Thursday, 31 October 2013

A How-To on Native Hedging Plants

Crataegus Monogyna 40/60cm Bare Root
Planting a native hedge is not only makes your garden more diverse and interesting, but it is also a fantastic way to attract wildlife. It won’t take long until you reap the benefits that your native hedging plant will bring. The berries, seeds and flowers will help attract a variety of birds, insects and more than likely a number of small mammals to your garden.
If you have the patience then the best and cheapest way to create a native hedge is from whips. Whips are young, bare-root saplings, that can be bought in bundles or as single plants around autumn to early spring. They tend to be around a year old when you buy them.
Whips can be easily sourced from your local garden centre. It’s also fairly easily to get hold of them online, where a number of companies will provide them by mail order. It may also be worth contacting your local council as some are able to provide grants under certain circumstances.

Once you’ve got your whips you must then make the preparations for planting. Autumn to spring is the most ideal period for planting, but as long as the ground isn't frozen or waterlogged, you should be fine. Bear in mind that the native hedging plant will be in place for several years, so making sure that the preparations are thorough is essential. Start by removing any weeds and large stones. After that you should dig the area over and mix in some soil

Plant the whips roughly half a metre apart. The spacing of each native hedging plant really depends on how quickly it will grow, as well as how big it is likely to grow. It's better to air on the side of caution when it comes down to spacing because you can always fill in any gaps later on. Make sure the entire area is well watered and give the hedge thick mulch which will help combat any weeds causing a nuisance to the hedge growth.  

Make sure that you feed the native hedging plant every year as well as topping up the mulch. You may also be required to help water the hedge during dryer periods. If you are going to prune the hedge then autumn is the best time to do so. This is so you don’t disturb any nesting birds and the deciduous trees and shrubs are dormant.

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