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How to Plant a Hedge
Hedges are green walls - permanent features in your garden. They need good foundations and you can give them these by preparing the site of a new hedge thoroughly before you plant. You will need to prepare a strip of between 60-90cm wide, depending on the type of hedge that you are planting. Plant spacing depends on the type of hedge you want to grow, and whether you want a formal clipped hedge or an informal flowering one. You will need to choose plants that naturally grow to a suitable size for the size hedge you want and it's a good idea to decide whether you want an evergreen hedge or a less dense one that loses leaves in winter. On average, plants will be spaced between 30-60cm apart. If you want a thick hedge, you will need more plants, planted in double staggered rows. These rows will be spaced 90cm apart, with 45cm between each plant in the two rows. Thick hedges are most suitable for large gardens, or around very exposed smaller ones. Hedging plants are supplied either bare-rooted in bundles, the cheapest way of buying, or they are container-grown.
you will need
A fork; spade; hedging plants (enough for run of hedge); organic material such as garden compost; rake; wheel barrow; watering can or hose pipe. Optional: slow release fertiliser; secateurs.
It is usual to plant hedges by digging a trench, but shorter runs can be done by putting the plants in individually. Dig a trench the length of the new hedge. Make this 60cm, about two spades wide, and about 45cm deep for a single row hedge. A double, staggered row hedge will need a trench 90cm wide. Pile the soil along the sides of the trench as you work. Remove all weeds, large stones and solid clods of earth.
Use your fork to aerate the soil in the bottom and sides of the trench; stick the prongs into the ground and move the handle around. Take one of the hedging plants and measure the correct planting depth - this is where the soil comes to around the plant. There should be enough depth to the trench to add a good layer of garden compost all along it beneath the plants. Empty compost into the trench and spread it with your fork.
Space the plants the correct distance for the type of hedge, placing them along the trench. Plant each one to the correct level. Scoop the soil from the sides around each plant and firm it in with your foot to exclude air pockets. If you are using it, mix some slow-release fertiliser into this soil before you use it to fill in. Continue until you have finished the run, firming the soil well in around the base of all the plants.
Finish the surface of the soil along the new hedge by giving it a light rake. Take care not to disturb the plants. Give your new hedge a thorough watering. Some hedging plants require a light prune after planting. Beech plants, for example, will produce side shoots low down if the growing tip or leading shoot is cut back.
Keep an eye on your hedge, and make sure it does not dry out in its first season. Water regularly.
Mark out the hedge and dig a trench of the right size
Add a generous layer of garden compost to the trench
Space plants as required and fill in with soil around each

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