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17 messages
17/03/2014 at 23:17

Hi all, Over winter I planted a new hedge, bare rooted dormant plants, 80% hawthorn and 20% blackthorn.  Its coming into leaf now and looks healthy but looking at it I think I may have done something wrong.  The plants are about 50cms tall but only the top 20cms have leaves, leaving a 30cm gap of bare stems.  Have I planted a row of mini standards or will it bush out at the bottom later?  Am I supposed to prune it or something? I cant decide if it looks silly or if it will be ok in a few years.  Thank you for your advice. 

18/03/2014 at 00:08

Hi the rhs website has quite a bit of information on hedges how to look after them and establishment problems. Have a look at this link :-

18/03/2014 at 07:20

I think I'd let it get it's roots established this year, and then cut it back next winter to encourage it to bush out, then it'll romp away.  Make sure you keep the base of the hedge free from weeds and grass 

18/03/2014 at 07:39

I agree with dove prune any side shoots lightly  but don't prune the top if they haven't reached the height you want your finished hedge.


18/03/2014 at 08:34

I think havadayoff's advice would be right for a conifer hedge but not for hawthorn/blackthorn

The usual native hedging advice is to reduce by a third or a half on planting and cut hard the following autumn.

18/03/2014 at 08:40

Agree with nutcutlet. The hedhge will look odd at first.Patience needed with native hedging. 

18/03/2014 at 08:51

hi mrs b i've been looking for hawthorn hedge wondering if i can poss accommodate one, sorry can't help with advice but could you tell me where you got yours?

18/03/2014 at 08:57

I don't see any point in cutting it back in any way this year unless the roots have been severely pruned in which case take a third off the top as nut says. Let it establish then cut back hard next year. As long as you water it once a week with a good drink it will be fine. If you cut it hard back this year it will not establish as quickly as if you left it.

18/03/2014 at 09:27

I would not cut back the hedge until late autumn this year. That gives the wips a chance to put down roots and being fed with leaves. I cut where it needs it. Hawthorn branches out where you cut. Growth can be quite straggly, so you can fill out bare patches quite quickly.

19/03/2014 at 20:09

Hello Jim and blairs, thanks for adding your advice to this discussion.

Will pass on to my son who intends to use hawthorn / buckthorn hedging at the end of his garden. 

19/03/2014 at 20:14

Ps. Good luck with the hedging Mrs Borders.

19/03/2014 at 20:15

Hello Jim and blairs, thanks for adding your advice to this discussion.

Will pass on to my son who intends to use hawthorn / buckthorn hedging at the end of his garden. 

19/03/2014 at 20:18

Ps. Good luck with the hedging Mrs b

Sorry folks my tablet is in mutiny mode! Time to recharge.



20/03/2014 at 20:37

You can still get bare root hedging from plant nurseries if your quick. At the nursery I go to hawthorn is only about fifty pence a plant. But it is getting late to be putting bare root hedging in.

20/03/2014 at 23:05

Thanks, will pass that on - it's a long hedge he's planning to plant up.


21/03/2014 at 10:37

We planted a bare root native hedge (hawthorn, buckthorn, blackthorn and others) 2 years ago and the advice we were given was, for the first few years, to snip back any long straggly branches, and shorten the leading shoot by about half its length. This is to enable the hedge to bush out at lower levels..We are to do this in winter and to cut just above a pair of new buds.


21/03/2014 at 17:57

Many thanks, c-c, all advice gratefully accepted

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