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How to Plant a Hedge - DIY Guide

Just purchased a hedge and want to have a go at planting it yourself? Not sure where to start? Well, you have come to the right place!

This guide is going to provide you with everything you need to know to successfully plant a hedge and give it the best kickstart to life. Are you a beginner? We’ve got you covered! Continue reading for tips from the experts on how to plant a hedge to grow strong every time.

Things to Consider Before Planting a Hedge

Planning is Key

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail! As we all know, having a plan in place makes life easier and more focused - and it’s the same with hedge planting. Are you wanting to plant your hedge for privacy? Or create a more aesthetically pleasing garden space and add more greenery?

Choosing the Right Hedge

Once the why for planting your hedge has been determined, ensure you are choosing the best hedge plant for the job. Factors such as species, whether they are bare-root, rootballed or container grown can influence the decision. The selection process is key to ensuring that your hedge plants are well-suited to the environment and needs of the hedge, as well as fitting in with your routine. For example you may lack time so would need a low maintenance hedge.

Read our guide on how to choose the right hedge.

Top Tip: Purchase Healthy Plants

Buy well-established and disease-free plants from reputable nurseries like ours! Always inspect your plants for any signs of pests, diseases, or stress before you purchase as well as once planted.

Hedge Locations

Next, you need to think about where you want the hedge to go. For example, you may want to plant your hedge next to a fence for greater privacy, in which case you need to factor in height, width, density and the amount of space available around the fence. Have an idea of where you want to plant your hedges and understand the spacing required between the hedges for optimal growth. Our guide on how to perfectly space your hedging might come in handy for this step.

mathias nurseries hedge spacing

Mathias Nurseries Beech Hedging, carefully spaced out.  

When to Plant the Hedge

Timing is essential when planting a hedge. The right time improves a hedge’s chance of successful establishment and elongated growth. A general guide for the best time to plant would be between October and April. The main aim is to plant during mild weather to reduce stress on the plants.  Planting outside of these times is perfectly achievable but your new hedge will probably require more careful maintenance after planting, particularly if planting in the height of summer.

Read our guide on when to plant a hedge for optimal growth.

mathias nurseries before during and after hedging

Mathias Nurseries Portuguese Laurel Hedging, before, during and after planting.

How to Plant the Hedge

Step 1: Preparing the Soil

Good soil preparation is a fundamental aspect for successful planting of your hedge. This involves clearing the area of any previously planted hedges or plants, eliminating weeds on both sides of the wanted hedge line. You can then incorporate organic matter, such as garden compost, into the soil. This will provide nutrients for the hedge plants and improves the soil structure and moisture retention. It also ensures proper drainage from the hedge to prevent waterlogged conditions.

Top Tip on Soil Preparation

In order to promote healthy development, we recommend applying Rootgrow to the bottom of the soiled area. Rootgrow is a culture of naturally occurring beneficial mycorrhizal fungi which will encourage plants to produce a secondary root system. This will help establish the roots quickly and support plants throughout their lifetime.

Step 2: Digging the Holes

You will need to dig a trench or holes, that are twice as wide as the root ball/system and just as deep to allow for proper growth of the roots. Using a garden fork to loosen the soil in the sides and bottom of the trench or holes can promote better drainage. Hedge spacing may seem like a small detail, however it is a crucial factor in creating a strong, prosperous hedge and maintaining the greenery. Proper spacing will prevent overcrowding of plants and will allow them to grow at a steady rate, without fighting for resources. Make sure to base spacing on the plants size at maturity!

Step 3: Planting the Hedge

Appropriate planting techniques and continual care lead to a thriving hedge. Once the plant arrives, remove the plant from its container or packaging, place it in the centre of the hole/trench and backfill with soil, compost or manure (or a mixture of all three), pressing it down firmly.

Step 4: Watering the Hedge

You will need to immediately water your hedge thoroughly after planting. A hedge is a living product and needs water to survive, especially in the early stages of growth after the stress of being planted into a new environment. It is vital that you take the time to water new hedging plants, it is not enough to simply give the hedge plant a quick water. Proper technique involves soaking the soil around the base with a Leaky Hose, both before and after planting, for at least 2-4 hours. This ensures water reaches the bottom of the roots, to allow it to properly establish itself. It will be able to then tolerate dry spells and be watered once or twice a week- depending on weather conditions. Make sure to come up with a regular water schedule.

Visit our accessories page and purchase a Leaky Hose to water your new hedge correctly.

mathias nurseries watering a hedge

Step 5: Mulching

As soon as the hedge is planted apply a layer of organic mulch (garden compost, bark chips) around the base of the plants to retain any moisture and suppress weeds. Make sure to leave a gap around the plant stem to prevent rotting. Doing this improves the success rate and the growth in the first year or two.

Post Planting & Maintenance


It is key to follow a balanced fertiliser schedule to promote healthy growth. Fertiliser is a blend of balance nutrients for healthy gardens. This can be used at the base of each plant  as a top dressing and can be applied every 4-6 weeks throughout growing season. Avoid over-fertilising, as it may lead to excessive foliage at the expense of root development.

Pruning and Trimming

To get that bushy growth on the hedge, perform initial pruning of the plants. We recommend lightly clipping after planting to remove any damaged stems. In the following years, we suggest you regularly trim the hedge to maintain your desired shape and size. Give the top of your new hedge its first trim just short of your desired height to promote it filling out.

Mathias Nurseries hedge trimming. 

Keeping up Regular Maintenance         

Caring for your hedge is a continual process and does not just end after initial planting. It is essential to keep up with regular watering, especially over periods of drought, to maintain the plants’ health. Keeping the area around the hedge free from debris, as well as weeds and grass maintenance is needed. They can compete with your hedge plants for water and nutrients.

Pest and Disease Protection

Monitor for signs of stress, disease and pests, or irregular growth on a regular basis. Catching these signs early on can help prolong the hedges life. It will also allow you to take prompt action to use the appropriate treatments and prevent infestations.

Get in Touch                                                

Feel free to get in touch and ask us any other questions about how to care for your hedge - our experts are on hand to ensure that you grow the perfect hedge for your space!

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