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Help! My 4 new trees are way too big for my garden

I am having a momentary panic attack.  I bought 2 Prunus Spinosa (Sloe) and 2 Crateagus monogyna (hawthorn).   I have a small new-build garden that I am eager to get to work in, but these trees were not part of the plan; I bought them because they were on sale and I just impulsively went for it.  Is it possible to make a back garden hedge to cover the wooden fence with these shrubs?  Is there anything else I can do with them?  

Thanks very much.  


  • FireFire North LondonPosts: 16,539
    edited 29 July
    Welcome, Jubilee.

    When you say "too big", what do you mean -- the existing size of the trees you bought or the size they might become? Both trees are fine for hedging and you should be able to keep the hedge to whatever height you wish. How big a space do you have for them?  How big are the trees now?

    Just careful to leave a large space when planting well away from the fence, and make sure they are deeply watered for the first few years. Where in the world are you?
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 19,564
    I have a very big hawthorn that has been allowed to grow into a tree but there are hawthorn hedges here around fields that farmers have kept trimmed which goes to show that keeping them cut to the size you want works.
    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 80,516
    edited 29 July
    I agree with @Busy-Lizzie re hawthorn .., it can be kept as a trimmed hedge .., however blackthorn (prunus spinosa) will sucker prolifically and cause problems in a small or even medium sized garden. I would not use it. 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • WoodgreenWoodgreen Posts: 874
    I agree with @Dovefromabove,
    blackthorn is unsuitable.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,640
    I also agree, leave it right out with the Blackthorn
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,223
    We planted a hawthorn hedge in our last garden to provide a windbreak between us and the field behind.  It was planted in well prepared soil as single stemmed whips and then pruned to 9"/23cms and watered.   It grew 6' in its first season and we then pruned it to 3'/90cms.  In subsequent years we kept it to 6'/180cms.  Great hedge for wildlife.

    If your plants are already tree or shrub like, plant them in well-prepared soil (well-rotted compost or manure or other soil improver) and water them well before and after and keep them watered till the autumn rains arrive.   Prune them to maintain height and width.

    Can't comment on blackthorn as the only ones we have here are tree-sized and in a mixed hedge round a paddock. 
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • FireFire North LondonPosts: 16,539
    I am happy to defer to experienced blackthorn growers. 
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