Planting Hedges

When planting it is a good idea to look at the soil and see how free draining it is. One way of doing this is to dig a hole and fill it with water. If it drains within 20 minutes it is classed as free draining. You should take this into account when choosing a type of hedge or plant.

This is to ensure precautions can be taken to make sure the plants get the right amount of water as this is a common reason for plants to die or not do so well. Clay soil can make this hard but we have a few ways to mitigate this. 

Plants as a whole love water. They just do not like sitting in it. The prime example of this is Yew (Taxus baccata). It hates boggy conditions. However, we had a broken sprinkler at the nursery by our yew troughs. This resulted in one of the yews getting a lot more water. It just so happened that this Yew became the biggest by quite a long way. The compost had good drainage. This shows that they love water over their roots but just do not like to sit in this.

Planting Hedges in Clay

Heavy clay can remain very wet in the winter. This can lead to plants sitting in water for long periods of time which can cause the roots to rot. However, you do not have to fear this if you take necessary precautions.

One way to escape this is too not dig to deep. Take the plant out of the pot and depending on the severity of how heavy the clay is, allow upwards of an inch of the soil to be above the ground. Then simply mound the compost or the soil you have removed around the rootball but not on top. Make sure you have not covered any of the stem. This could cause it to rot.

Loosen the soil around where the hole for the plant would be with a fork. This helps with drainage and will help prevent stop a pool of water forming around the plant. When planting a large hedge it may be easier to dig a trench.

Watering the plants in

When planting, it is a good idea to sort the rootball before planting. Take the plant out of the pot, place this into a bucket of water and submerge it. Bubbles of air will come out initially. When these stop it means it is soaked through and will not absorb more water. Now place the rootball in the hole.

When watering plants it is important to see how dry the soil is around them. The best way to do this is to put your finger in the ground to see how wet it is. Occasionally it is good to allow the plant to dry out slightly before watering it again. This will reduce the chances of rot.

Planting hedges using compost

When planting, using compost helps to feed the plant and can help the soil drain. This can be useful when planting in clay. Dig a bit of extra space around the rootball and pack the compost it. If the rootball is slightly out of the ground you can also use compost mound around this.

Planting hedges using fertiliser

Using fertiliser when planting can be useful. Use slow release fertiliser such as fish blood and bone in the area around the rootball and an inorganic fertiliser during the growing season.