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Transplanting established hedges using machinery

Hi folks,

I have a very mature Laurel hedge and 2 sections of privet hedge. We are planning major building works and these hedges sadly need to go. I really want to move them to another position on the boundary.

So I was wondering if I can get the groundworks guys to do this with their digger? ie dig a long trench in the desired position, then just dig up the hedges and plonk them in?? Sounds easy, but I'm sure it's not so simple, and I'm not sure how deep we would need to dig. 


  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,123

    I'd take cuttings now coopers. The weather is still quite mild, both laurel and privet will root from hard wood cuttings.

    Keep them frost free if you can, a sheltered corner is fine. They will root by mid spring, then you could replant them.

    Digging anything up mechanically will do untold damage to the roots and is unlikely to work.

  • Thanks Dave,

    Oh that's a shame, as I need the height of the hedge elsewhere. Having said that, I've pulled up some privet growing in my friend's woodland and it transplanted really well, but they are small plants/saplings. Still, they are quicker than cuttings I guess, if I just get some more of those.

    Do you think it might be worth the risk of trying the digger route, if the groundworkers will be digging it up any way?


  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,167

    I don't know about Laurel, but Privet is pretty forgiving, it may be worth trying.image

  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,093

    I think it would be a waste of time. You'd have to cut them right back because the remaining damaged roots wouldn't be enough to sustain the tops or prevent rocking in the wind, so you'd lose the height anyway. 

    With the amount of root damage from mechanical excavation, almost guaranteed to chop through loads of roots, they'd probably die anyway.

    and then you'd be a year behind with a new hedge. If you look around the garden you may find some young ones to transplant.

  • Thanks guys. I forgot to say that anything young, or with new shoots, gets eaten by rabbits. I can't rabbit -proof the garden until the building work is done. 

    I suppose the alternative is to dig up manually..... groan...

  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,093

    good for the waistline Coopers and much better for the plants

  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,114

    Well the Highways Agency did just that all through Pembrokeshire when they put the gas pipeline through.  Dig and plonk.  As good a method as any.  The plants will barely know they've been out of the ground!

  • sounds encouraging, Welshie

  • I suppose the same problem applies to transplanting established evergreen shrubs?

    Specifically a Pittosporum and Red Robin

  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,114

    Just take as big a rootball as you can. 

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