Spring is the perfect time to take stock of your hedges and see what condition they are in or to look to plant a new hedge.
As the leaves and blossoms emerge, you can get a better picture of where you have gaps in your hedge than in the winter time. Take a note of the species that are thriving there which will give you a good indication of what species you should be planting to fill in the gaps. You can also create new hedges at this time of year using our root-trainer (container grown) stock.
If you are filling in gaps the new plants will be competing against the existing hedge, so it is a good idea to make some preparations before planting. If you can, make the soil friable and clear away some of the vegetation such as grasses, nettles, brambles and bracken to leave a clear gap to plant into and keep clear while the plant is getting established. The same advice would apply to a new hedge, make sure it is weed free before you plant.
Root-trainers are a good option for spring planting when the bare root season is over, they are slightly more expensive as they are more labour intensive to grow, however they have the advantage of being able to be planted all year round. These plants are grown in 'cells' and come with a small plug of soil around them. Growing the trees in cells encourages fibrous roots to form, which stays in tact when you plant them out. This can help with rapid establishment of the plant, especially when coupled with Rootgrow Mycorrhizal fungi granules.
Root trainers are sized at either 20/40 cm or 40/60 cm however despite there small size as the plugs establish quickly they can soon catch up with larger bare-rooted plants. If it is dry as it has been this April, it is important to water your new plants (though you should be careful not to over water beech as they do not like having wet feet!). A good mulch will also help your plants, by suppressing weed growth and helping to retain the moisture.
If you have a lot of gapping up to do, for example a native hedgerow that is over 20m long with gaps of up to 5 metres you could consider applying for the BN7 Hedgerow gapping up grant, this will enable you to apply for funding next winter using bare-root plants, now is a good time to see where your gaps are and stating the application process. You can view the application here (link takes you to an external site for the Countryside Agency Grants for which we are not responsible for).
We have various species available such as, Quickthorn (Hawthorn), Hazel, Field Maple, Wild Privet, Beech, Hornbeam and Guelder Rose, have a look here for availability.