We grow pretty much all the hedge plants and sapling trees you could need, and many of them are suitable for ornamental use as specimens. Hedging can provide privacy and structure to your garden, protection from the elements, habitat for wildlife, and be an ornamental focal point of foliage and flowers in itself. To top it off, hedging is cheaper, longer lasting, and easier to install than a fence.
Bareroot plants are the best value and the easiest to handle: they are delivered only during winter and early spring, in about November to March, when the plants are dormant. Some plants are only delivered potted, and some can be both, depending on the season.
The majority of hedging and trees in the UK is/are planted bareroot, and the wet spring weather should usually keep your young hedge or woodland watered until summer, when they will need watering in their first year.
If you want to turn a sturdy fence or wall into a "hedge", climbing plants can do that for you. To add interest to a new hedge or woodland, you cannot beat a range of garden bulbs.
We grow a range of bamboo plants, which aren't true hedging, but some running varieties make a solid screen quite quickly.
Hedge plants are mostly delivered bareroot, and used to make a secure, functional barrier, while garden shrubs are mostly pot-grown and primarily intended for ornamental border specimens or perhaps low edging.
There is overlap between the categories fundamentally because a plant's use in your garden is up to you. The Box category includes examples of shrubs that are chiefly used as clipped edging or as ground level topiary and shapes, but which (in time) can be grown tall enough as a hedge to block sight and access. Dogwoods are all bareroot: the wild species are used for solid country hedging or for wildlife cover, while their more colourful cultivars are typically hard pruned to a stump every Spring as a purely ornamental shrub for the display of new shoots.
Only their intended use. Most hedge plants are sapling trees (the rest are naturally bushes), sold at the ideal starting sizes for hedge use. If you plant a hawthorn 'hedge plant' and leave it to grow naturally, it will make a normal hawthorn tree, not a hedge.
All the young trees listed as suitable 'hedge plants' are also used for forestry planting. It's only the trees listed as 'sapling trees' that can not be used as clipped hedge plants, although most of them are good for taller screening. Many of the young trees in this section are also available in large standard sizes here.
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Evergreen hedges such as Yew can be planted from early Autumn onwards, while deciduous plants, such as Beech and Hawthorn should wait until a little later, between November and March or April, depending on the weather.
It always pays to plan your hedge in advance, calculate the spacing, prepare the soil if necessary, and make sure that someone can give it the attention it needs during the first couple of years of growth, until it is well established. Read our hedge plant advice for specific guidance on planting, pruning and caring for particular varieties of hedging, and have a look at our 5-minute videos on how to plant country hedges and planting formal hedges.
The most important things to remember are that a new hedge needs water in dry weather (irrigation pipes make this chore easy), regular weeding or mulch fabric to suppress weeds, and protection from rodents and deer: spiral guards with bamboo supports are usually enough, but if deer pressure is high then sturdier tree guards with small stakes are essential, unless you fence off the area. In our experience, deer repellents are quite effective, but a hungry deer in winter will often brave them for a meal, and some of the best repellents are seriously smelly, and therefore unsuitable for use near homes.
How to Plant a Beech Hedge
The Best Hedging for Horses