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How to prune a newly planted beech hedge

Hello! I've just planted a beech hedge, the plants came in pots (5l) but quite tall (4-5ft) and with some long branches. They're in a mixed condition and pretty leafy but I understand it's important to prune them early so that they bulk out properly.
I've googled and youtubed but I'm not confident on where to be cutting them. RHS says to "cut leading shoots and side shoots by one third to a well placed bud", but I'm not sure what that means really, not sure what to do where the branches have smaller branches coming off them and not sure if there are any buds.
There's some images below and places I'm guessing I could cut, any advice would be gratefully received!
P.S. These look sparse/spaced but I've got some smaller 2l pots of mixed native hedge plants (60cm high) coming next week, they're going to be planted inbetween these.  


  • Arthur1Arthur1 Posts: 538
    Most hedges, after planting, should be cut hard back, but NOT if you want the individual plants to have a main stem/trunk. 
    Beech grow better with a main stem so I would recommend leaving the main shoot unpruned until it has reached the required height. For now  just trim the side shoots back by at least half.
    There will be a bud on EVERY leaf axil (where leaf emerges from stem) even if you can't see it. It will reshoot from these buds.
    I would not be too pedantic about where the cuts are made. Cut beyond a leaf or side shoot, try not to leave snags, cut to a straight edge so you have a neat finish.
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