The season for planting bare-rooted hedging
19th November 2019
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The arrival of the first autumn frost and consequent leaf fall from trees is the signal for hedging plants to be lifted from nursery fields ready for planting in gardens.

Reduced light levels and cooler temperatures mean deciduous plants begin to shut down and become dormant. This is a perfect time to transfer plants in a bare-rooted state and take advantage of the fact that they are less expensive to purchase than pot grown plants.


The team at Love Plants, the specialist plants centre based in Salop Leisure, Emstrey, Shrewsbury, has the following tips for planting hedging.


  • Never let roots dry out – if you are not ready to plant, dig a hole or a trench anywhere in the garden, insert the roots to keep them moist and use the heel of your boot to firm them in.


  • Plant them in position as soon as possible – improve the soil by adding organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, and add slow release fertiliser or bone-meal.


  • Bare-root hedging arrive as whips, young plants that are single stems. They can be planted by slicing the soil with a spade and levering the spade back to open up the soil.  Drop the roots of the whip into the ground, making sure the hole is wide enough and deep enough to accommodate the roots easily. Plant at the same level as the soil mark from the nursery field, keeping it at ground level. Before planting, dip the roots of the whips in Micrhorhyzil fungi gel (Rootgrow gel) to help increase secondary root growth, enabling the plant take up more water and nutrients, and establish quicker.


  • Firm soil around the roots with the heel of your boot as you go to ensure there are no gaps or air pockets left behind as these could fill up with water and freeze which could damage or kill the roots of the plant. You may need to insert a cane to support the whip and surround with a tree guard to prevent rabbits eating and stripping the bark (wrap around the cane as well, as this will stop them blowing away).


  • If a dry spell follows after planting, keep the roots watered and continue for the first couple of years, particularly through the summer months.


  • Use a mulch, such as sheets of newspaper or weed suppressant material, to keep weeds clear at the base of hedging plants.


  • Check hedging plants regularly after planting to ensure correct watering, wear and loosening of canes and rabbit guards.


The friendly and knowledgeable staff at Love Plants are happy to provide advice on a wide selection of bare rooted and potted trees.

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Emma R

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