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Bare root plants for hedges

We have listened to our customers most frequent questions about planting bare root plants for hedges and compiled our recommendations for you:

How many will I need?

New mixed hedges are usually planted at a spacing of 5 plants per metre (approximately 4 plants per yard). This allows for 2 rows with plants staggered – see diagram below:

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Double row – typically 30cm (12”) between the rows with plants spaced at 40cm (16”) along each row.

Will they need protection?

Bare root hedge plants are vulnerable to rabbit and deer damage, particularly in rural areas. For protection from rabbits, spiral guards should be used with canes to support them. Alternatively, the entire hedge can be fenced off with chicken wire, with the base of the wire firmly buried in the soil. Deer fencing generally needs to be 1.8m high, see our website for planting accessories or ask for advice.

How should I store them after purchase?

You should be able to keep the plants in the bags they were supplied in for up to 10 days as long as they are frost free and the roots are kept moist but not sitting in water. Beyond 10 days “heel-in” the plants by digging a hole or small trench, removing the plants from the bags keeping them in their bundles, spread the roots out and cover the roots with soil, then firm gently.

Care when planting

At the planting site check the roots are not dry – if necessary dip them in a bucket of water (do not soak). To prevent the roots from drying out in the wind, leave the plants in the bag, taking them out only as you plant them, alternatively cover the roots with damp sacking. We highly recommend you dip plants in Mycorrhizae gel at this stage, or granules for small quantities – see our separate guide on How to use Rootgrow. Fertilisers, such as bonemeal, can be mixed in with the soil around the plant roots and, depending on the soil type, a 50/50 soil/compost mixture can be used to avoid large air spaces around the roots.

Care after planting

Weeds compete for water, nutrients and light so plant into soil free from perennial weeds (including grass) and keep them weed free in the first two years. Mulch mat rolls such as woven polypropylene and bark can be used as a weed suppressant. Water during the first spring and summer if logistically possible.

Bad Weather?

Don’t plant into waterlogged or frozen soil - wait until conditions improve. See our blogs in Cold weather Planting and Storage for more information.