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Advice on planting hedge

We have been in our new house for a year now, and I will be looking to plant a hedge for next year. I am thinking of going for a Photinia Red Robin hedge, but I have heard mixed reports about them. I heard they take a lot of work to turn into a good hedge? I have 110m of fencing that will need hedging, so dont want anything that will be an awful lot of work. The local garden centre told me it would be sufficient to space the plants 2 per metre, but I am worried that will look a bit sparse? Does anyone have experience of these types of hedge? Any tips on best time to plant, and anything else I can do to help them? I was planning on killing off a 1m strip of grass, then just planting in the middle of the strip, and covering the dead grass with wood chippings?
Thanks in advance for any suggestions/tips!


  • There's some excellent advice on this site:

    They say 75cm apart for a dense hedge.  You will need to prepare the planting holes properly and feed and water them well for the first 2 years, so it will be a fair bit of work but this would apply to any kind of hedge if you want it to establish well.  After that it would be mainly just pruning with a feed every few years.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,099

    It is perfectly possible to make a very good hedge with photinia and every time you clip the new growth will be red.   This picture shows photinia hedges in a garden at Annevoie in Belgium - 

    I think you do need to do some decent soil preparation before planting and not cut corners.  They'll be in there for decades and you'll want them to grow healthily so rather than just killing the grass with chemicals and then expecting your hedge to thrive, you'll need to invest a bit more effort.   Take off the grass with a spade or else dig it in and then fork over the whole length of the hedge again to a depth of at least one spade and then add plenty of well rotted garden or bought in compost and some manure.   This will improve drainage and aeration as well as nutrient levels and help your hedge establish and thrive.

    Water the plants thoroughly before and after planting and then mulch with more compost or else wood chippings to retain moisture and keep down weeds.   The best time to plant is autumn to late Jan/mid Feb when the plants are more or less dormant and the roots have a chance to get established before they have the stress of providing fuel for the burst of spring growth.  Keep it watered in its first year.

    See here for advice from the RHS on photinias -

    These people are hedging plant specialists and have this to say - 

    Last edited: 12 December 2016 22:58:16

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • RedwingRedwing Posts: 1,391

    Some good advise already. I am a fan of mixed hedges which are the best for wildlife. Their informality looks good in my opinion too. There are some nice mixes available now; it should be about 50 percent hawthorn with holly, hornbeam, wild roses, blackthorn etc added. I don't think it's necessary to dig over the whole area but it won't hurt, just a lot of work. My preference would be to remove the turf, dig the individual holes (3-4 per metre) incorporate some manure as you plant and finally mulch the whole area with more manure.

    Watering will be important for two years. I've planted about 100m in the past five years and used a soaker hose for this which saved a lot of time.

    Based in Sussex, I garden to encourage as many birds to my garden as possible.
  • PosyPosy Posts: 3,601

    I wonder what you mean by a 'good hedge'? Your choice of plants should depend on what you envisage in terms of height, density and appearance. Will it be geometrically regular and trimmed or loose and leafy? Do you want a flat top or billowing mounds? Should it be evergreen, deciduous or mixed? Flowers and berries; wildlife friendly? Will it keep the kids and the dog in? It is worth doing a bit of research before you take out your purse. The planting advice above is excellent and essential for long term results.

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