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Hedge Planting – Bare Root Plants

We’ve already discussed some of the essentials for planning a new hedge, such as deciding on function, preparing your site and soil, and digging a trench.

Of course, correct planting technique is just as important as informed preparation, so read on for some quick advice on finishing off your hedge. Today we’ll be looking specifically at bare root hedging.

Where should I store them?

Without a rootball to cover them it’s important to keep your bare root plants protected until you’re ready to plant. They can be stored in a cool, sheltered area for up to week with the roots in the bag they were supplied in. Alternatively, dig a trench and heel them into the ground in bundles for considerably longer. Find out more on our Cold Weather Planting & Storage Guide. Remember that roots should be damp, but not sitting in water.

How should I plant them?

Once your roots are un-bagged and ready to plant, remember that they’re still being exposed to the elements, the wind and sun can dry them out. Cover them with damp hessian or sacking right up until they’re in the ground to protect and moisten the roots.

We often advise customers to submerge bare root plants in water for up to five minutes right before planting, to ensure they’re moist. This is an excellent time to use Myccorhizal fungi, which is particularly good or planting bare root plants. The granules can be mixed with water to create a dip. You can download our Rootgrow guide for detailed information on doing so. Simply select the download marked ‘How to Use Rootgrow’ for more information.

For physical planting, please refer to our Successful Tree Planting download, which covers all elements of planting, staking, and supporting your new plant.

How many will I need?

We’re often asked how many plants you’ll actually need to purchase for an effective hedge. This naturally depends on the space you hope to screen, but we do have some guidelines for you to work from.

A new, mixed hedge will typically be spaced at about 5 plants per metre (or 4 plants per yard!). This allows you to plant two, staggered rows for maximum coverage and access to nutrients.


The diagram seen above represents recommend spacing. Each plant is spaced 40cm along from the next on the row, requiring five plants per metre, spread between 2 rows. The rows themselves are around 30cm apart.

Will they need protection?

Bare root native hedge plants are vulnerable to rabbit and deer damage, particularly in rural areas. Spiral rabbit guards can be used with canes to support them, or the entire hedge could be fenced off with chicken wire, with the base of the wire firmly buried in the soil.

What about weeds?

As with any new planting, weeds compete for water and nutrients and can be difficult to remove, so make sure you never let them establish at all. One way to reduce weed growth in new hedges is to plant through slits in a mulch mat, such as woven polypropylene.

More information?

We’ve also written a number of blogs on Successful Tree Planting, Rootgrow Application, and keeping your trees alive. If you’d like to see the entire collection, please visit our Tree Planting Methods category page, which has more than enough advice to get started.

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