If you’re thinking of putting in a new hedge, autumn is a great time to get shrubs, trees and hedging into the garden. They are naturally dormant then and the ground is also still soft and workable.
Bare-root plants establish themselves quickly. They have been grown in the ground at nurseries, rather than in pots. You buy them and they are dug up, their roots are wrapped and they are delivered to you ready to go straight in the ground.
They are the perfect choice if you’re putting up a new hedge because they are cheaper than containerised shrubs. But they should not be left out of the ground for long. Try to plant them as soon as you get them. But not if the ground is frozen or waterlogged. If you have to wait a few days, put the rootballs in trays or pots and cover with compost. Keep in a frost-free place like the shed until it is warmer.
They will look like a bundle of twigs with roots but don’t worry. After a couple of months, you’ll soon see the beginnings of your hedge.
While the roots are bare, be sure to keep them covered with damp rags or hessian. Just before you begin planting, soak the roots in a bucket of water for 20 minutes.
Dig individual holes or a trench for planting – remember to leave space on either side for growth. Square holes encourage roots to extend outwards rather than run round in a circle.
In dry soil, fill the hole with water and let it drain away so the earth is moist for roots. You’ll see a soil mark on the stem of your young shrub – do not plant deeper or you may damage it.