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10 messages
14/03/2014 at 10:15



I have just planted a Privet hedge from bare root plants.  I'm watering them nightly and I've been told to prune them back already.  Is this right?  I only planted them a week ago.

Very inexperienced gardener, as such any help is very greatly recieved.



14/03/2014 at 10:18

I wouldn't have thought they needed watering every night.

How tall are they? Are they very bushy?

14/03/2014 at 10:28

It's normal practice to prune back when planting bare root hedging to encourage it to thicken up from the base, giving you a better result in the long run. Sometimes it's simply a question of cutting a few inches off a central stem but it just depends on the type of hedging. I'd agree with fidget - they shouldn't need watering so often. Water in thoroughly when planted and then let them get on with it. Just keep an eye on them during long dry periods. In another month they'll probably be putting on plenty of new growth  

14/03/2014 at 10:30

I agree, water in well to settle the soil and leave them alone for a while. Then do the same again when they start to dry out a bit. Cutting them back  will make them bush out and there's less top growth for the roots to support in the early stages

14/03/2014 at 12:05

Just water them once a week but drench them. Much better than water the surface which will evaporate off. Watering is complicated if you want to be efficent. So I just err on the side of caution. Was it the nursery that told you to prune them back? If not I would leave them as it will encourage them to root out. But really it depends on the root to shoot ratio, where they are and the weather what is the best thing to do, but cutting them back is a safe option if not the best.

14/03/2014 at 12:41

It was advice from a neighbour.  I'm not keen on doing it yet, they are the first things I've ever really planted so I'm loathe to cut them.  They aren't bushy yet, although some leaves are starting to develop.

Thanks for the watering tips, i'll leave them alone.


14/03/2014 at 22:15

Aubreii.  It does sound strange to suddenly reduce height at such an early stage.  However it wisw.  Otherwise you will find that as soon as the roots establish themselves, the top growth will simply race away, presenting you with loads of leggy twigs.  Similar practice with many other plants.  Pinch out, stop etc.  All the same purpose.  To encourage growth low down.

14/03/2014 at 22:52

Mike's right, cutting back is what makes them bushy. Cut a stem just above a pair of buds and the pair of bus develops into a pair of stems. Unless they're bushy right down to the bottom now, it needs doing. Otherwise you get  bare legs

18/03/2014 at 18:20

That's all well and good in theory, and if they top growth is in excess to the root then it's good advice, however you will get stronger plants not cutting back if the roots are in balance. The reason is there's energy in the wood you'd be cutting off. Energy that would be used by the plant to help grow roots, not to mention the leaves you're cutting off which will feed the roots. As I said in another thread I did a small trial with dogwoods and the ones I didn't cut back are much stockier plants now than the ones I did cut back. When I planted my mixed hedge a few years ago I left them the first year and cut them hard back the second. They romped away afterwards and easily and quickly grew back to where the height they'd been before cutting back because they had a good root system to push up the shoots. Had I cut back the first year what would be pushing up new shoots? Not much. cut back the roots and the top and you don't need to be told what will happen. But don't take my word for it. Do a trial. 

18/03/2014 at 22:18

Jim.  I agree with you.  Basically the old addage.  If in doubt.  Try it out.  This as I have said so many times, gardening is opento so vast an array of experimentations.  Go for it.

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