To those in the know, hedge work is artwork. More than just for the sake of privacy or for use as windbreakers, hedges are fecundous bird life sanctuaries and creative living expressions with practical implications. Walls cannot wave and weave in the clever way that these branches do. They seem to consider every boundary defect and beautify imperfection. Only a hedge lover knows this secret. Whether you are looking to broaden your interest or water your curiosities, this article serves you in the knowledge of punctually planting hedges.
Hedges can be planted in the UK at almost any time of the year. The trick is knowing the kind of hedge you’d like to plant, its stage of growth as well as soil and seasonal factors that correlate to its growth. Hedges are most basely categorized as deciduous or evergreen. Deciduous hedges hibernate in colder seasons to conserve water during winter scarcity. They shed leaves and conserve energy during this period of dormancy. If your hedges are deciduous, it would be ideal for these shrubs to adapt their root networks by planting them in autumn. Their energy will be slow-releasing but efficient which will make their adaption to their new planting grounds more effective. If your hedges are well accustomed by this method of protraction, it goes without saying that their growth potential and overall quality will increase significantly. Slow and steady really does win the race, in this case. Optimal time for deciduous planting in the UK would be between January and March.
Unlike their sleepy cousins, evergreens have evolved to eradicate the need to enter a stage of dormancy. Their water retention, consumption and leave shedding happens consistently throughout the seasons. Although easy-going, optimal planting of these shrubs would be during spring between March and April. They like to hit the ground running so planting them when there’s plenty of water and sunshine will give them a good head start.
ROOT-BALLED VS CONTAINERISED
The stage of growth of your hedging plants largely impacts the time of their ideal planting. Here we should respectively consider the differences and availability of root-balled and containerized/ potted shrubs. Root-balled shrubs are mature plants that have strong, established roots with a soil-bowl base. They’re dug up and usually ready for immediate planting (soil transferal). They wind up being cheaper that containerized shrubs because the maintenance and nourishment of their early stage development have been accounted for. That being said, their availability is mostly limited to the colder season so you might have to wait for autumn or winter to purchase them. You’ll want to do this anyway because the warmer seasons quickly dry out their roots, reducing their quality. Whether deciduous or evergreen, the root systems will need time to bury in their new soil and autumn has warmer sub-surface soil where the roots reach (irrespective of colder climate above ground). The roots will gravitate to this thermo layer like a family to a toasty fire on a crisp evening. In so doing, it will adjust and secure its roots cogently. Soak the plant’s soil-bowl base in a bucket of shallow to medium water for an hour and then plant into a trench approximately 1 meter in width and 30-50 cm in length.
Containerized plants are potted as they are immature shrubs and have not yet developed the extension of their roots. These younglings are available in spring. Again, it does not matter if they are deciduous or evergreen at this stage as they are eager to grow and require spring weather to do it. Due to the rudimental root network, before planting, place the containerized shrub’s roots in a bowl of shallow water. While it is soaking, prepare the trench into which you intend to plant it. The size of the hole depends on the progress of the shrub’s root growth which you should gauge or research (for more precision). Thereafter, place nutrient rich soil or compost into the hole so that it encompasses the root and lower stem system.
SOIL AND SEASON
In terms of climate and soil, the general rule of thumb dictates that the considerable volume of earth takes the whole of spring and summer to heat up and the whole of autumn and winter to cool down. This gradual process ensures the ‘goldilocks’ (just right) temperature of soil in autumn. Adversely, spring has much thawing to do before melting through the thick cold of winter’s remnants – making autumn the winner of the ‘ideal planting season competition’.
Though, as aforementioned, the kind of hedge and its age must also be taken into account to ensure the perfect time to plant. With a little bit of research and mental math, you should be putting your green thumbs to use in no time!