Choosing Hedges for different purposes
Formal hedging (the hedges that look well tended and are used in and around gardens) can be deciduous or evergreen. Some deciduous hedging holds its leaves (albeit dead) through the winter. This kind of hedging has the same attractions in terms of privacy that evergreen hedging does. However if wind protection is a consideration, then hedging plants that drop their leaves tend to make better windbreaks than evergreen/brown hedges as they reduce wind flow rather than block it entirely (which causes turbulence around the hedge). However hedging clothed in leaves (whether they are green or brown) looks less bleak.
Click on the highlighted plant names in the lists below to go to the relevant shopping page on this site where you will find more information about each hedge plant including pictures and any specific planting instructions together with the sizes we stock and their prices.
Outstanding formal hedging that has beautiful foliage in spring which turns a warm golden brown by late autumn and then is held on the hedge through the winter.
Beech, Copper (or Purple).
Identical hedging in all respects to green beech except for the leaf colour, which is almost pink in spring, darkening through burnished copper to purple. Looks good when mixed in the same hedge as green beech.
Common Box is slow growing so best for smaller evergreen hedges and formal hedging in herb gardens and rose borders. Shade tolerant.
Cypress, False or Lawsons.
The thinking person's Leylandii. This is a fast growing evergreen hedging conifer, much darker in colour and more forgiving of mistakes when being trimmed as a hedge. Clip in early spring and early autumn.
Evergreen hedging with familiar prickly leaves that grows almost anywhere, looks good at Christmas and adds a measure of security. Works well mixed in a hedge with Cherry Laurel
Sometimes called Holly Oak. This is a cross between an oak and a holly. Not very prickly, wonderful in windy spots and by the sea and makes a fantastic evergreen hedge.
Deciduous and a very similar hedging plant to beech but hornbeam is better on heavy soils that drain badly.
Laurel, Common or Cherry.
An evergreen hedge plant, larger leaved and a lighter green than its cousin below. The best hedging to reduce traffic noise and light.
Smaller leaved and a darker green than Cherry laurel this is a fantastic flowering evergreen hedge plant where dense lightproof and sound proof hedging is needed
As for green privet, evergreen but a variegated hedge plant, with gold/cream margins on the leaves.
Evergreen hedging that loves places other plants regard as hell. Ideal for roadside, polluted, dry, dusty and shady spots. Clips really easily.
Western Red Cedar.
Slower growing than False Cypress, but Thuja makes a wonderful, evergreen aromatic hedge. Clip in early spring and again in autumn.
These are all good hedging plants, just remember that (with the exception of yew - see below) conifer hedges need bi-annual clipping. If they are not trimmed regularly they are hard to get back under control.
The king of hedge plants. Yew hedging grows surprisingly quickly until the leader has been cut off. Once established yew usually only needs clipping once a year. Very hard pruning in mid winter easily restores old and badly maintained yew hedges. A well clipped yew hedge is a thing of great beauty and adds style, form, structure and value to a garden in a way that no other hedging plant can.
If you want to buy any of the hedge plants above in packs of 50 please follow this link to our Hedge Packs
Maintenance of most hedges is generally limited to keeping the ground free of weeds and one or two clippings a year. If they need formative work, beech, hornbeam, privet and yew hedging can be cut back hard in winter.
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Mixed hedging, sometimes called native or country hedging provides a more varied habitat and a wider range of food sources and nesting opportunities. These hedges help bring a wider range of wildlife into the garden. Use one of our suggested hedging mixes, or be adventurous and make up your own hedge. The list that follows is made up of the plants that typically are used together to make the traditional country hedge. Suitable candidates would include:
Blackthorn, Sloe A good hedging plant in its own right where being impenetrable is important
Shrub Honeysuckle. Not a climber but a bush that looks very like a small leaved cotoneaster or privet. Much underrated as a hedging plant. Clips well and is much loved by birds and dormice.
Wayfarer, Wayfaring Tree
These do best when cut back every other year as biennial trimming gives the plants a chance to flower and fruit. They therefore tend to make larger, shaggier hedges, but ones that teem with life.
