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Tips from Baytree Garden Centre in Weston on planting natural hedging

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In his weekly Out in the Garden column, Mark Cox of Baytree Garden Centre in Weston discusses natural hedging.

Bonfire night went with a bang, my £15.99 box of fireworks provided seconds of entertainment, but what an amazing few seconds they were.

The present Mrs Cox’s bangers were a bit of a disappointment, my fizzing roman candle barely fizzed and the super dooper rocket finale exploded with such force it broke two panes of glass in my newly cleaned greenhouse.

Leylandii can make a great natural hedge
Leylandii can make a great natural hedge

Once my number one daughter had stopped laughing, we moved onto my favourite bonfire night passtime, writing words in the air with our sparklers. “Bang” was the longest distinguishable word we were able to create out of our sparkler art.

I know £15.99 is not a huge amount of money to spend on fireworks and to be fair I knew they wouldn’t be very good but when you light the touch paper you are hoping for a New Year’s Eve-style celebration as seen in the capital but alas, without fail, the dream never quite lives up to reality.

However, this week I think that I have found the exception to the rule. I’d received an email from quite a distressed gentleman who due to the high winds we had experienced recently found himself with a significant hole at the bottom of the garden were a fence once stood.

Peter was shocked at the rise in timber prices and replacing the missing panels, post etc like for like was simply out of his budget.

Now this is where a natural hedge can save you hundreds of pounds over buying and erecting a new fence. Okay it might take a few years before the hedge reaches the height of the original fence but you can be pretty sure it’s not going to blow over if cared for properly. When I say cared for I just mean trimmed regularly.

The ground is still warm and whatever you plant now will put good roots out before the onset of the colder winter months. Best of all, bare root hedging is much cheaper than buying established hedging plants in a pot.

After meeting with Peter we agreed that the remainder of his fence would not last much longer and it would be best to completely remove the fence which would leave him with around a 30ft gap at the bottom of his garden.

I calculated that 20 leylandii whips or bare root plants would fill that gap when planted about 18 inches apart.

Leylandii can put on near 45cm of new growth each year so his two foot plants would not remain two foot for long. Before we began digging the holes we filled a bucket with water and placed the bare root hedging plants into the water. This would ensure that the roots were nicely damped.

Together we set about digging 20 holes at a depth of 12 inches for each plant and into the soil we mixed some mycorrhizal fungi – this fungus is particularly beneficial to bare-root plants. Finally, we sprinkled a little over the wet roots as this will turbo charge new root development.

So for a relatively small outlay Peter is now the proud owner of a 30ft wide Leylandii hedge at the bottom of his garden. Okay it’s not going to break any records at the moment, but give it time and his small investment is going to pay dividends.

So there are still a few things out there that don’t cost the earth that will eventually exceed your expectations.

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