Feeding Hedges in winter is one of the topics I am most frequently asked about once we leave Autumn behind…
Established Hedge Plants: The simple answer is NO. All plants – including hedges – have no need for additional nutrients when dormant and any goodness in a winter top-dressing will have leached away by spring. Hedges in winter are in the same kind of stasis as hibernating mammals. Fertilising in winter is simply a waste of time, effort and money.
Established Hedge Plants with Fading Foliage: If the autumn foliage of an evergreen Hedge is looking weak, pale or faded, winter feeding won’t help. Wait until spring and then feed with a proprietary fertilizer formulated for foliage.
Winter Flowering Hedge Plants: Although active flowering is hardly dormancy, flowering Hedges in winter still do NOT require feeding. They do, however, greatly benefit from proper care in the spring when you can and should feed them with a proprietary, nitrogen-rich liquid feed followed by organic mulch. Remember the mulch should never touch the plant itself as this can cause rotting.
New Hedge Plants: Nor is it necessary to feed Hedges in winter if newly planted. However, a handful of proprietary slow-release granular feed at the bottom of the planting hole won’t do any harm and the roots will make use of it as they bed in. Feed beneath the surface is less likely to leech away so won’t be a complete waste. However, if you want to give your new Hedge the best possible start, dig in a good amount of organic matter and grit (for drainage) into the planting area.
NB: Water: Don’t forget, Hedges in winter still need to drink. Monitor the weather and the ground and water if required. Never water when the temperature is close to or below freezing.