Guide to Planting Bare Root Hedges

Ensuring Successful Establishment and Growth

Planting bare root hedges is an excellent way to establish thriving and cost-effective green boundaries. However, it's crucial to handle and plant them properly to maximize their chances of survival and long-term growth. In this guide, we will explore the essential steps to ensure successful establishment, from preventing root drying to prolonging plant life if immediate planting is not possible.

The recommended way

1. Preparing for Planting

Before the bare root hedges arrive, ensure that the planting area is ready. Clear any weeds or debris, loosen the soil, and amend it with organic matter if necessary. Measure and mark out the desired hedge line, considering factors like sunlight exposure, soil conditions, and spacing requirements for the specific hedge species.

2. Receiving and Handling Bare Root Hedges

Upon delivery, inspect the bare root hedges carefully. Ensure they are healthy, with moist roots and intact stems. If any issues are detected, contact us and we will help. To prevent root drying, it's essential to keep the roots moist at all times, keep them in a cool, shaded area and spray the roots with water if they look dry.

3. Planting

Place the hedge roots down into the hole, spreading the roots out to maximise the surface area. Make sure the hedge is vertically aligned then cover the roots with soil. Fill the hole until level then press the area around the base of the hedge down firmly, to remove potential air pockets around the roots.  Water the base of the hedge after planting to stop roots dehydrating.

That's all there is to it, you have successfully planted your hedge. Now all that remains is waiting for it to establish itself over the coming seasons. 

Temporary Storage Options

If immediate planting is not feasible, there are a few methods to prolong the life of bare root hedges:

a. Heel-in Method: Dig a shallow trench or hole in a well-drained area and place the bare root hedges, ensuring the roots are covered with moist soil. Firm the soil gently around the roots to provide stability. This method helps keep the roots protected and prevents them from drying out.

b. Potting Method: If only a small number of bare root hedges need temporary storage, consider potting them. Use a container with well-draining soil or compost, ensuring the roots are covered. Keep the pots in a sheltered area and water regularly to maintain moisture levels.

c. Bundling Method: For larger quantities of bare root hedges, bundle them together and wrap the roots in moist hessian or burlap. Store the bundled hedges in a cool, shaded location, periodically checking the moisture levels and ensuring the roots remain damp.

What else can help? 

mycelia fungi root dip

Beneficial fungi that form symbiotic relationships with plant roots. These fungi, called mycorrhizae, create a network of fine thread-like structures called mycelia, which extend into the soil. Mycorrhizal associations enhance plant health by improving nutrient uptake, particularly for phosphorus, nitrogen, and other essential elements. The hedge roots can be dipped in such a solution before being put into the ground.

Soaking the roots

Before planting, immerse the bare roots in a bucket of water for 1-2 hours. This rehydrates the roots and helps prevent moisture stress during the early stages of establishment.

Mulching and Protection

Applying a layer of organic mulch around the base of the bare root hedges offers multiple benefits. Mulch helps retain soil moisture, suppresses weed growth, and regulates soil temperature. Spread a 2-3 inch layer of mulch, such as wood chips or straw, around the base of the plants, taking care to avoid direct contact with the stems.

installing a temporary barrier 

Using a spiral guard to prevent accidental damage from animals, children, or garden equipment. This protection is especially crucial during the early stages of establishment.

Bamboo cane support

Using bamboo canes for recently planted hedges provides a simple and effective support system. The canes help to keep the young hedge plants upright, preventing bending or breakage due to wind or other external factors. This support promotes healthy and straight growth, allowing the hedge to establish itself properly. 

Post-Planting Care

Watering: During the establishment period, provide regular watering to keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Adjust the frequency based on weather conditions, ensuring the roots receive adequate moisture for healthy growth.

Pruning and Training: Depending on the hedge species, pruning and training may be necessary to encourage bushiness, shape, and density. Consult specific pruning guidelines for each species and perform any necessary pruning during the appropriate time of the year.

Weed Control: Regularly inspect the planting area and remove any competing weeds that can hinder the growth of the hedges. Mulching helps suppress weed growth, but manual weeding may still be required.

Nutrient Application: Monitor the nutrient needs of the hedges and provide appropriate fertilization as recommended. Consult local gardening resources or a horticultural expert for specific fertilizer requirements for your hedge species.

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