Hedges are quite robust plants, but you do still need to take care when planting them. When you're handling a bare root plant, it will be more sensitive to damage than when the roots are covered and insulated.
There are two contrasting requirements for hedge planting. The first is that it's best to do your planting in winter. The second is that you need it not to snow or rain while you're in the process of preparing for the planting. That means you'll need to plan carefully in advance and keep an eye on the weather forecast.
Having decided on the right time and day to commence the work, you are ready to begin. Some of the following tips are optional, but you'll get best results by following them all to the letter.
1. Planning on paper may make the job easier
If you're just laying out a straight hedge, there's no need to bother with this step, but if you're going to do anything fancy, like shapes or mazes, then planning the layout of your hedge on paper will be helpful in terms of making sure what you get is what you wanted.
2. Mark the hedge line
To be certain your hedge will achieve the correct shape, the best practice is to clearly mark the line of the hedge. Use garden stakes and twine, ensuring your line is straight and in exactly the right place. Using two parallel lines is an even better idea, even if it's a bit more difficult and time consuming.
3. Dig deep
Once the line is marked, you can dig the trench for planting the bare root hedge plants. You'll need to dig at least to the depth of the roots, and it wouldn't hurt to actually dig a little deeper than that. Ideally the soil should be dry, loose and loamy, which is very difficult to achieve in a Northern Hemisphere winter. You'll just have to do the best you can and try to break up the soil a bit if it is too clay-like or clumpy.
It's recommended to give your trench sloping sides at approximately a 45-degree angle, but there's no need to break out the protractor as that kind of pinpoint precision isn't really necessary so just do your best with it.
4. Trim the roots if necessary
If the roots of your plants are looking a bit frazzled, carefully and gently pruning away the wispier strands can encourage the plant to grow stronger and more vigorous roots. This is a difficult task because if you overdo it, you may actually harm the plant.
5. Put the plants in the ground
The actual planting is the easiest step of all. Ideally the hedge plants should be spaced approximately 45cm apart. You don't need strict precision for this, but that spacing will be most likely to give you a good hedge cover while allowing the plants sufficient space to make a good start in life.
6. Lightly tamp the soil after planting
Just a very soft tamping to help the tree settle in place so it won't move about too much is all that’s required. The goal is really just to keep your newly planted hedge plants straight.
7. Wait for your new hedge to grow
And all that’s left to do is watch your new hedge do its thing! Be sure to keep a watchful eye to ensure all stages of growth are going as they’re supposed to.