Planting and caring for a new hedge is very similar to that for any new tree or shrub. Good soil preparation beforehand will give your hedge the best start in life. Prepare the ground by digging over a strip 60-90cm (2-3ft) wide and one spit (or spade blade) deep. If a herbicide (weedkiller) has not been used beforehand, remove all weeds.
Add organic matter, such as garden compost or a proprietary tree and shrub planting mix, spreading it over the soil and mix into top 25cm (10in) of soil with a fork (forking in). Rake in general-purpose fertiliser, such as Growmore.
Soils that become waterlogged in winter may require a permanent drainage system. Alternatively, form the soil into a ridge about 15-20cm (6-8in) high and 50-70cm (20-28in) across to plant into.
Planting distances vary from 30-60cm (1-2ft), depending on the plants’ final size, the size of hedge required and plant vigour. For hedges thicker than 90cm (3ft), plant a staggered double row 45cm (18in) apart,
with plants 90cm (3ft) apart. Trim back damaged roots to healthy growth with sharp knife or old pair of secateurs.
Spread out the roots, ensuring the planting depth is correct (note that the previous soil mark on the stem indicates how deeply the plants were grown in the nursery or pot). Work soil between the roots, firm plants in so that soil is in close contact with the roots. Water if the soil is dry. Mulch to a depth of 7.5cm (3in) after planting to prevent weeds.
Ensure plants are well-watered during dry spells for the next two years. Top-dress annually with a general-purpose fertiliser, such as Growmore and re-apply mulch as required. Keep the hedge and 45cm (18in) on each side, weed free.