The Best Time to Plant Hedges in the UK - Now!
Hedges provide many natural benefits and are a long-term investment for your garden. But it’s essential to choose the best time to plant your hedge. Planting at the right time improves a hedge’s chance of successful establishment and long-term growth. Various factors, like how the plant has been grown before planting and the type of hedge, must be considered when determining when you should plant a hedge.
While you can plant during other seasons, there's a compelling case for why autumn, in particular, stands out as the best time to introduce a hedge to your garden. In this article, we’ll explore why autumn is the ideal season for hedge planting in the UK. Of course, if you are a well experienced gardener, hedges can be planted all year round (depending on type etc) but they will need a lot more aftercare, so consider making your life easier and getting the best out of your hedge by planting in the autumn.
When Should You Plant a Hedge?
Generally, the best time to plant any hedge is between October and April. But within those months, you’ll find greater success than others. October and November provide the ideal window of opportunity for various reasons.
The key to a hedge becoming established successfully is its roots. Planting at the wrong time of year can sometimes harm the root system. Although container-grown hedges enjoy a greater success rate at other times of the year, root-balled plants fare best when planted during the autumn. Similarly, evergreen hedges like Leylandii, Laurel and Portuguese Laurel do best when planted toward the tail-end of the year.
As winter progresses, soil can easily become waterlogged or even frozen. These conditions are unfriendly to new plants. While an established hedge will easily survive during these months, a new plant could die as it’s roots are not as deep and established and the plant itself has not hardened off to its new environment.
Why Is Autumn the Best Time to Plant Hedges?
One of the primary reasons autumn is an optimal time for hedge planting in the UK is the weather.
While you may not personally enjoy the changes autumn brings, the cooler temperatures and regular rain during this season create a favourable environment for hedges to establish themselves.
During autumn, the heat of summer has passed, but the cold of winter has yet to set in. This mildness is ideal for root development, as it encourages newly planted hedges to focus on growing their root systems rather than expending energy on top growth. The more settled the roots are before the cool winter temperatures arrive, the better they will grow the following year, when they will put on a new flush of spring growth.
In most parts of the UK, autumn brings regular rainfall. This natural irrigation reduces the need for constant watering and helps the hedges settle in comfortably. Adequate moisture in the soil is essential for root growth and overall plant health.
Warm Soil, Cool Air
Autumn offers a unique combination of warm soil and cool air, which benefits hedge plants in several ways.
After a summer of being heated up, the soil retains warmth during the early autumn months. This warmth accelerates root growth, giving hedges a head start before the cold winter arrives. While the air becomes cooler, it's not yet frosty. This means that the stress on the young plants is minimal. Cooler air also reduces the risk of excessive evaporation, helping to maintain soil moisture.
Reduced Competition from Weeds
Autumn's lower temperatures slow down the growth of weeds, providing newly planted hedges with a competitive advantage. Weeds are less likely to encroach on hedge root zones, allowing the hedge to establish itself without as much competition for nutrients, water, and sunlight.
Although you have less to worry about in this regard when planting during the autumn, weeds will quickly form as spring and summer roll around again. Laying mulch on the surface of the soil when you plant your hedge can help prevent weeds from creeping through next year.
Time to Become Established Before Winter
Planting hedges in autumn gives them sufficient time to establish themselves before the harsh winter conditions arrive. Well-established hedges are better equipped to endure winter cold, wind, and frost.
When planting your hedge, it’s always best to plan for the encroaching winter months. Laying down bark can help regulate soil temperatures and protect the plant’s roots from frost.
Less Pests and Diseases
Many common and naturally occurring garden pests and diseases are less active in the autumn. Planting hedges during this season reduces the risk of immediate infestations and infections. This can result in healthier, stronger plants that are more resilient to future challenges.
Planting Hedges This Autumn with Mathias Nurseries
By choosing to plant your hedges in the autumn, you set them up for a healthy and vibrant future, enhancing the beauty and functionality of your garden or property for years to come.
If you need advice on choosing or planting your hedges, our team have a wealth of knowledge and experience they’re happy to share. Get in touch with us today with any questions or for any product information.