Have faith Dave
...is that a "yes"?
I think you're more likely to get what you want from the hedge plants you've already got than by planting some huge things like the one in that last photo.
That photo shows a huge amount of foliage to be supported by a very small rootball - they're almost guaranteed to get transplant shock and loose at least half the leaves and look a mess - you'll have to cut them back too. And then there's a huge amount of foliage to catch the autumn and winter wind and rock the plant around, loosening the roots - rain will get in and freeze in the winter and cause all sorts of damage.
Stick with what you've got - treat them well, they'll put down a good root system which will give your hedge every opportunity to grow and grow and GROW.
I can't give you a guarantee, but I know which course of action I would take
Pot-grown older hedging is always a bad buy. By the time the main stems are 5-6 ft the roots are tangled and starved, less likely to spread. Rootballed hedging is better provided there is a lot of root dug up and wrapped in hessian. Such plants need a wider deeper trench to be planted into, the height should be reduced by half to a third and each plant should be staked or tied in to wire supports for the first few years. Blood fish and bone dressing plus a 4-6" mulch of leaf mould/composted bark will give the hedge the best start. If all conditions good expect 2ft of growth a year, but be prepared to cut back outward growth and make sure the supporting ties are not cutting into the stems
These are mine, planted as 18/ 24 inch bare root sticks in winter 11/12, This photo was in summer 2014. Never fed them and cut the tops off several times. So thats the growth in 2 years with cutting back. I will expect them to be at least 7ft this year, I will keep them at that but they would grow more if not checked.
Just a thought but as they were pot grown did you tease the roots out or just pop them in the ground straight out of the pots? (Sorry if this has been asked before)
Dave - I moved to this house just over 2 years ago. Late in that summer I moved a shed and all the planting next to it. One of those plants was an established laurel about 5 feet high and similar breadth. It required severe butchering to get it out and was a sorry looking sight about 12/15 inches in size and pretty bare- just hefty branches. It sat in a pile of rough soil over winter and spring until I eventually planted it in a corner last summer. It's now fully regenerated, double the size and I'd expect it to easily grow a couple of feet this summer. They're tough as old boots and once they get going, there's no stopping them
Hi. Thanks. You've convinced me they're tough and fast growing, my only query really was whether to change them to get my high hedge NOW... and get 3yrs privacy out of it in the meantime. But if mine are likely to be 8ft in 3 yrs from where they are now then then I'll stick with them I guess.
Lyn - no nothing like that - the guy I bought them off sent a 'gardener' to plant them and it was dig hole, out of pot and in the ground. As you'd expect I guess.
The others are right Dave - there will have been very little root ball trying to support a lot of height and even for something as robust as laurel, it's going to struggle if someone just digs holes and bungs them in. Poor show from the seller
Time spent on preparing the ground for any hedging (or any plant) is time well spent. Some compost, a bit of blood,fish and bone, water in well and mulch. Even compacted, poor ground can quickly produce healthy hedging if it's given a helping hand.
We didnt do much to the ground, couple of shovels of compost in there, to retain moisture, but the main problem if the roots werent teased out that they can just continue to go round and round and not spread out, they will particularly do this also if there has been any sort of fertilizer put down the hole at the time of planting. They need to be slightly hungry to enable the roots to go down deep to search for nourishment, sprinkle the fertilizer around the trees, not too close to the main stems and just scratch it in. Let the water take it down slowly.
I know most people will not agree with me on this, everyone loves to put loads of feed on everything, especially sickly plants, but the proof is in the pudding here.
Maybe next time you want to grow something you could ask us first, then a 100 people can tell you different ways to do it