My friend Rachel is a passionate if impatient gardener. Vegetables are really her thing (probably because so many of them are sown and germinate before you get bored).
The same, unfortunately cannot be said of her prowess when it came to a beech hedge she planted five years ago. Her mistakes were as follows:
1. She planted our poor unsuspecting beech hedging plants in a beautiful trench filled with good compost but dug in pure, blue and yellow, potters clay. Every time it rains the trench fills with water and takes an age to drain.
2. She carefully relaid the turf she had lifted off the strip of lawn where the beech hedge went around the beech plants, thereby ensuring that in dry weather the grass would get any available moisture before the beech did.
3. Being in a hurry, she refused to trim the tops off her young beech hedge plants, which meant that the ones that (amazingly) survived, grew tall , and straight. And had no or few side branches.
Last year, we took Bean's beech hedge in hand, cut all the plants back harder than one normally would, and removed the grass. It was clipped twice during the summer and one year later, the hedge is not perfect, but it is much better. There are quite a few branches, leaves are still being held at the beginning of March and it, sort of, looks like a hedge.
If she had planted it correctly at the outset, she would have had a decent hedge at least two and possibly three years ago. If you are patient, plant younger beech plants as ultimately you will always get a better hedge that way. However, if you are impatient, like Rach, cheat and plant well branched 80/100cm or 100/125 cm beech hedge plants.
Sit back, relax and watch your garden grow!