Planting a hedge

Another section by popular demand. If you want to talk about anything else that grows that is not livestock, herbs, fruit or vegetables here it goes.
Post Reply
User avatar
Andy Hamilton
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 6631
Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2004 11:06 pm
Location: Bristol

Planting a hedge

Post: # 253846Post Andy Hamilton »

I'm about to order some hedgerow plants to replace the fence in my gardens. I've seen packs of 2 year old bare rooted stock for sale realitively cheaply. The thing is they are a mix of plants that seem a bit odd to the novice hedgerow planter (ie me). The mixes are mostly hawthorn or blackthorn but depending on which mix you go for they can also include dogwood, acer, crab apples and plums.

Now I suppose what I want is hedgerow that is good for me to forage from and also good for the birds - so Blackthorn based, but then what else should go in the mix? What makes the ideal hedgerow?
First we sow the seeds, nature grows the seeds then we eat the seeds. Neil Pye
My best selling Homebrew book Booze for Free
and...... Twitter
The Other Andy Hamilton - Drinks & Foraging

User avatar
Green Aura
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 9109
Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2008 8:16 pm
latitude: 58.569279
longitude: -4.762620
Location: North West Highlands

Re: Planting a hedge

Post: # 253854Post Green Aura »

We have a mixed hedge - blackthorn, beech, hawthorn, hazel, birch, sea buckthorn and holly. I've put a couple of field maples in too - my grandchildren may be able to tap for sugar :lol: . I've also got amelanchier and fuchsia to fill in any gaps and I was thinking about a Russian olive but have read mixed views on that.

Apart from the holly, which I haven't found a use for yet but it was part of the lot, all of it has at least one other function, mainly food, apart from hedging and windbreak, will be different heights, colours and interest.

It's still only a baby though - only grows about 3-4" a year because of the wind round here. I think I'll be enjoying my hedge from my bath chair. :lol:

Oh and don't forget underplanting - violets, wild garlic etc.

Never doubt that you can change history. You already have. Marge Piercy

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin

User avatar
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 1809
Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2009 9:29 am
Location: Gunnislake,Cornwall

Re: Planting a hedge

Post: # 253855Post boboff »

Rose's for Hips are good, and the Russian Olive plants are usefull too.
Willow is fast growing and can be used to other things like baskets etc, and more easily propogated saplings.
Try some currants and raspberries as well. Thornless Blackberries are good too.
Budliegh are fast growing and good for butterflies.
Depending on the Sun, think later on about Grape Vines and Kiwi Fruits.
Early days get some hops in the hedge as well, Good for your hoome brew.
Millymollymandy wrote:Bloody smilies, always being used. I hate them and they should be banned.
No I won't use a smiley because I've decided to turn into Boboff, as he's turned all nice all of a sudden. Grumble grumble.

User avatar
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 4307
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2007 1:42 pm
Location: Swindon, South West England

Re: Planting a hedge

Post: # 253863Post Thomzo »

What do you want the hedge to do? If you want it to screen your land from view then you'd be better adding some evergreens into the mix.

Holly is good for that as well as for Christmas decorations and to attract birds. Get a variegated one if you can as they are much prettier. You need male and female to get berries.

Laurel is also a good evergreen hedge but has no other use that I'm aware of.

Add in some honeysuckle for the bees, some of them have edible bits (but I can't remember if it's the flowers or the berries).

Underplant with lavender or rosemary on the sunny side to fill in the gaps. Neither likes being waterlogged so should do well under a hedge as long as they get enough sun.

If you want the hedge to keep in livestock then it'll need to be much denser and you might be better with a simple hedge that can be laid regularly. A mixed hedge will make this much more difficult.

If you want to keep undesirables out then the thorns are great as is the dog rose which also gives hips.

How much room have you got? Plums and crab apples are great for foraging but grow quite large. Will it overhang a neighbour's property? They may object and can force you to keep it cut to the maximum heights (from memory it's about 6' for side and rear, 4' for road facing hedges).

How much time will you have to keep it trimmed? Slow growing hedges take less looking after but a lot longer to get established.

Buckingham Nurseries used to do really good value hedging packs and would give loads of advice if you rang them up. But it's a long time since I've ordered from them.

Think globally, shop locally
Check out my blog at

A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 2101
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:57 am

Re: Planting a hedge

Post: # 253866Post oldjerry »

Just a thought ,all good stuff above ,obviously it has to be 100% native species,but beware.Qiute a lot of the Hawthorn (which will be a decent part of any mix cos it's cheap) isn't grown from UK seed ,and as such isn't exacctly the same therefore will not encourage such a a large number of species.The VERY best gthing you could do would be to trawl local hedgerows for seed and grow from there,but I appreciate that would take a few more years to establish.

User avatar
Tom Good
Tom Good
Posts: 83
Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2010 11:54 am
Location: Wiltshire, nr. Bath

Re: Planting a hedge

Post: # 253880Post dustydave »

If you go into some woods (especially ones that have been recenty thinned) and look really close to the ground you can normally find a patch where there are lots of 1 to 2 year old saplings. Most of these won't grow into large trees and you'll be doing the wood a favour by thinning them out. You can sometimes gather 100 or so from a 1m x 2m area. If you collect when the soil is wet, then with a gentle pull them they'll come out out with most of their roots. Ash is the best for this, but most other natives are good. This way you know you are getting a good 'strong' local tree.

A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 662
Joined: Tue Mar 30, 2010 5:28 pm

Re: Planting a hedge

Post: # 253911Post happyhippy »

Hi Andy,I've also considered planting a hedge.I've looked at Victoriana Nursery,and their prices seem pretty reasonable to me.I rang them last year and they were very helpful about the sizes,and varieties that would best suit our garden and purpose.Hope this is useful to you.

User avatar
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 1765
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2007 7:05 pm
latitude: 51.253841
longitude: -1.612340
Location: Wiltshire, on the edge and holding

Re: Planting a hedge

Post: # 253912Post snapdragon »

I'd go for the mix with crab apples and plums, but avoid dogwood, it looks pretty but does smell like dog poo when you cut it.
Hawthorn :salute:
Hazel for da nuts
rosemary ? birds seem to love mine

mine's mostly a leftovers tray of poor (50p the tray) dried shrubs(which did well with tlc), a Maple grown from a pulled twig and plums found as 4inch seedlings in a hedgerow plus a couple of roses and holly and hawthorn (bird sown)
Say what you mean and be who you are, Those who mind don't matter, and those that matter don't mind

Post Reply