|Plant a hedge
The ideal hedge is planted in either one row approximately 6 inches apart or in two offset rows with the plants a foot apart. Either way you will need around 5 plants per running metre. With older 2 year plants, 4 to the metre is usually sufficient.
On exposed sites shorter stockier plants will be less prone to damage by wind.
For ‘shelterbelts' see the planting and aftercare page
Hedges are usually better mixed. The following is a fairly popular native hedge mix:
50% to 80% of the following:
Crataegus monogyna – Hawthorn
The most popular hedging plant, hawthorn was used as a boundary marker in the enclosure of common land. Its branches and twigs are spiny when young making a formidable barrier. It is fast growing, hardy and is suited also to high altitudes.
Corylus avellana – Hazel
An important small nut bearing tree/shrub, hazels uses have ranged from coracles to charcoal, hurdles to basketry and the wattle in old plasterwork. It grows well, coppices easily and makes good hedges. Found widely in Wales and tolerates poorer conditions.
Prunus spinosa – Blackthorn
A spiny dense shrub found widely in hedges, its early white blossom is one of the first to appear in the spring. The fruits called ‘sloes' are used in jam and for flavouring gin. It is vigorous and suckers freely. Along with the cherry plum it is the parent of the damson and all the cultivated plums today.
20% to 50% made up of a mixture of the following:
Acer campestre – Field Maple
A compact and colourful tree often used in hedges. It is equally at home in the garden. It is quite rare to find in parts of Wales.
Alnus glutinosa – Common Alder
The alder can fix its own nitrogen and therefore survives in wet fields and alongside streams and rivers. It also grows well in dryer areas and its conical shape is good in shelterbelts where it harbours few pests.
Both native birch species are important woodland trees and can also be mixed into hedges, especially in more marginal areas where they will tolerate poorer soil and climate better than some other species.
Carpinus betulus – Hornbeam
Hornbeam is a fairly large tree with a rounded shape and branches that fork upwards. Its timber is very dense and hard and was used for spokes and mallets. It is similar to beech in it's appearance.
Euonymus europaeus – Spindle
A small tree with red fruit. The wood is hard and straight and was used to make spindles for spinning cotton. It also makes good charcoal drawing sticks.
Fagus sylvatica – Beech
A large tree with smooth silvery bark the beech is widely planted and native to the South East corner of Wales. It is widely used for hedging as it clips well to produce a dense cover. In winter the leaves turn brown but stay on the tree until the spring providing an all season screen.
Ilex aquifolium – Holly
This evergreen compact tree is slow growing but will tolerate dense shade. It clips well to form a dense spiny hedge. The red berries are an important winter food source for birds and the wood is sought after for turning and carving.
Juglans regia – Walnut
The Walnut is a large handsome tree with dark green foliage. It is grown for its timber and for the walnuts. A good hedge tree ie: left uncut to grow on.
Lonicera periclymenun – Honeysuckle
Added to hedges as a climber it flowers in June. The aroma from the flowers is familiar on summer evenings.
Malus sylvestris – Crab Apple
Commonly found in hedges and field edges. It is vigorous and produces large quantities of small bitter apples.
Prunus avium – Wild Cherry/Gean
Commonly found on the edges of woodlands. It is compact, vigorous and requires light to do well. Its timber is used in furniture making and it also yields abundant cherries in the autumn.
Prunus cerasifera – Cherry Plum
A small tree its fruits resemble small plums, a bit larger than cherries. Like other Prunus it has bright white blossom in early spring. It clips well to produce a dense screen.
Prunus padus – Bird Cherry
Bird cherry suckers and coppices freely, it is vigorous and makes a good hedge in exposed conditions. The fruits are smaller than the wild cherry. The timber is good firewood and pleasant to work.
Pyrus communis – Wild Pear
The wild pear makes an unusual addition to a hedgerow and was commonly grown as a rootstock for pear varieties and still is. Pear is often thorny when young and the timber is good for turning and carving.
Quercus petrea – Sessile Oak
Of the two native oaks the sessile is common to higher altitudes. It develops a deep taproot and will grow on shale slopes and poorer sites where the soil is thinner. Important for biodiversity it supports a wide range of insects it makes a good hedge tree.
Rosa canina – Dog Rose
A spiny thorny shrub, often found in hedges and in impenetrable thickets. It grows quickly and suckers freely. The large bright red ‘rose hips' contain many seeds and are an important winter food for birds.
Sambucus nigra – Elder
Elder makes a good addition to a hedge, or on the woodland edge and produces fragrant flowers in the summer and berries in the winter.
Sorbus aucuparia – Rowan/Mountain Ash
Rowan is compact and hardy and can withstand strong winds. Its leaves turn red in the autumn and its numerous clusters of bright red berries are important for birds and can also be made into jelly, wine and jam.
Vibernum opulus – Guelder rose
A shrub well suited to wet areas and in hedges. It produces large quantities of bright red berries in the autumn.