Native hedging plants

How to grow a native mixed hedge

Native hedges are those you see around fields in the countryside and they provide a habitat for wildlife. Planting a native hedge with a mixture of plant species will provide a range of interest throughout the year.

Now is a good time to plant – you plant native hedging when the plants are dormant – so from December until the end of March. Most native hedgerows are made of Hawthorn, Blackthorn, Hazel and Field Maple plus a mixture of other species.  The exact mix depends on where you are in the country.  Having a mixture of plants means you will be able to see flower throughout the spring and summer and different autumn colours and berries later in the year. Birds will nest in the hedge and be fed by the seeds and berries the hedge produces. Native, bare-root hedging plants are now available from Greenshutters Garden Centre. Here are some of the native plants we sell for hedging:

Hawthorn (sometimes called Quickthorn or Maythorn) – Crataegus monogyna
Blackthorn – Prunus spinosa
Hazel – Corylus avellana
Field Maple – Acer campestre
Dogwood – Cornus sanguinea
Beech – Fagus sylvatica
Purple or Copper Beech – Fagus sylvatica Purpurea
Hornbeam – Carpinus betulus
Guelder Rose – Viburnum opulus
Spindle – Euonymus europaeus
Ramanas Rose – Rosa rugosa
Dog Rose – Rosa canina
Sweet Briar Rose – Rosa rubiginosa

Plants are normally sold as approximately 2ft (60cm) tall bare-root “whips”.  This means they are dug up from the field and can be planted straight in the ground.  They are therefore bare-rooted and not grown in pots. These are the best size plants for establishing a native hedge.

Native Hedge Spacing Guide

How to space your native hedging plants

To establish a thick hedge, plant in two, staggered rows with the rows 30cm (12in) apart. Planting should be staggered with the plants 45cm (18in) apart in each row (i.e. one plant per 9 inches).

Visit our Garden Centre for advice on which varieties to choose and in which proportions. Most native varieties are deciduous (they drop their leaves in the winter) so if you want an evergreen garden hedge, or a quicker, more instant hedge, choose from our selection of evergreen plants to form a hedge (Laurel, Portugese Laurel, Griselinia, Photinia Red Robin, Leylandii, Golden Leylandii, etc). Normally an evergreen hedge would be planted all as one type but you can mix some of the different species to create a less formal hedge if you wish.  If you want to know which go best together, please give us a ring on 01460 281265.

Roger Eavis