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How to plant a hedge

How to plant a hedge

Catherine Keena, Teagasc advises on best practice for achieving a stockproof hedge including tips for preventing root dry-out, successful establishment and weed control. A step by step demonstration of the process of planting a new hedge on the farm of Henry Walsh, can be seen in the video below

When thinking of planting a new hedge, you must first decide if you want a hedge with a dense base that will be regularly topped OR if you want a line of trees that will never be topped


Best practice to achieve a stockproof hedge - dense at the base:

  • Buy 2 year old bare rooted whips, 6 plants per m, mainly whitethorn, but once every 2 m replace one with another hedging species that tolerates trimming such as Blackthorn, Holly, Hazel, Spindle, Guelder Rose, Dog Rose and Woodbine.
    • Therefore for every 100 m of new hedge - buy 550 whitethorn and 50 other these other species

  • Mark out the line of the new hedge using wire, twine or lime
  • Cultivate with a digger or mini-digger 
    • To make it easier to plant and give plants a great start


  • Protect roots from drying out during planting by keeping plants in the bag until needed
  • Plant in a double staggered row – with 330mm (just over a foot) between the rows and the same between the plants within the rows – often the length of a boot

  • Plant to the same depth as was previously planted
    • Don’t bury the stem Or expose the roots
  • Firm in
  • Identify a few whitethorn (maybe 5 / 100 m) to be retained as trees and protect with tree guards or shelters
  • Prune all other plants except holly down to an inch or so above ground level with a sloping cut to leave a sharp point

  • Push a 4 foot or 1.2m wide strip of used silage plastic down neatly over the cut stumps.
  • Press the edges of the plastic into the ground to hold it down
  • Protect from livestock including rabbits if The aim is to remove that wire in a few years

All Hedgerow week information is available here