Forum home Problem solving

Thickening a Sparse Beech Hedge

Hi. My first ever post - and I'm a novice gardener with limited knowledge. I'm hoping someone can help with my poor beech hedge which has been so drastically cut back on our neighbour's side that we have almost no privacy left at all. I could cope with that during the winter months but, looking at the leaf buds, I think we will still be left with a very sparse and holey hedge come the warmer weather. Has anyone got any good suggestions on how we can (quickly) thicken the hedge (perhaps with holly?) or what plants might look good and provide cover in front of it? We have a small laurel already. I'm aware that the beech roots are dense so digging planting holes could be a problem. I'm desperate to get my privacy back but don't want to give the neighbours the satisfaction of taking out the once-beautiful hedge and replacing with a fence. Many thanks!

Posts

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 71,880

    Hi Northern Clay image 

    Cutting the hedge back as your neighbours have done will thicken it beautifully on their side.  There's a gardening saying, Growth follows the knife'.

    What you should really do is trim your side back properly too.

    Growing other plants against or through it will weaken the beech's growth and there will be fewer leaves and even more reduction in privacy.  If a beech hedge is kept trimmed back it will retain its leaves, even in the winter, so you will have privacy then too.

    Make sure that grass etc doesn't grow right up to the base of the hedge, and sprinkle the area around with some Fish, Blood and Bone (as directed on the pack) - this is a slow-acting fertiliser which will encourage good bushy growth throughout the spring and summer.

    This site http://www.ashridgetrees.co.uk/gardening-advice/how-to-plant-hedge/beech-hedging-pruning will give you more information. image

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • Thanks Dovefromabove. I hope you are right about the thickening, however, their technique was more ripping out whole branches rather than a lot of clipping and pruning, so I fear the worst! I'll leave it a year and see what growth we get. Will also try the fertiliser you suggest. Thanks so much for taking the time to reply.

  • BiljeBilje Posts: 624
    We've had to thin down our hedge. I was advised to do one side at a time to let the hedge recover which is what we're doing . It's incredible how much leaf they produce from one little pointy bud. I have to be patient in the spring as it looses it's over wintered leaves and here in the NE it doesn't get going til May.

    Clipping in late summer ie taking off some new growth helps it retain it's leaves.

    The BFB is a good tip, thank you Dove.

    Perhaps growing annual climbers up it would be OK, nasturtiums say, I can't imagine they'd take up much food and you could make a hole with a spike to plant the seeds.
  • Thanks, Bilje. I shall see what develops this summer! Maybe my neighbour, in trying to take away much of the hedge, will have given it a new lease of life come the new growth? We shall see. As I said, we have beech on 3 sides and, although clearing up the shed leaves and clipping back are time consuming, it is beautiful and so many birds love it. We have had many generations of blackbirds and sparrows making their home in it.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 71,880
    Bilje wrote (see)
    ....  Perhaps growing annual climbers up it would be OK, nasturtiums say, I can't imagine they'd take up much food and you could make a hole with a spike to plant the seeds.

    No, please don't do that - they'll prevent sunlight and air getting to the hedge which will mean fewer leaves and the possibility of fungal diseases.

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • TopbirdTopbird Posts: 6,361
    Hi & welcome Northern Clay

    Just to add my voice of reassurance....

    We also have a beech hedge which normally gives us good privacy - but it was very high in places making hedge trimming a difficult 2 - 3 day task. It was also very uneven & quite thin in one or two places.

    We had it cut back hard in December (abt 1.5 m ht reduction in places) to encourage it to thicken up & to make maintenance easier in the future. At the moment it looks very sparse (the cut back removed all the leaves which would normally give us some winter privacy) & anybody using the footpath at the side of the house can see straight into our sitting room.

    I can, however, see buds forming & I know we've done the right thing. I will feed it now I can see signs of growth & I am hopeful that a little TLC this year means we can have a beautiful thick hedge in the future.
    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • Thank you, Topbird. I am reassured by all the posts on here that my neighbours might have actually done me (and my hedge) a favour! I'm really looking forward to seeing what it looks like as the new leaves come through (quite late up here in the north east). I hope that your trimming and thinning also reaps benefits and you regain your privacy soon! 

    Dovefromabove, I'll not do any planting in amongst the hedge and will adopt an optimistic "wait and see" policy! Am going to get some fertiliser this week.

    Thanks again everyone.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 71,880
    NorthernClay wrote (see)
    ... will adopt an optimistic "wait and see" policy! ....

    Exactly the right attitude - at least half-way to being a real gardener image

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







Sign In or Register to comment.