in some minerals, but it is still useful soil.
  • StephenSouthwestStephenSouthwest Posts: 592
    edited April 2022
    If it were my project, I'd be following Nollie's advice.
    ...and I'd emphasise that to have sufficient nutrients and organic matter, to retain enough water and feed your new hedge, you would do well to find a local free source of very very old horse manure*, and bring in about 4 or 5 cubic metres of it - dump it on the top once you've the root barriers in, then plant the new hedge in, mixing in some soil or compost or leafmould around the roots.

    *Don't worry if the horse itself is quite young 😉
  • fluviafluvia Posts: 48
    Decided to dig a trench instead of raised bed. Found a lot of thick roots going across. Back breaking but almost there. I've bought portuguese laurel. 

    Got some new top soil, compost and manure from homebase. 

    Do I need bonemeal or rootgrow too?
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,353
    Bone meal is useful to encourage rooting, but what you'll need is very very intensive watering - for months. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 17,427
    I would get a leaky hosepipe to wind around the entire section after you plant. Then you will just need to plug it in and leave it a couple of hours to water it.
  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze Posts: 5,268
    You do need to check leaky hosepipe as it can get blown about. I am amazed by all your hard work. I think you will need to keep an eye on watering not just this year but 2 years hence. 
    Looking forward to my new garden with clay soil here in South Notts.

    Gardening is so exciting I wet my plants. 
  • fluviafluvia Posts: 48
    Thanks. I'm planting on both sides. 16m on right and 18m on left. Not sure the leaky hose pipe would have sufficient water pressure?
    Or water one side manually?
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