How to Plant and Grow a Beech Hedge

Both a European or Purple Copper Beech hedge can be planted by following the standard guidelines for the vast majority of hedging plants. The only things to remember are that The Purple Copper Beech, unlike the European Beech, will tolerate neither an acidic soil nor partial shade.
Incidentally, if you desire a particularly dense hedge as quickly as possible, follow the instructions below but plant container-grown specimens in a double row.
So, having decided upon the path of your new hedge and checked that there will be sufficient light and the soil will drain freely, the work can begin…
HOW TO PREPARE THE GROUND
Preparing the ground properly is essential and a little extra time and care will pay dividends:
1. Dig a hole with a garden fork to twice the depth of the fork removing all weeds, rhizomes and any large stones or other detritus. (Keep small stones as these are good for drainage)
2. Fill the furrow with water and allow it to drain (unless planting in mid-winter)
3. remove the Beech from their containers and plunge into a bucket of water for a short while to drive out the air
4. Add organic matter, such as garden compost, and rake in a general-purpose fertilizer
5. Place your hedging plants into the furrow with the top of the pot at soil level, back fill and firm with your heel to ensure good contact
NB: How near to a fence or wall can I plant a hedge? As a general rule allow an absolute minimum of 45cm though, to be on the safe side, 60cm would be advisable – and wider if you are planning on letting your new hedge grow to a height of two metres plus.
AFTERCARE
If you have followed the simple guidelines for planting, a new Beech hedge needs little further attention – but it can’t be neglected. During the first few years:
1. Keep the area around your hedging plants weed-free. Use mulch to suppress weeds and retain moisture
2. Top dress annually after with a general purpose fertilizer once the plant is fully established
3. In late spring nip out the ‘leader’ and clip the sides to make the hedge fuller. The hedge will put up a new leader within a short time.
4. Support plants that are rocked by wind.
5. Water frequently, especially during dry spells
PRUNING
Prune in early August to maximise leaf  retention. Once the desired height has been achieved, prune annually to maintain.