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BARRIER HEDGING AND SCREENING TREES
Most hedge plants and trees will, in time, provide excellent screening and protection - you can neither see nor get through a well grown beech hedge. The lists here do not therefore cover every plant, just some of the ones that specialise in "defence" and screening.
Barrier hedging is generally designed to keep someone or thing in or out and so the hedge plants here tend to be thorny. That does not take away from their beauty - just think of a rose. Some, such as most of the Berberis are truly vicious and we advise wearing leather gloves when planting and trimming any of the hedge plants that follow:
An evergreen Berberis with extremely prickly, dark shiny green, holly-like leaves. The new leaves are almost red and turn green as they age. Orange flowers in Spring.
Julian's Berberis, Wintergreen.
Another evergreen hedging Berberis with dark green, spined leaves. Yellow flowers in spring. To 2 metres.
Lovely flowers, little berries, beautiful foliage and flexible, needle sharp spines that can find their way through the stitching in leather gloves. Vandal proof hedging.
Similar in every respect to Green Berberis except the leaves are purple. The two plants look well together.
The allotment owners favourite hedging plant. Blackthorn is a suckering, dense growing, spiny, good for birds and carrying sloes in the autumn.
Needs little introduction. Produces an impenetrable hedge where some of the plants will be female and carry berries through the winter.
The traditional country barrier hedge.
Ramanas Rose, White.
These are thorny roses, that sucker well and can be cut with a trimmer. Excellent for hedges to 1.5 metres
Ramanas Rose, Red.
Identical to the White Ramanas Rose, this caries wine red flowers intermittently through the summer and autumn. Huge orange/red rosehips.
The spiniest rose of them all, the Scotch Rose suckers well and is ideal for hedges to 1.2 metres.
Maintenance of these hedges involves weeding in the early years and one clipping a year. Formative pruning should be done in mid-winter. All these plants, including the roses can be cut with a hedge trimmer
Trees and some hedge plants can be the only solution to an eyesore. Some such as the Hybrid Poplars and Willows are not the most beautiful, but grow very quickly indeed (2-3 metres a year). They can give you "a quick fix" andbuy time for other, slower hedge plants or trees to grow enough to take over.Others suchas the Laurels are evergreen and dense and can blot out car headlights and noise. In town the Privets grow quickly, clip well and are evergreen.
Not the most delicate of willows, but it grows at up to 3 metres a year and coppices well. To 10 metres
As fast growing as the hybrid willow, but growing taller and wider. To 15 metres.
Laurel, Common or Cherry.
Good as fomal hedging, Cherry Laurel is also an excellent screening plant. Its thick leaves absorb light and noise making it ideal for roadside planting. To 6 metres
Lawsons Cypress, False Cypress.
An excellent, fast growing hedging and screening conifer. Clips well and makes a handsome tree for taller screens. To 30 metres
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HEDGING PLANTS FOR COASTAL AND SEASIDE LOCATIONS
Some hedge plants are much happier, and grow into better hedging in strong winds and salt airs than others.This may be because they naturally occur by the sea or on hilltops, perhaps preferring poorer, sandy or chalky soils or because seaside microclimates tend to be warmer than inland ones or even because fierce winds restrict competition. So this hedge plant list is dedicated to lovers of salt, sun sand and wind.
With silver leaves the deciduous Elaeagnus angustifolia does well in poor coastal soils. Evergreen Elaegnus ebbingei is a bit more formal but is unmoved by salt or wind.
Probably needs no introduction. Escallonia is an ideal seaside hedging plant and we grow Escallonia Apple Blossom (pink and white), Escallonia iveyii (white) and Escallonia rubra macrantha (red).
Also know as New Zealand Privet. We also grow Griselinia in a variegated form.
A naturally occuring cross between a holly and an oak with the best characteristics of both. Not prickly, evergreen and great for windy spots and by the sea.
One of the plants that likes the seaside for its salt and poor soil. Lovely silvery foliage, but serious thorns make it an excellent deterrent